Monday, March 24, 2008

UNDP Chief in China denies access to rural areas for Grameen Phone and waives competitive biding for a multi-billion market cut to Ericsson

Mr. Khalid Malik is the Ban Ki-moon's man in Beijing and also the number one official of UNDP for these 1.3 billion people country.

While everyone knows by now that China appeals to almost every company in the world, is also known that only the coastal areas of china has been developed so far. Rural areas and intra-land is totally to be developed, where also most of the population leaves under the level of poverty in rural areas.

While one of the most successful initiatives in Southern Asia was Grameen Phone and Grameen Bank initiated by a former UNDP professor Mr. Yunus, who introduced a decade ago solutions for the poor and rural areas in Bangladesh, it seems that for Khalid Malik, a Pakistani, this Bangladeshi best-practice which is being embraced around the world, "could not work in main-land-china".

In order to give "access" to almost 850 million rural population of China, and camouflaged the initiative as "fostering growth and bridge the digital divide, using business-led solutions that accelerate and sustain access to services and livelihood opportunities in rural areas", this Pakistani RC in China chose the same way of WAIVER OF COMPETITIVE BID for partnership in China.

Through this memorandum of understanding Ericsson and UNDP will identify "promising ways to use mobile technology to achieve social aims and develop pilot projects".

But now the controversy is becoming a political problem. Bangladesh is asking why Ericsson ? While other countries like Norway are asking why not Telenor ? Rumors are that other telecoms giants are mad that such initiatives from UNDP always remain private and are never publicly announced.

Will see how far they will go.

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