Information and communication technologies for development

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An OLPC class in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Inveneo Computing Station

Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) refers to the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the fields of socioeconomic development, international development and human rights. The theory behind this is that more and better information and communication furthers the development of a society.

Aside from its reliance on technology, ICT4D also requires an understanding of community development, poverty, agriculture, healthcare, and basic education. The term ICT4D contains a divisive disciplinary discussion by Richard Heeks. According to Heeks, the I, is related with “library and information sciences”, the C is associated with “communication studies", the T is linked with “information systems", and the D for “development studies”.[1] It is aimed at bridging the digital divide and aid economic development by fostering equitable access to modern communications technologies. It is a powerful tool for economic and social development.[2]

Other terms can also be used for "ICT4D" or "ICT4Dev" ("ICT for development") like ICTD ("ICT and development", which is used in a broader sense[3]) and development informatics.

ICT4D can mean as dealing with disadvantaged populations anywhere in the world, but it is more seen with applications in developing countries. It concerns with directly applying information technology approaches to poverty reduction. ICTs can be applied directly, wherein its use directly benefits the disadvantaged population, or indirectly, wherein it can assist aid organisations or non-governmental organizations or governments or businesses to improve socio-economic conditions.

The field is an interdisciplinary research area through the growing number of conferences, workshops and publications.[4][5][6] This is partly due to the need for scientifically validated benchmarks and results, that can measure the effectiveness of current projects.[7] This field has also produced an informal community of technical and social science researchers which rose out of the annual ICT4D conferences.[8]


Theoretical background

The ICT4D discussion falls into a broader school of thought that proposes to use technology for development. The theoretical foundation can be found in the Schumpeterian notion of socio-economic evolution,[9] which consists of an incessant process of creative destruction that modernizes the modus operandi of society as a whole, including its economic, social, cultural, and political organization.[10]

The motor of this incessant force of creative destruction is technological change.[11][12] While the key carrier technology of the first Industrial Revolution (1770–1850) was based on water-powered mechanization, the second Kondratiev (1850–1900) was enabled by steam-powered technology, the third (1900–1940) was characterized by the electrification of social and productive organization, the fourth by motorization and the automated mobilization of society (1940–1970), and the most recent one by the digitization of social systems.[9] Each one of those so-called long waves has been characterized by a sustained period of social modernization, most notably by sustained periods of increasing economic productivity. According to Carlota Perez: “this quantum jump in productivity can be seen as a technological revolution, which is made possible by the appearance in the general cost structure of a particular input that we could call the 'key factor', fulfilling the following conditions: (1) clearly perceived low-and descending-relative cost; (2) unlimited supply for all practical purposes; (3) potential all-pervasiveness; (4) a capacity to reduce the costs of capital, labour and products as well as to change them qualitatively”.[12] Digital Information and Communication Technologies fulfill those requirements and therefore represent a general purpose technology that can transform an entire economy, leading to a modern, and more developed form of socio-economic and political organization often referred to as the post-industrial society, the fifth Kondratiev, Information society, digital age, and network society, among others.

ICT4D cube: an interplay between technology (horizontal: green), society (vertical: blue), policy (diagonal: yellow/red)

The declared goal of ICT-for-development is to make use of this ongoing transformation by actively using the enabling technology to improve the living conditions of societies and segments of society. As in previous social transformations of this kind (industrial revolution, etc.), the resulting dynamic is an interplay between an enabling technology, normative guiding policies and strategies, and the resulting social transformation.[9][10][11] In the case of ICT4D, this three-dimensional interplay has been depicted as a cube.[13] In line with the Schumpeterian school of thought, the first enabling factor for the associated socio-economic transformations is the existence technological infrastructure: hardware infrastructure and generic software services. Additionally, capacity and knowledge are the human requirements to make use of these technologies. These foundations (horizontal green dimension in Figure) are the basis for the digitization of information flows and communication mechanisms in different sectors of society. When part of the information flows and communication processes in these sectors are carried out in e-lectronic networks, the prefix "e-" is often added to the sector's name, resulting in e-government, e-business and e-commerce, e-health, and e-learning, etc.) (vertical blue dimension in Figure). This process of transformation represent the basic requirements and building blocks, but they are not sufficient for development. The mere existence of technology is not enough to achieve positive outcomes (no technological determinism). ICT for Development policies and projects are aimed at the promotion of normatively desired outcomes of this transformation, the minimization of negative effects, and the removal of eventual bottlenecks. In essence, there are two kinds of interventions: positive feedback (incentives, projects, financing, subsidies, etc. that accentuate existing opportunities); and negative feedback (regulation and legislation, etc.) that limit and tame negative developments (diagonal yellow-red dimension in Figure).[13]


