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Supporting Knowledge Solutions for New Development Strategies in South Asia

ADB hired Tambourine Innovation Ventures (TIV) to provide advisory services to its South Asia Department’s (SARD) strategic development, focusing on digital development (D4D). In doing so, TIV’s experts aimed to aid SARD in designing strategies and action plans to support its digital knowledge development activities and approach to digitalization within projects.

To address the challenges SARD faces, TIV’s experts suggested a combined approach based on an internal partnership with ADB sectors leadership to increase digital technology presence within projects and a parallel knowledge support program to help strengthen digital capacity across the region. This endeavor resulted in the development of a report, which consisted of two parts. The first part of the project report involved desk research conducted by TIV experts. The findings obtained through our desk research pointed out critical digital maturity aspects of developing member countries (DMCs) and the SARD organization and operations. For example, the report uncovered key barriers and weaknesses to SARD’s digital development, including low Internet usage, weak fixed broadband line services, and insufficient mobile network coverage.

The report authored by TIV experts further analyzed SARD’s portfolio of operations between 2018 and 2020. Among the recurring issues and opportunities identified by TIV’s experts, which were later translated into recommendations and opportunities for SARD to expand its portfolio, are (i) partnering with ADB sector leaders to increase digital transformation aspects within SARD projects; (ii) building cross-collaboration to increase development impact from projects by enabling multisectoral leverage of digital technology into existing and new projects, (iii) strengthening the development impact potential of digital technologies across country partnership strategies (CPS); (iv) leveraging the broad visibility of digital technologies within existing CPS; (v) Mainstreaming the use of digital and advanced technologies in subsequent CPS; and (vi) incorporating strong D4D perspectives in future agendas. The insights obtained through this analysis allowed for the distillation of practical observations that fed into the development of TIV’s recommendations to elicit further internal discussions to be followed.

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