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AFRIK-IT  February 1999

AFRIK-IT February 1999

Subject:

Fwd: [GKD] World Bank and Y2K

From:

Patrick O'Beirne <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Tue, 2 Feb 1999 07:41:40 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (138 lines)

>X-From_: [log in to unmask]  Mon Feb  1 20:59:50 1999
>X-Authentication-Warning: phoenix.edc.org: majordom set sender to
[log in to unmask] using -f
>From: Roberto Verzola <[log in to unmask]>
>Date: Mon, 01 Feb 99  14:24:53
>Subject: [GKD] World Bank and Y2K
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Sender: [log in to unmask]
>Reply-To: [log in to unmask]
>
>The story below, written by the World Bank Y2K initiatives
>coordinator, seems to indicate that the World Bank is well aware of
>the disruptive impact of the crisis on Third World economies.
>
>Knowing there are many World Bank people on this list, I've posted
>this question several times since November 1998, and will repost it
>every few weeks or so until we get an answer from the World Bank: why
>then does the World Bank continue to project a rosy picture of the
>world economy for 1999 and 2000, saying that recovery from the global
>financial crisis will occur in 1999 and will be well on its way in
>2000, and misleading governments and businesses into making optimistic
>plans? When will the World Bank adjust its economic projections to
>take into account the dampening impacts of Y2K disruptions and the
>potential deepening of the financial crisis?
>
>Roberto Verzola
>------------
>
>
>The Year 2000 Bug Is a Menace, No Doubt About It
>
>Jan 27, 1999 - International Herald Tribune
>By: James P. Bond, coordinator of year 2000
>    operational initiatives at the World Bank
>
>
>It is a startling fact that by next Jan. 1 most developing countries
>will not have fixed their year 2000 computer problems. These threaten
>them, along with neighbors and trading partners, with damaging
>consequences.
>
>A World Bank survey of 139 developing countries found that only 35
>percent have a national plan to make systems Y2K-compliant. Last
>month, officials from 120 countries gathered at the United Nations to
>discuss the problem and agreed that their governments would assign it
>the "highest priority."
>
>Having a national plan is only the first step. Carrying out such plans
>is costly. Wealthy countries and large companies have the funds and
>skilled people to immunize computers and operating software from the
>millennium bug. Many developing countries do not.
>
>Or they see the threat as vague and distant. Yet many developing
>countries have regional sharing arrangements under which, for example,
>they rely on a neighbor's electrical supply which uses computer
>microchips and software that may not be Y2K-compliant.
>
>Middle Eastern countries depend on computer-managed desalinization
>plants for water. Oil drilling rigs around the world use embedded chip
>systems, some of them buried on the ocean floor. Food and fuel
>distribution networks, health care, education and road, air and
>maritime links could be severely affected.
>
>Emerging markets already weakened by capital flight could see their
>recovery delayed as investors steer clear of companies which are not
>Y2K-compliant. A worldwide interbank working group is conducting
>assessments of Y2K progress in six key sectors, with a view to
>guidance in making investment decisions. Many mutual funds are already

>avoiding companies that do not have millennium bug action under way.
>
>It is in emerging markets that the capacity to fix the bug is weakest.
>One private-sector study found that companies in the worst affected
>East Asian crisis countries have cut computer spending by more than 20
>percent.
>
>At the same time, these and other developing countries risk being
>further undermined by a brain drain as high salaries and relaxed visa
>restrictions in wealthier countries siphon off qualified computer
>experts just when their skills are most needed at home.
>
>The lack of interest in this issue is surprising. The millennium bug,
>living mysteriously and unseen within the microchips and software of
>the world's computer systems, could trigger a global catastrophe. The
>problem is technical. Most of us are reluctant to acknowledge how much
>we depend on technology, so political leaders have only recently been
>persuaded to take action.
>
>Even if we can succeed in overcoming this resistance to accepting the
>problem as serious, the challenge still looms large. It is already too
>late for most developing countries to carry out enough Y2K
>preparations to avoid disruption.
>
>Instead they should urgently devise contingency plans, identifying
>critical sectors and systems water, power, food, health care,
>telecommunications, transport, finance and trading and checking the
>bugs in them, while preparing backup plans should these systems fail
>on Jan. 1.
>
>Estimates of what it will cost to fix the millennium bug worldwide
>vary greatly, but we can get some idea by analyzing what major players
>have earmarked for the task. Chase Manhattan Corp. is spending $363
>million, and DuPont Co. $400 million, while the U.S. Education
>Department's projected Y2K costs are $45.5 million
>
>The World Bank, the OECD and a handful of donor countries such as
>Britain, the United States, Canada and Italy, together with other
>multilateral development banks and international private-sector
>organizations, have undertaken an effort to raise Y2K awareness and
>mobilize technical assistance and funds to help developing countries.
>
>These efforts are extremely modest, given the enormity of the task and
>the global impact of a failure to act. It is now obvious that next
>Jan. 1 will unleash a chain of problems that will touch everyone on
>the planet, with the most damaging effects hitting the least prepared,
>namely, governments and businesses providing services to the world's
>poor.
>
>Efforts by the World Bank, the United Nations and others can support
>some Y2K fixing, but their most important effect should be a wake-up
>call to national and local governments, companies and international
>organizations to get involved in preemptive action now.
>
>Developing countries must devise contingency plans for those vital
>systems that are not yet Y2K-immune.
>
>The writer, coordinator of year 2000 operational initiatives at the
>World Bank, contributed this comment to the International Herald
>Tribune.
>


 -------------------------------------------------------------
 Patrick O'Beirne B.Sc. M.A. FICS. Software Quality Consultant
 PSP, TickIT, Y2K PC software assessment, euro(EMU) conversion
 http://www.iol.ie/sysmod    Tel: +353 (0)55 22294  Fax: 22297
 Systems Modelling Ltd, Tara Hill, Gorey, Co. Wexford, IRELAND

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