The history of ICT4D can be divided into three periods:[14]

Values framework

It is unusual for an objective endeavor, a research, to have corresponding values. However, since ICT4D is foremost an initiative as well as an advocacy, it can be that development itself opts for a certain ideal or state. As such, values in developmental research can be included. The Kuo Model of Informatization has three dimensions, namely: infrastructure, economy and people. These dimensions correspond to:[15]

However, this may not be applicable to all countries. In the model, the three dimensions are correlated with each other, but Alexander Flor notes that in his country, the Philippines, the model is not be entirely suitable due to the following reasons:

Flor proposes a new dimension be added to the Kuo Model - values dimension. This dimension can be operationalized through government priority indicators, subsidy levels and corruption levels among others. He proposes the following values for this dimension: equality, complementarity, integration, participation and inclusion, development from within and convergence.[16]

ICT and Use of Technology

ICT4D projects often employ low-cost, low-powered technology which are sustainable in a developing environment. The challenge is hard, since it is estimated that 40% of the world's population has less than US$ 20 per year available to spend on ICT. In Brazil, the poorest 20% of the population counts with merely US$9 per year to spend on ICT (US$ 0.75 per month).[17]

From Latin America it is known that the borderline between ICT as a necessity good and ICT as a luxury good is roughly around the “magical number” of US$10 per person per month, or US$120 per year.[17] This is the cost ICT people seem to strive for and therefore is generally accepted as a minimum. In light of this reality, telecentre, desktop virtualization and multiseat configurations currently seem the most simple and common paths to affordable computing.

ICT4D projects need to be properly monitored and implemented, as the system's design and user interface should be suitable to the target users. ICT4D projects installed without proper coordination with its beneficiary community have a tendency to fall short of the main objectives. For example, in the usage of ICT4D projects in those farming sectors where a majority of the population are considered to be technologically illiterate, projects lie idle and sometimes get damaged or allowed to become obsolete.

Further, there should be a line of communication between the project coordinator and the user for immediate response to the query of, or the difficulty encountered by, the user. Addressing the problem properly will help encourage the user via interactivity and participation.

Peer to peer dialogs facilitated by Cisco’s groundbreaking Telepresence technology is now being used, connecting 10 centers around the world to discuss the best practices on the use of ICT in urban service delivery.

ICT4D is also given a new take in the introduction of Web 2.0. With the 5.2 billion internet users, the power generated by the internet should be noticed. With social networking at the frontier of the new web, ICT can have a new approach. Updates, news and ordinances are spread readily by these applications; feedback system can be more evident. In the Philippines, the administration now uses social media to converse more with its citizens for it makes people feel more in touch with the highest official in the land.[18] Also another innovation is a standard suite of city indicators that enabled mayors & citizens to monitor the performance of their city with others, this is important to have consistent & comparable city-level data.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are also used in several ICT4D applications, such as the Open Risk Data Initiative (OpenRDI). OpenRDI aims to minimize the effect of disaster in developing countries by encouraging them to open their disaster risk data. GIS technologies such as satellite imagery, thematic maps, and geospatial data play a big part in disaster risk management. One example is the HaitiData, where maps of Haiti containing layers of geospatial data (earthquake intensity, flooding likelihood, landslide and tsunami hazards, overall damage, etc..) are made available which can then be used by decision makers and policy makers for rehabilitation and reconstruction of the country.[19][20] The areas which are receiving priority attention include natural resources information assessment, monitoring and management, water shed development, environmental planning, urban services and land use planning.[21]

ICT for Weather Forecasting

The use of ICT in weather forecasting is broad. Nowadays, weather forecasting offices are using mass media to inform the public on weather updates. After Tropical Storm Ondoy in the Philippines, the Filipino people are more curious and aware about the weather hazards. Meteorological offices are also using advanced tools to monitor the weather and the weather systems that may affect a certain area.

