This study seeks to understand the changes in lifestyles affected by the global Coronavirus pandemic that began in early 2020 in African countries. It uses various research methods and pursues a new strategic direction of the Korean Official Development Assistance (ODA) policy using ICT in response to such change. It is believed that the use of Korea’s remarkable ICT in the fields of public administration, welfare and medicine, agriculture, finance, and education could increase the effectiveness of ODA for Africa in the post-Covid era, and a strategic direction is therefore proposed.
For the research objective above, this study will use the following research methodology. First, statistical data using domestic and foreign Covid-related statistics and databases are to be used. This includes the statistical data published by domestic and foreign organizations, such as OECD, IMF, World Bank, WHO, KOICA, ITU, and the African Union.
Second, books, articles, and online data are to be used. Specifically, with regard to online data, data obtained by internet searches, YouTube videos, and African news will also be analyzed. To analyze the situation of how the lives of the African residents have changed in the post-Covid era, YouTube videos will be analyzed. The content of analysis will reflect the system dynamics model for a prediction of demand in Chapter 4.
Third, surveys and interviews will be conducted on African students. Since it is difficult to visit Africa due to the pandemic, written surveys and interviews using Zoom will be conducted on African students currently studying in Korea as a countermeasure. The results will be used to predict, verify, and supplement the changes in the African social and economic life in the post-Covid era.
Fourth, social network analysis, AHP (Analytical Hierarchy Process), and system dynamics are to be used. As a method of ascertaining the African resident’s social and economic demands in the post-Covid era, social network analysis using news articles of the African internet news and tweets will be used. The result of network analysis will be used in the setting of the model by system dynamics. Recently, foreign researchers have conducted more precise methodology research through a combination of social network analysis and the system dynamics method. No such attempts have yet been made in Korea. Thus, an integrated system dynamic method will be used in this analysis. Five specialists with experience in ICT ODA projects or research on Africa will be selected, to conduct a specialist analysis regarding the achievements of the projects performed so far and future priorities of ICT ODA. Furthermore, the ICT demands based on social and economic demands in each field will be apprehended and system dynamics will be used to use this for setting the direction of policies.
The spatial scope of this study included 54 countries on the African continent. Although all of these 54 countries will be dealt with, 7 countries (Ghana, Mozambique, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Senegal) which are the core countries of ODA partnership with Korea will be dealt with in more detail. However, the third core countries of partnership were newly selected in the process of conducting the study. The newly selected countries are Egypt, Ghana, Rwanda, Senegal, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Tanzania, with Egypt newly selected in place of Mozambique. However, this study will use the existing 7 countries as the key subjects.
The scope of time of this study will generally use the African ODA-related statistics of the past 10 years. However, since the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic will differ greatly from the pre-Covid era, the statistics predicted after 2020 will be primarily analyzed, with particular focus on 2021-2025, the period of focus of the new CPS (Country Partnership Strategy).
As the scope of content, the international development cooperation activities of the government related to the African ICT (Information and Communication Technology) will be included. That is, the activities of the KOICA, as well as the ODA projects of central government organizations and district governments are included. In this regard, ICT refers to the project included in Information and Communication (ICT, 22040) of the CRS (Creditor Reporting System) code prescribed for the submission of aid-related reports from the DAC (Development Assistance Committee), the committee that manages aid organizations within OECD countries, to aid donor countries. Accordingly, when comparing the scale of ICT ODA of each country, the projects included in this code were classified and applied. Furthermore, during ODA projects in Korea, ICT is not considered an independent classification system, and supported by being included in the projects of agricultural development, public administration, welfare, and education. To resolve this problem, KOICA grants a marker from 0 to 2 to classify the degree of inclusion of the ICT in the ODA project. Accordingly, the projects that have been granted 1 and 2 were applied to the analysis of this study by being classified as ICT ODA projects.
Meanwhile, although ICT-related activities of the private sector are an important factor, this study focuses on how to approach the changes in life brought by the Covid-19 pandemic in Africa in terms of Official Development Assistance (ODA) activities. In terms of ODA, the role of ICT and the pandemic in Africa, cases in which ICT has been applied in each field of ODA, estimated ICT demands of each field of ODC, an evaluation of Korean ODA that applies ICT, and the future direction of ODA policies that use ICT will be analyzed.
A summary of the content and conclusion of this study are provided below.
