In Part 1 and Part 2 of this post, I described how we can measure the economic and technology-driven challenge facing developing nations in the development of their clean energy grids. The circle to be squared here is how to lift up the two-thirds of the world's nations that lie below median income levels to something approaching developed-world status.
By Roger Strukhoff
We make two assumptions:
- Any and all digital infrastructure development in the developing world – whether energy grids, data centers, telecommunications/networking, and other IT development – will focus on sustainable energy resources, materials, and general viewpoint for the future.
- Meanwhile, the developed world is also committing itself toward more efficient, more sustainable use and takes leadership in migrating the globe toward a the Climate 4.0 Economy: one that is, by a date as early as possible in the second half of the 21st Century, one that is circular, climate positive and regenerative.
In Part 2 of this post, we looked at the range of technological challenges facing developing nations, but ended with a cliffhanger:
Can we also account for socioeconomic challenges facing these nations?
Short answer: "Yes..."
The ongoing research a few colleagues and I have been doing at the Tau Institute for the past decade focuses on integrating the socioeconomic with the technological.
We start with publicly available information from trusted sources (eg: UN, World Bank, Transparency International, International Telecommunications Union) and build out indices with various differentiation, integration, and analysis techniques.
Our foundational ranking system, called the Tau Index, provides a numeric ranking of the 143 nations of the world for which we have sufficient data.
We take a relative approach, rather than simple absolute approach, to find out how well these nations are doing given their current socioeconomic conditions and resources.
A few of these conditions have a big impact on the ability of a nation to improve the lives of its residents.
Income levels, income disparity, the reality (or perception, both internally and in the broader world) of corruption and susceptibility to corruption, and the state of physical infrastructure. All weigh heavily in our rankings.
So the rankings are not meant to be a competition, but rather to provide snapshots of these nations, and allow a fair-minded comparison of them across a variety of factors.
By integrating our foundational results with the economic challenge related to creating new, clean, sustainable energy resources (see Part 1 of this post), we can see where a nation's overall challenge resides.
It's intuitive that the challenge to bring significant new sustainable energy to a "Least-Developed Country" (LDC) in Africa will differ mightily from that facing a relatively well-developed nation in South America, for example.
With our approach, we segment these specific challenges across four magnitudes, with much significant data influencing how one should view each nation individually. This approach not only confirms what one might already believe about the difference in regional challenges (ie Africa vs. South America), but can also discern smaller differences between, say Senegal and Ghana, Vietnam and the Philippines, or Colombia and Peru.
As organizations consider #TechForGood initiatives, CSR and ESG projects, Impact Investing programs, or any other type of investment or participation in driving the world toward Climate 4.0, I encourage them to reach out to us on the Climate 4.0 and Smart Nations Foundations team to see how our data, rankings, and approach can add to your analyses and decisions.
Editor's Note: The Tau Institute is the strategic research partner of the SmartNations Foundation and its Climate 4.0 Project.