Monitoring devices [22]

Climate change is a global phenomenon affecting the lives of mankind. In time of calamities we need the use of information and communication technology for disaster management. Various sectors and organizations can prove the effectiveness of ICT for relief operations. In the Philippines, institution like National Disaster and Risk Reduction and Management Council help the public in monitoring the weather and advisory for any possible risks due to hazardous weather. NetHope is another global organization which contributes to public regarding disaster management and awareness through information technology.

ICT for People with Disabilities

According to World Health Organization (WHO), 15% of the world's total population have disabilities. This is approximately 600 million people wherein three out of every four are living in developing countries, half are of working age, half are women and the highest incidence and prevalence of disabilities occurs in poor areas.[23] With ICT, lives of people with disabilities can be improved, allowing them to have a better interaction in society by widening their scope of activities.

Goals of ICT and Disability Work

At the international level, there are numerous guiding documents impacting on the education of people with disabilities such as Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), moving to the Convention against Discrimination in Education (1960), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005). The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) includes policies about accessibility, non-discrimination, equal opportunity, full and effective participation and other issues. The key statement within the CRPD (2006) relevant for ICT and people with disabilities is within Article 9:

"To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and rural areas. (p. 9)"

Another international policy that has indirect implications for the use of ICT by people with disabilities are the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Although these do not specifically mention the right to access ICT for people with disabilities, two key elements within the MDGs are to reduce the number of people in poverty and to reach out to the marginalised groups without access to ICT.[24]

ICT Programs:

ICT for Education

ICT for Education (ICT4E) is a subset of the ICT4D thrust. Globalization and technological change are one of the main goals of ICT. One of its main sectors that should be changed and modified is education. ICTs greatly facilitate the acquisition and absorption of knowledge; offering developing countries unprecedented opportunities to enhance educational systems, improve policy formulation and execution, and widen the range of opportunities for business and the poor. One of the greatest hardships endured by the poor, and by many others who live in the poorest countries, is their sense of isolation. The new communications technologies promise to reduce that sense of isolation, and open access to knowledge in ways unimaginable not long ago.

Education is seen as a vital input to addressing issues of poverty, gender equality and health in the MDGs. This has led to an expansion of demand for education at all levels. Given limited education budgets, the opposing demand for increased investment in education against widespread scarcity of resources puts intolerable pressure on many countries’ educational systems. Meeting these opposing demands through the traditional expansion of education systems, such as building schools, hiring teachers and equipping schools with adequate educational resources will be impossible in a conventional system of education. ICTs offer alternate solutions for providing access and equity, and for collaborative practices to optimize costs and effectively use resources.[25]

Countries with National Programs and Good Practice Examples of ICT Use in Education


ICT has been employed in many projects and researches for education the world over. The Hole in the Wall (also known as minimally invasive education) is one of the projects which focuses on the development of computer literacy and the improvement of learning. Other projects included the utilization of mobile phone technology to improve educational outcomes.[30]

In the Philippines, there are key notes that have been forwarded to expand the definition of ICT4E from an exclusive high-end technology to include low-end technology; that is, both digital and analog.[31] As a leading mobile technology user, the Philippines can take advantage of this for student learning. One project that serves as an example is Project Mind,[32] a collaboration of the Molave Development Foundation, Inc, Health Sciences University of Mongolia, ESP Foundation and the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) which focuses on the viability of Short Message System (SMS) for distance learning. Pedagogy, Teacher Training, and Personnel Management are some of the subgroups of ICT4E. UPOU is one of the best examples of education transformation that empowers the potential of ICT in the Philippines' education system. By maximizing the use of technology to create a wide range of learning, UPOU promotes lifelong learning in a more convenient way.

Since the education sector plays a vital role in economic development, Education System in developing countries should align with the fast evolving technology because technological literacy is one of the required skills in our current era. ICT can enhance the quality of education by increasing learner motivation and engagement, by facilitating the acquisition of basic skills and by enhancing teacher training which will eventually improve communication and exchange of information that will strengthen and create economic and social development.

Educational Television Infrastructure Program (E-TV) in the Philippines

In the Philippines, despite the heightened use of the Internet in accessing media content, television is still one of the most pervasive mediums, next to radio.[33] There are 297 broadcast stations (plus 873 CATV networks) (2008), compared with Japan, which has 2 TV networks, each broadcasting on 2 channels).

