Blog |July 30, 2018

What’s inside GICA’s online library? A state-of-the-art collection of connectivity resources

Photo: mitarart / stock.adobe.com
Photo: mitarart / stock.adobe.com

Authors: GICA's Suriya Binti Abdul Hadi and Sol Iglesias

 

On January 25, 2018, GICA unveiled a unique collection of key resources on multisectoral and cross-border connectivity. Focusing on knowledge produced over the past decade, GICA tracks studies and reports on connectivity that cut across national or regional borders and sectors, including transport, energy, trade and ICT.

How does our collection reflect the latest trends and developments in connectivity and where does the knowledge need to be fortified?

A focus on recent literature on connectivity

 

Connectivity know-how in the past decade

A key focus of GICA is on the increasing number of cross-cutting resources—52 percent of resources in 2017—that are multisectoral in theme and scope. For example, this report advances thinking on procuring public-private partnerships in energy, transport, ICT backbone and water infrastructure in low- and middle-income countries.

A focus on multisectorality in the connectivity literature

 

Much of the work highlighted in 2018 so far has shifted from general assessments of the “state of play” to instructive case studies, reflecting deeper experience in connectivity projects.Some reports hone in on special concerns like broadband connectivity in Pacific Island states, digital access for financial inclusion in sub-Saharan Africa, and regional energy and transport projects in the Western Balkans.
 

How does GICA sift through global connectivity resources?

GICA’s curated collection offers selected resources on connectivity

 

Selecting from resources on infrastructure and connectivity produced by international organizations, governments, research institutes, think tanks, non-government organizations and universities, the GICA Secretariat zeroes in on resources that:

  • discuss the current state of play, either globally or by region
  • offer how-to guides e.g., toolkits, frameworks, models, case studies
  • present key data through statistics, maps, indices, infographics, etc.
  • document case studies with in-depth analyses

Of the resources currently referred to in our library, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) produced two-thirds of the publications. We see much potential for sharing knowledge as the number of corridor initiatives we have mapped far exceeds the number of corridor-specific resources available.

In curating resources, GICA assigns scores to each resource based on their relevance to four dimensions of global connectivity:

  • scale economies, including economic corridors, e-platforms, hubs, power pools
  • building infrastructure capacity, especially if concerned with demand monitoring, missing links, resilience, sustainability
  • enhancing efficiency with standards and norms, at borders and customs, or through services diversity and competitiveness
     
Based on the resources in the GICA library, we have identified a knowledge gap in connectivity for social and economic inclusion

 

One key takeaway from our deep dive into GICA’s resource library is the gap in knowledge related to inclusion and connectivity. Economic inclusion was the least covered (14 percent) in the connectivity literature. Looking at our collection of resources, what conclusions can we draw?

  1. Connectivity gaps run along the lines of gender, income, educational attainment, and location. A report on the Greater Mekong Sub-region economic corridor documents significant strides toward pursuing economic inclusion in its cross-border corridor agenda. These case studies suggest solutions that have been tried, tested and documented for other practitioners to learn or adapt to their own contexts.

  2. Having good transport connectivity can positively affect the livelihoods of poor households in developing agrarian countries. This study on Ethiopia demonstrates that if the transport cost to the port is reduced by 10 percent, the agricultural production value would increase by 2.7 percent. The ability to access broadband can also positively influence household income.

  3. This research shows that by introducing a 0.5 Mbps broadband connection in Brazil, India, and China, household income increases by US$800 per year. Broadband speed also matters—upgrading from 0.5 Mbps to 4 Mbps increases income by US$46 per month.
     

What we know, what we need to know

From the analysis shared here, we see a healthy growth of resources in each of the four sectors (trade, transport, energy, ICT), and in multisectoral resources. Case studies have been particularly useful for better understanding the different phases of economic corridor activity. However, more focus is needed on economic inclusion to ensure that the benefits of infrastructure connectivity are more equitable, crucial for stability to underpin connectivity.

Share your latest, most helpful resources with GICASecretariat@worldbank.org.

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