The changes in demands in relation to ICT ODA in Africa after the Covid-19 pandemic can be summarized as follows. First, in view of 2020 in Africa, there is a possibility of a reverse growth of -3% or more in terms of economic growth, and a loss in GDP of 140 billion to 180 billion dollars is expected. Such loss is expected to have a negative effect in all fields within the society. In addition, there will be changes in international organizations depending on the development of vaccinations and treatments, but it will likely take until at least 2024 to recover, and it is expected to cause many great and small effects. Second, based on the results of the analysis, it is expected that the field that will be the most affected by Covid-19 is the welfare field, and the agriculture and education fields will also be greatly affected. Third, in Africa, it is likely that minorities will be greatly affected due to a lack of ICT infrastructure. Because of this, it is expected that the poor, the disabled, the elderly, migrants, the displaced, and homeless will be extremely affected, and that the number of deaths within these groups will increase. Fourth, in view of the social and economic changes in Africa, it is expected that the role of ICT will be important. Meanwhile, assistance in the welfare field will need to increase, as a sector that requires urgent assistance in the short-term, and in the mid-to-long term, it is expected that support for the construction of ICT infrastructure and the nurturing of manpower will follow.
The leverage of ICT ODA policies through a causal map analysis in response to such changes in demands is considered below. In this regard, the leverage of policies refers to a means of policies that can greatly increase the effects in response to core problems. First, the importance of the demand of incorporating ICT using medical information and telemedicine. As displayed through a causal map analysis, an effect of a virtuous cycle is achieved in a relationship of incorporation of ICT in telemedicine -> digital work -> number of digital service users -> informatization index -> medical response capacity -> number of deaths. In this process, ICT can greatly contribute to the incorporation of the method of telemedicine and medical information. Second, it is expected that the need of applying ICT in all fields of social life will greatly increase. As shown in the causal map analysis, the degree of use of ICT in each field may affect an increase in the number of digital works, and again pass through the internet supply rate to achieve the effect of accelerating the use of ICT in various fields, particularly welfare, agriculture, public administration, and education. Third, the need of an active distribution of suitable technologies that use ICT. Internet supply and the number of personal smart phone users will increase, but for African countries, the demand of suitable technologies based on ICT will increase due to a lack of ICT-based technologies, and thereby the possibility of the creation of employment may also increase. It is determined that the supply of various types of technologies that use ICT among suitable technologies will be needed in Korea. Fourth, an increase in the demand of digital agricultural technologies. As shown in YouTube analysis and interview analysis, as the opportunity of face-to-face contact decreases in the agricultural field, the demand of non-contact work will increase, which will lead to the need for text services in farming and farm produce, and the use of information on crops. This will then lead to an effect on farming income and GDP, thereby needing a consideration of an increase in the need of incorporating ICT in the agricultural field.
Fifth, the need of an increase in the opportunity of education by ICT. An increase in the possibility of infection will lead to a reduction in the opportunity of face-to-face contact, which will affect ODA projects and lead to the opportunity of ICT-based facilities and ICT-based education. That is, this will produce an increase in the role of ICT in the education field. However, since ICT-based education infrastructures are not yet well-established in African countries this will be a task that requires time. Sixth, the need of ODA for the supply and expansion of the internet. When internet supply increases, it will ultimately be connected to the informatization index. This process accompanies an increase in the number of online education users and the number of digital service users. Seventh, the need for a capacity to respond to border quarantine stations between African countries. The need to reinforce the capacity of weak quarantine facilities and border workforce in taking action with quarantines at border quarantine stations is required according to the spreading of Covid-19. To achieve this, the use of ICT will be needed.
The achievements of Korea’s ICT ODA projects performed in Africa so far were evaluated largely using two methods, and the results of such evaluation are as follows. First, the matters that are pointed out the most by evaluation reports on previously studies of African ICT ODA includes insufficient analysis on the feasibility of the local environment in the project formation stage, the problem of project delay in the initiation stage, the problem of sustainability due to the problem of maintenance and repairs of ICT, the problem of applicability based on a lack of local infrastructures, and the problem of a lack of connection with private sectors. Meanwhile, the combined score of evaluating the specialists involved in the projects so far is approximately 67 out of 100, which is relatively poor. The nurturing of ICT business has the lowest score out of the types of ICT projects, and the dispatch of ICT volunteer groups has the highest score.
In addition, in view of the post-Covid situation, the fields with relatively high scores in terms of need, feasibility, and ripple effect are the project types, such as the construction of ICT infrastructure construction and ICT system distribution.
The conclusions of this study are summarized as follows.
With regard to ODA fields, the prioritized field of the support of ICT ODA in Africa in the post-Covid era would be welfare and medicine, followed by agriculture and public administration. Upon combination of the analysis results through AHP analysis and simulation by specialists, the budget could be distributed into approximately 28% in the welfare and medical field, approximately 20% in the agriculture field, approximately 18% in the public administration field, approximately 17% in the emergency aid field, approximately 12% in the education field, and approximately 5% in the technology and environment field. Of course, it is not necessary for such distribution of the budget to be followed strictly, but it would be necessary to establish priorities and take the distribution of the budget into consideration. An ODA must be established two years prior by the N-2 rule, and be based on the PCP and the demands of the recipient country, and thus, it may be difficult to apply these rules on the supplier. However, when the demands of the recipient country contest with one another, such distribution ratio may be applied, and considering the future optimization of effect, it will be necessary to review such direction when establishing or revising a new CPS for African countries.