Private companies in the Philippines, as part of their corporate social responsibility, are utilizing advances in technology and the effectivity of mass media in support of knowledge. One example is the Educational Television Infrastructure Program or ETV.[34] In partnership with the ABS-CBN Foundation,[35] the Tan Yan Kee Foundation Inc. (TYKFI),[36] the philanthropy arm of Lucio Tan's Group of Companies, saw ten schools in the provinces of Cagayan, Pangasinan, Nueva Vizcaya, Misamis Occidental, and Cebu getting the benefit of this alternative learning method.

An ETV package is an entertaining educational method geared towards teaching Mathematics, Science, English, History, and Values, which complements traditional or structured methods. Each package includes a television set, a DVD player, volumes of DVD materials, and an episode guide for teachers. The project provides an alternative teaching-learning method that uses instruction through interactive methods.

Going beyond education, they also address the immediate and urgent needs for health and social welfare.

In Kalabaylabay Elementary School and El Salvador Central School, in Misamis Oriental, the schools not only received the storybooks and an ETV package, but also a renovated library and a clinic equipped with furniture, a bed, a medical kit and a nebulizer, as well as various vegetable seeds (for the TYKFI Vegetable Garden project) complete with planting calendars and planting guides.[37]


Rizal Province,located in CALABARZON, Philippines, in its continuous pursuit to harmonize education has taken bold steps to make education work by bringing together both the public and private sectors towards one goal - deliver high quality education to all Rizalenos.

In August 2011, the Enhancement and Expansion of Capability in Information Technology and English (EXCITE) was launched with two area components: Information Technology and English. It is a major initiative of Guronasyon Foundation, Inc. with Dr. Gilberto M. Duavit and a priority project of the Province of Rizal Education Development Advisory Council (PREDAC) together with the strong support of Governor Casimiro A. Ynares, III and the University of Rizal System. It was envisioned to provide advancement of knowledge and competencies of the teachers in the province of Rizal. The program specifically aims to retool and upgrade in the fields of Information and Technology and English the 9000 basic education teachers in the province; encourage professional and personal development and boost the motivation of teachers; improve the teaching methods and skills of teachers by promoting a more interactive classroom teaching and inculcate the value and nobility of the teaching profession as well as the importance of continuous self and professional improvement among all educators in the Province.

The EXCITE Program is a modular training program in three areas: 1. Communication Skills and English Language Proficiency 2. PC Operation, Word Processing, Spreadsheet and Database 3. Presentation, Multimedia Production, Internet, Web Publishing and Blogging

Each area can be completed in five days. An It module and the English Training will be held simultaneously. A total of 50 participants will be accepted for the English enhancement which will be subdivided into two (2) groups of 25 participants each. The same number of 50 participants will be accepted for an IT module which will also be divided into two (2) groups. Thus, a total of 100 participants in four sessions will be held simultaneously.

The trainees will undergo the EXCITE Program in English and IT. It is ensured that for every training program, all schools in Rizal will be represented. Certificate of Completion will be given to the trainees for completion of the program and Certificate of Participation for those who will not be able to complete the whole one week.

The EXCITE Program will be conducted at the Province of Rizal Educators Value-Added Training (PREVAT) Center inside URS Morong Campus. The same center will be replicated inside the URS Cainta and Rodriguez campuses. It will be mandated to upgrade the knowledge and content proficiency as well as teaching competency of basic education teachers in the Province. The Center will be the Center for Excellence in Teacher Training in Rizal. The Morong PREVAT Center will be established as a one-storey facility with four training rooms and state-of-the-art equipment to maximize the training of the teachers. Together with an Office and comfort rooms, the Center will be a complete training facility.

The actual conduct of training will be evaluated through a prepared evaluation form to be filled up by the participants. The feedback will serve as a guide in the continuous improvement of the EXCITE Program.

The participants will also be monitored after the training program by requiring them to submit quarterly reports for the duration of the school year of what was done in consonance to what was learned during the training. Occasional visitations by the EXCITE Team will also be done to interview the Principal, co-teachers and students on the progress of the participants.

Through this monitoring system, the concept of continuous self-upgrading and development after a training course can be impacted on all teachers in Rizal Province.

6 Principles of ICT4E for effective teaching methods in the Philippines


  1. Educators must visualize the concept of ICT as an effective tool for the integration of learning. Technology should not drive education but the call for educational goals, needs and economic realities as driving factors for technology use.
  2. Effective Educators know how to integrate ICTs by blending appropriate technologies and methods through the curriculum and is not subject to one source only.
  3. Educators must recognize the combination of pre and in service initiatives by encouraging learners to practically involve themselves through the use of ICT-based technologies.
  4. Educators must know how to assess relevant contents (e.g. multimedia content), show expertise and share practices through involvement of content creation appropriate to every learning activities.
  5. Educators must work cooperatively with other stakeholders (e.g., parents, higher authorities) to understand complexities to utilize knowledge and information dissemination.
  6. An Effective ICT Program for Education relies on the sustainability of computer hardware and context development with responsible stakeholders.

