Abstract - The Information Society 20(5)

Which lessons are learned? Best practices and World Bank rural Telecommunications policy

Christina Courtright

The World Bank has been the largest multilateral source of rural telecommunications financing in developing countries since the mid-1960s. This article analyzes World Bank-sponsored studies of rural telecommunications initiatives in Chile, Peru, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Malaysia to identify which lessons the Bank draws from them and recommends for other countries. The World Bank’s preference for a “best-practice” approach in its research leads it to attribute successes and failures to a narrow scope of factors that tend to agree with its economic policy priorities. Instead, rural telecommunications practices should be analyzed within their broader socio-institutional and cultural contexts in order to enable cross-situational applications, and a broad array of stakeholders should be involved in shaping the lessons learned.

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