Scholars from Asia and Africa exchange knowledge at CPR South Conference in Myanmar
Connecting the next billion”, the theme of the Communication Policy Research (CPR) south’s 2017 conference, drew activists, scholars, and former telecom regulators to Myanmar to exchange insights in August.
Over the last ten years, the CPRsouth program has fostered the emergence of policy leaders with the skills and experience to engage in public interest research to inform policy.
Myanmar was chosen as the setting for the event because, almost immediately after becoming a democracy, the country has seen a swift transition to progressive telecom policies. These policies were based on the experiences of other countries, and now scholars from abroad are interested in learning from Myanmar’s successes and in contributing to evidence-based solutions for the remaining challenges.
The Deputy Minister of Transport and Communication, U Kyaw Myo, inaugurated the event, alongside the founders of the Myanmar ICT for Development Organization (MIDO), MIDO Executive Director Htaike Htaike Aung, and Nay Phone Latt, a member of the Yangon regional legislature.
What was special about CPRsouth 2017, was that it was held in Myanmar, a country that was closed to the world until recently. We saw senior former and serving officials and ministers engaged in policy discussions. This symbolized the continuity of ICT policies in Myanmar.
CPRsouth conferences have been held annually since 2007, and are funded by IDRC. “The CPRsouth program is a flagship IDRC-supported program for building leaders of today and tomorrow in the fields of communications policy, telecommunication research, and information and communications technology for development,” said IDRC Senior Program Officer Phet Sayo.
A wealth of ideas were shared over the course of the conference, including making a case for people-friendly telecom policies; a “freemium” Internet, which would offer free Internet but charge premiums for additional features; and a discussion of how mobile apps can drive Internet use.