ICT For Livelihood

Agriculture is the most vital sector for ICT intervention most especially that majority of the population around the world rely on agriculture to live sustainably. Dr. Alexander G. Flor, author of the book ICT4D: Information and Communication Technology for Development, agriculture provides our most basic human needs that are food, clothing and shelter.

Ever since people have this natural way of thinking on how they can survive and make a living by harvesting crops used for food and fiber, raising livestock such as cow, sheep and poultry that produces animal products like wool, dairy and eggs, catching fish or any edible marine life for food or for sale, forestry and logging to grow and harvest timber to build shelter. With agriculture, people learned and acquired knowledge through sharing information with each other but of course this is not enough as there are also changes and developments in agriculture. Farmers should be able to take hold of updated information like prices, production techniques, services, storage, processing and the like. Evidently, updated information with the change and developments in agriculture can be addressed by the effective use of ICT (the Internet, mobile phone, and other digital technologies).

Poor families in the rural areas have limited or no access at all to information and communication technology. However, these people also needs access to ICT since this technology would help lessen their expenses on their resources like time, labor, energy, and physical resources, thus, would have a greater positive impact on their livelihoods and incomes.[39]

The lives of the rural poor could be alleviated through the application of information and communication technology through the following:

  1. By supplying information to inform the policies, institutions, and processes that affect their livelihood options.
  2. By providing access to information needed in order to pursue their livelihood strategies, including:
  • Financial Capital – online and mobile banking will allow rural poor to have greater access to banking facilities and provide a secure place for cash deposits and remittances.
  • Human Capital – using ICT will allow intermediaries or knowledge providers impart updated knowledge, techniques and new developments in technology to the locals.
  • Physical Capital – service providers will be able to monitor access to local services.
  • Natural Capital – access to information about availability and management of natural resources will be enhanced. Also, market access for agricultural products will be einforced. Lastly, ICT could provide early warning systems to reduce the hazard to natural disasters and food shortages.
  • Social Capital – connectivity, social networking, and contact for geographically disparate households will be reinforced.

In the advent of ICT it offers new opportunities to support development of the rural livelihoods. It strengthens the production and increased market coordination which are the main processes that can contribute to the future opportunity of the sector and create income for the people that depend on it.

