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The IT revolution made some glorious promises to the world's poor: instant access to far-flung markets, political empowerment, greater growth, even the possibility that countries could leapfrog entire stages of development. But when none of that happened in a hurry, the hoopla gave way to concern that rather than closing the wealth gap, IT was exacerbating it. Yet for all the international debate, very little systematic empirical research has been done to confirm claims and counterclaims and to guide policymakers on how information technology actually affects the development of low-income countries. Droughts, flash floods, as well as widespread and destructive flooding from monsoonal rains, severe thunderstorms and earthquakes are the natural hazards, challenges a few to name.
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