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Connections is a weekly series of knowledge notes from the World Bank Group’s Transport & Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Global Practice. It covers projects, experiences, and front-line developments.

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    Flying to the Cloud: Governments Seek Gains from Cloud Computing
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-12) Melhem, Samia ; Kim, Seunghyun
    The transition to cloud computing broadly means shifting programs and data from personal or office hardware to shared hardware that many individuals and organizations access over the Internet. That migration is happening fast. By 2019, according to the information technology company Cisco, 83 percent of all global data center traffic will come from cloud services. And the profitability of the cloud services unit of Amazon, the leader in the worldwide cloud computing market, has been growing strongly. Relative to conventional computing, the cloud can offer more efficiency, scalability, and flexible real-time service to employees, customers, and citizens. Cloud computing, a fast-growing business, appeals to governments that want to provide more accessible, secure, and cost-effective public services. However, putting government data in the cloud—that is, on remote, Internet-connected devices owned by another, typically private, organization—poses the question of readiness to handle issues that are inherent in the technology, including security, dependability, and the scope of control that might be exercised by the owner of the cloud hardware and the Internet service provider. The World Bank’s Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) unit in collaboration with Accenture Consulting, recently developed a toolkit that can assess government readiness for cloud migration. It is conducting pilot studies to improve and refine the ability of the toolkit to provide recommendations to interested national policy makers and digital leaders.
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    Harnessing the Internet for Development
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-01) Melhem, Samia
    Universal access to the Internet has become a topdevelopment priority. Getting there requires affordable,reliable access to fast, “always on” broadbandnetworks, one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 9.c). Finland has recognizedaccess to broadband as a fundamental human rightsince 2010. In 2011, a key Uncommission also declared that broadband access is a basic human right, alongwith health care, shelter, and food. Affordable Internetaccess enables progress on some of the toughestdevelopment challenges in the world’s poorest communities. According to one estimate, increasing the proportion of the world’s population that is connected to the Internet to 75 percent(reaching 5.6 billion people)would add 2 trillion dollars per year to world Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and help create 140 million jobs—a lofty goal: today, only about 40 percent of the world’s population (3.2 billion)is connected. But reaping those benefits requires more than adding Internet connections: while digital technologies have been spreading, “digital dividends” have not. Getting traction will require a major reevaluation of Internet development and reform projects. That reevaluation is the focus of the World Bank’s World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends (WDR 16).It highlights the size of the digital divide and shows that a robust program of development in the supporting environment points the way for the development community to make decisive headway on the enormous promise of the Internet.
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    The Expanding Role for Open Data in Burkina Faso: Program Gains Wider Use in the Transitional Government
    (World Bank Group, Washington, DC, 2015-04) Melhem, Samia ; Rifon Perez, Axel
    The widening drive to provide open data in the public sector has taken a new turn in Burkina Faso. Open data has always been recognized as an enabler of economic development and government transparency. But in October 2014, when a popular uprising ousted Burkina Faso’s long-standing leader and established a transitional government, the country’s nascent Burkina open data initiative (BODI) took on new life as an enabler of the transition. With support from the ODI and the World Bank, BODI had debuted just four months before the uprising, showcasing about 50 data sets of government information and an app that focused on education. In the months since then, the development of BODI has only accelerated, with more staff, more data sets posted, and new applications launched or planned. Under the transitional government, BODI has expanded with a web page for finding data on government contract awards and a program to help track and manage the country’s persistent drought problems. And BODI envisions a polling-place finder and reporting of vote totals as ways to support turnout and transparency for the scheduled October 2015 national elections.