ICT for Agriculture

Traditional Farming use the land, rainfall, seeds, tillage methods and power sources they have to produce what nature offers. Conventional processes are used to till the land, select and plant seeds, protect plants from competing plants and animals and gather the harvest. Surpluses are marketed through nearby outlets. Such producers frequently report only limited capacity to change these processes—and some seek to avoid change. The productivity of such systems depends primarily on the natural fertility of the soils—enhanced by skillful care—and on the climate. The technology and management systems involved are often characterized by lack of access to, or reluctance to use new information about production and/or management, or public or commercial assistance. Their productivity tends to grow slowly, often in response to outside developments that reduce producer isolation, increase access to markets or support investment in water and land.[40]
Traditional farmers constantly search for and promote novel variation in their crops. They acquire new varieties by exchange, while travelling, through purchase from markets and natural hybridization.This is actually one of the key features of traditional farming systems; the interaction between domesticated varieties and their wild relatives. The promotion of natural hybridization and introgression have, over time, increased the genetic diversity available to farmers. Traditional farmers also experiment with new varieties and breed plants purposefully to create new strains. They generally plant experimental plots first and only integrate new varieties into their main crops once a variety has proven itself to be of value. This constant experimentation and breeding has created the diversity of crops upon which we now depend.[41]
Modern farming means farming using modern techniques and technology. That means farming with the facilities of modern science and technologies. Using modern science and technologies in farming increase the farming productions.In the past the farmers use plough to digg the soil. But now farmer use modern equipments like multi facilities tractor to digg the soil. In past farmer were dependent on natural condition and fertilizers and produce very low production. But now the farmers use synthetic fertilizers, high productive breeds, pesticides, proper water contamination, mechanization and farm subsiders which greatly increased the farming productivity.[42]:
In modern agricultural systems farmers believe they have much more central roles and are eager to apply technology and information to control most components of the system, a very different view from that of traditional farmers. In contrast to the isolation inherent in traditional arrangements, modern agriculture tends to see its success as dependant on linkages—access to resources, technology, management, investment, markets and supportive government policies. As a result, much of the success of modern systems depends on the development and maintenance of soil fertility through the specific provision of nutrients when they are depleted; of machine power and technology to create soil conditions necessary to promote plant growth with minimal disturbance and minimal soil loss; of the use of improved genetics for crops and livestock to enhance yields, quality and reliability; and, on modern genetic and other techniques to protect plants and livestock from losses to competing plants, diseases, drought insects and other threats. This success also depends on access to efficient, effective irrigation to supplement rainfall in many climates; on advanced harvesting, handling and storage equipment and techniques to prevent losses and to market commodities efficiently. It depends, in turn, on both public and private investment to provide access to technology, equipment, information and physical facilities throughout the production-marketing system. And, it depends on well supported commercial and financial systems and broad public policies that support effective commercial markets at all levels that generate economic returns throughout the system.[40]
Agriculture is one of the most important economic sectors wherein the majority of the rural population in developing countries like the Philippines is depending on agricultural production. To enhance food security is one of the roles of ICT. It is a great help on agricultural production and post-harvest activities through the extension of financial services, basic telephone access, providing conventional media such as radio and TV and empower individual by providing training. By ensuring availability and access to relevant information: it will enhance agricultural production, improve market access and build and empower capacity of individual and the community. The need for relevant agricultural information can be easily accessed through proper documentation and it can be implemented knowing its relevancy and lessons learned from previous implementation.

Importance of Modern Farming

There is really little mystery about why agriculture is important—it is the physical foundation of human energy, health, and physical well being—all key components of every important human activity. To the degree these components are missing, the human existence is defined primarily by the effort necessary to provide them. Making them more widely available at lower costs increases the capacity of any population to invest in more productive work, education, economic development and cultural activities. The basic facts are clear: More people the world over eat more and better because of modern agriculture. Increased production continues to enable steadily improving diets, reflecting increased availability of all foods, dietary diversity and access to high-protein food products; The additional food modern systems provide has enabled hundreds of millions of people to realize more of their potential and better lives—thus enhancing the achievements of all, from students to retirees. It increases workforce productivity and generally supports human development and growth; The current hunger and malnutrition that extends to some one billion people reflects poor policies, low productivity and low incomes. Failure to continue to apply new technologies to advance productivity on the farm and across the food system simply worsens every aspect of these problems, especially those forced on individuals and families who live in poverty. To a very large extent, current food insecurity problems reflect bad policies, poor infrastructure and low economic productivity.[40]

Farmers who have better access to ICT have better lives because of the following:.[43]

  1. access to price information – farmers will be informed of the accurate current prices and the demands of the products. Hence, they will be able to competitively negotiate in the agricultural economy and their incomes will be improved.
  2. access to agriculture information – according to the review of global and national agricultural information systems done by IICD with support from DFID in 2003, there is a need for coordination and streamlining of existing agriculture information sources, both internationally and within the developing countrues. The information provided is usually too scientific that farmers cannot comprehend. Therefore, it is vital that the local information to be relayed to the farmers must be simplified.
  3. access to national and international markets – Increasing the level of access of farmers is very vital in order to simplify contact between the sellers and the buyers, to publicize agricultural exports, facilitate online trading, and increase the awareness of producers on potential market opportunities including consumer and price trends.
  4. increasing production efficiency – due to several environmental threats such as climate change, drought, poor soil, erosion and pests, the livelihood of farmers are unstable. Thus, the flow of information regarding new techniques in production would open up new opportunities to farmers by documenting and sharing their experiences.
  5. creating an conducive policy environment – through the flow of information from the farmers to policy makers, a favorable policy on development and sustainable growth of the agriculture sector will be achieved.

ICT4D and Mobile Technologies

In recent years, development in mobile computing and communication led to the proliferation of mobile phones, tablet computers, smartphones, and netbooks. Some of these consumer electronic products, like netbooks and entry-level tablet computers are often priced lower as compared to notebooks/laptops and desktop computer since the target market for these products are those living in the emerging markets.[44] This made the Internet and computing more accessible to people, especially in emerging markets and developing countries where most of the world’s poor reside.

