March 18, 2020
Washington DC, March 17, 2020, Tokyo, March 18, 2020 - The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Digital Transformation Task Force (DXTF) and World Bank Technology and Innovation Lab (T&I Lab) convened a video conference to discuss utilization of digital technology and methods for achieving targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing countries, such as poverty alleviation and ensuring healthy livelihoods for all. Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) also gained knowledge of frontier activities in international development.
From JICA, members of DXTF, which was established in December 2019 under the direct supervision of Mr. Shinichi Kitaoka, JICA President, took part in the discussion. From the World Bank, members of the T&I Lab—which was established in June 2017, and utilizes frontier technologies to solve development issues—and Tokyo Office participated in the video conference.
During the conference, World Bank T&I Lab explained its effort to explore emerging technologies to address development challenges. World Bank Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice and T&I Lab explored delivery of health services harnessing emerging technologies such as blockchain technology (Note) to address high costs entailed in the verification process of services. T&I Lab also has been exploring the use of blockchain technology to bring efficiency in transit fare collection for cost reduction, transparency, and policy formulation. Additionally, T&I Lab has explored use of Artificial Intelligence to efficiently understand environmental, social and governance (ESG) elements prior to investment by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the lending arm for the private sector in the World Bank Group.
JICA DXTF introduced the digital technologies and methods of Japanese companies with advanced technologies and know-how that can promote digital transformation in developing countries through co-creation partnerships between Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) and JICA's ODA program. In the transportation sector, DXTF has been exploring a system that recommends the most appropriate improvement measures for road intersections where serious traffic accidents and severe traffic congestion occur. This system extracts necessary road traffic information from surveillance camera images and compares it with Big Data (know-how of situation and measures) accumulated in Japan over the past several decades. Additionally, DXTF introduced a project idea to utilize blockchain technologies to develop a human resource management system linking Japan and developing countries, and a national ID System in developing countries. DXTF briefly explained another idea to prevent lifestyle diseases (such as diabetes) using rural health check-up data.
Both parties agreed to continue to exchange knowledge about their exploration of emerging technologies for development and apply insights for collaborative efforts to achieve SDGs targets.
(Note) Blockchain Technology is a form of distributed ledger technology. For example, if medical data are individually managed by each hospital, it would pose difficulties in sharing and utilizing the data. By using the distributed ledger (blockchain), however, participants can share the data easily. Participants obtain consent by other participants to update the data, and this process can prevent falsification, and save on management costs to run the system.