The distribution ratio would also be important for each type of project that could optimize achievements considering the score of achievements of each type of project so far, the ripple effects, feasibility, and the need in the post-Covid era in each business sector. This is because there is a need to consider the difficulty of visiting the sites of projects in the post-Covid era, the need for an effort to enhance the quality of life according to new demands of the residents at the project site, the applicability of ICT to the site, and the ripple effect in the post-corona era.
The optimum function value was derived and the resource distribution ratio optimized by the Monte Carlo simulation was derived. This is the process of deriving the optimum objective function value that increases the achievements scores by considering the related variables (need, feasibility, ripple effect) in a condition (with the total amount being identical) that is restricted by the same resources. The result of the analysis proposes that the type of project that requires the most distribution of resources is the field of ICT system supply, requiring approximately 52%, followed by 25% in the construction of ICT infrastructure, 8% in ICT education and training, 8% in ICT consulting, 5% in the dispatch of ICT volunteer groups, 2% in invited training, and a very low distribution in the nurturing of ICT business. This result displays a difference from past distribution ratios of resources. That is, the difference between the current distribution ratio of resources and the past distribution ratio of resources is significant in that it proposes satisfactory achievements.
This analysis result, to a degree, is consistent with the AHP analysis performed by specialists. In addition, considering that it is difficult to visit Africa and invite specialists to Korea due to restrictions created by the pandemic, this selection of projects would be feasible. It is estimated that adjusting the types of projects based on this distribution ratio of resources would result in an approximately 9-10% enhancement compared to previous achievements.
The details for effectively initiating the basic direction are proposed below.
First, prospective ICT projects in each field that could be applied in the core partnership countries were established. These projects are one example, and may be applied considering the properties of each countries. These projects include the construction of a government-hospital information sharing system for handling the Covid-19 pandemic, an African ICT venture education and incubating support project to lead the untact economic system, the development of e-learning contents for middle school students, a capacity reinforcement project for the construction of a safe mobile banking environment, a cyber security specialist nurturing and occupational training project, smart farm educational center construction and capacity reinforcement project in the African region, electric commerce application development contest, robot introduction project for handling coronavirus in African national hospitals, ICT infrastructure reinforcement project for constructing the mobile healthcare environment, and, among things, a smart quarantine system project at ICT-based borderline quarantine stations.
Second, it will be necessary to initiate ICT-based suitable technology projects in Africa in addition to direct ICT projects. To effectively initiate such projects, the so-called 'ICT Suitable Technology Support Center' should be established in such organizations as universities in Korea to perform the role of a platform. This organization merely need to perform the function of matching patents (approximately 2,000,000 currently usable cases) that have expired and can be used by anyone according to the characteristics of the relevant country, and to support the commercialization of such patents in the countries. ICT-based suitable technologies have significance in that Korea ranks 4th in the world in intellectual property rights, and in incorporating technology to suit the level of the recipient countries.
Third, the active use of multi-bi project methods. In preparation of the difficulty of local visits, selecting and initiating the multi-bi project method that use international organization may be an alternative means for projects. The ratio of multi-bi projects among the cooperation projects in Korea as of 2018 is 9.7%, compared to the OECD DAC average of approximately 14%. Based on this, it will be necessary to review the active use of the multi-bi method rather than the method of direct local initiation.
Fourth, there is a need for the active use of consultant training and video conferences. Since it will be difficult to initiate projects through local visits by the Korean project managers due to pandemic restrictions, it will be necessary to actively consider the method of educating local consultants and using them. To achieve this, it will be necessary to prepare a means of cooperating with universities and relevant research institutes that educate and nurture related specialists and actively use such local specialists. This requires an approach in terms of the organizations that have knowledge related to the work of the local offices, the talent pool of those with work experience in the main universities, related research institutes, and other international organizations in the individual countries of Africa, the conclusion of an MOU for the use of manpower between related organizations, the reinforcement of the capacity of these talents, the wage system, and the human resource management, such as their incentive policy. In addition, there is a need for non-contact communication methods by activating video conferences such as Zoom, and monitoring the sites through such means.
Fifth, the conversion into program-focused means and terms related to the modification of the core collaborating countries will need to be considered. The third core partner countries to be applied will partially change from the second countries as stated in the introduction section, and the national partnership strategies (CPS) will also be newly prepared. This study was conducted based on the second core partner countries. However, there would be no significant differences in terms of the applicability of the proposed content and the overall standards of African countries. It is also determined that application to the newly selected core partner countries would be possible by reflecting the properties of the relevant countries.
In addition, so far, ODA projects have been focusing on individual projects. However, it is determined that the ICT ODA project would be better if converted into a focus on organically connected programs than individual one-time projects in terms of effect.