CPRsouth is a capacity building initiative to develop Asia-Pacific based policy intellectuals on ICT policy regulation among junior to mid level scholars.
It is widely recognized that more efficient and equitable provision of ICT infrastructure services will greatly advance economic growth and poverty alleviation in the Global South. Too often, innovative applications of ICTs for these ends are stymied by the absence of, the high price of, or the low quality of ICT infrastructure services. Research has demonstrated the importance of effective policy formulation and regulation for the achievement of good ICT infrastructure sector performance. Effective policy and regulation may be created by expert and motivated government officials. However, it is uncommon even in the countries with the most highly skilled and motivated government officials for policy and regulation not to require the participation of experts not in government employ, representing or assisting stakeholders and the public.
The Global South lacks good policy and regulation. It lacks not only expert and committed government officials; it also lacks experts who can help shape policy and regulation from the outside. Such outside experts who have both the necessary knowledge and the motivation to participate in policy and regulatory processes from the outside for the most part but in some circumstances from within government are described as policy intellectuals. The objective of CPRsouth is to foster such policy intellectuals so that good policy and regulation may result, yielding the desired contributions to economic growth and poverty alleviation.
CPRsouth is intended “to facilitate the creation, sustenance and continuous advancement of policy intellectuals capable of informed and effective intervention in ICT policy and regulation processes in specific country and regional contexts in the south, broadly constituted to include the Asia-Pacific (AP), Africa (AF), Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Central Asian regions (CIS)” and “to develop capacity, stimulate interest, and promote research and systematic study in information and communication technology (ICT) policy and regulatory issues in the south.”
CPRsouth was established in 2006, and the first conference was held in January 2007 in Manila, the Philippines (slightly lagged due to scheduling issues). Subsequent conferences were held within Asia. There have also been inter-conference activities, including internships. Until now CPRsouth has been a de facto an Asia-Pacific entity in governance and operations, though it received abstracts and accepted papers from both Africa and the Latin America-Caribbean regions.
On the basis of participation in CPRsouth since its inception, Research ICT Africa has seen the need for a forum to bring together African ICT scholars focusing on policy and regulation in Africa. Accordingly it launched CPRafrica in Cape Town in April 2010. DIRSI, the Latin American component of LIRNE.net was already engaged in ACORN-REDECOM, a North-South academic ICT policy and regulatory conference on Latin America, first held in Mexico City in 2009 and then in Brasilia in 2010. It will conduct activities in line with those of CPRsouth and CPRafrica through that vehicle.
The main activity of CPRsouth is an annual conference that will include multi-regional panels to encourage cross-fertilization of ideas across the regions. In 2013, LIRNEasia and RIA will organize additional multi-regional components as part of their conferences, with DIRSI organizing its first multi-regional addition in 2014, subject to funds availability. All conferences will include tutorials for young scholars. Ancillary activities include knowledge mapping and internship programs.