Enabling a robust market for information and communications technologies (ICTs) is fundamental to rebuilding fragile and conflict affected states (FCSs) and addressing the human suffering. As I have explained elsewhere, ICTs are critical because they can be used to alert people to renewed violence, build community, restart the economy, and facilitate relief efforts. The critical strategies that enable ICTs are protection of property rights and minimal barriers to competition.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under Chairman Tom Wheeler has come under increasing fire for suppressing economic analysis and being politically driven. In effect, we have not had an FCC for the past three years, at least not in the way the agency was intended to operate. So that raises the question: Do we really need the FCC? The answer is “no, but yes.”
There is a largely unsung hero in countries devastated by violence – think Afghanistan, Liberia, Rwanda after the genocide, and South Sudan. This hero connects aid workers with resources, helps people start businesses, builds communities, reveals human suffering, and helps former enemies reconcile. This hero commits in areas that most businesses consider too dangerous and expands rapidly. Who is this hero? How can you shake its hand? Look no further than your laptop or your smartphone. This hero is information and communications technology (ICT): The most trusted industry in the world.