Furthermore, these consumer electronic products are equipped with basic mobile communication hardware like, WiFi and 2.5G/3G Internet USB sticks. These allowed users to connect to the Internet via mobile and wireless networks without having to secure a landline or an expensive broadband connection via DSL, cable Internet or fiber optics.

According to International Telecommunication Union, mobile communications and technology has emerged as the primary technology that will bridge in the least developed countries. This trend can be further supported by the rosy sales reports of technology companies selling these electronic devices in emerging markets which includes some of the least developed countries. In fact, some multinational computer manufacturers like Acer and Lenovo are focusing in bringing cheaper netbooks to emerging markets like China, Indonesia and India.[45]

Moreover, data from the ITU’s Measuring the Information Society 2011 report shows that mobile phones and other mobile devices are replacing computers and laptops in accessing the Internet. Countries in Africa have also recorded growth in using mobile phones to access the Internet. In Nigeria, for example, 77% of individuals aged 16 and above use their mobile phones to access the Internet as compared to a mere 13% who use computers to go online.[46] These developments and growth in mobile communication and its penetration in developing countries are expected to bridge the digital divide between least-developed countries and developed countries although there are still challenges in making these services affordable.[47]

Mobile Technology in Education

The field of Mobile Learning is still in its infancy, and so it is still difficult for experts to come up with a single definition of the concept.[48] One definition of Mobile Learning or mLearning is provided by MoLeNet: “It is the exploitation of ubiquitous handheld technologies, together with wireless and mobile phone networks, to facilitate, support, enhance and extend the reach of teaching and learning”.[49]

Advancements in hardware and networking technologies made it possible for mobile devices and applications to be used in the field of education.[50] Newer developments in mobile phone technology makes them more embedded, ubiquitous and networked, with enhanced capabilities for rich social interactions and internet connectivity. Such technologies can have a great impact on learning by providing a rich, collaborative and conversational experience to both teachers and students.[51] Mobile learning is adapted in classes since aside from the fact that it helps in the enhancement of students' learning, it also helps teachers to easily keep track of the students' progress. Communication when needed is possible at any given time. Discipline and responsibility must go though with the contents in mobile learning since whatever is posted is made available to those who are given access.[52]

Despite the challenges that it presently faces, both technical and pedagogical, experts still remain positive about the concept of mobile learning. The most commonly expected advantages from adopting mobile technology in education include their potential to be engaging for students, to enable interactive learning, and to support personalization of instruction to meet the needs of different students.[53]

Mobile Shopping

Based on a February 2012 survey, the percentage of online shoppers in Asia Pacific are 80% in Thailand and China, 74% in Japan, 71% in Korea, 68% in Australia, 67% in Malaysia and New Zealand, 64% in Taiwan, 61% in Vietnam, 58% in Hong Kong, 57% in Indonesia and Singapore, 54% in India, and 41% in the Philippines. The most famous websites shopped on were 36% for clothing/accessories, 33% for coupons/vouchers and books/DVDs, and 31% for movie tickets. Mobile shopping has grown to be popular especially for the Asian shoppers of which 59% are from Thailand, 37% are from China, 32% are from Vietnam and India. Their reason for mobile shopping was either it was more convenient or more app-compatible. The top mobile buys were 31% on applications, 24% on music, 17% on coupons/vouchers and clothing/accessories, and 16% on movie tickets.[54]

Mobile Telephony and Development Opportunities

Mobile phone subscribers per 100 inhabitants growth in developed and developing world between 1997 and 2007

The use of mobile phones as part of ICT4D initiatives has proven to be a success as the rapid distribution of mobile telephony has made it possible for poor people to have easy access to useful and interactive information.[55] For instance, in India, the total number of mobile phone subscriptions reached 851.70 million in June 2011, among which 289.57 million came from rural areas, with a higher percentage of increase than that in urban areas.[56] The unexpected growth of affordability and coverage of mobile telephony services has increased its importance not just as a means of two way communication but that of ease-of-access to information as well.

Mobile phones are capable of much more than the exchange of information between two people through calling or text messaging. Advanced models of mobile phones can take photos, record video, receive local AM/FM stations radio frequencies, share and receive multimedia and even connect to the Internet: almost all the features that come with being connected to the World Wide Web. These features make an even better device to aid in ICT4D projects.

According to a study conducted in Tanzania,[57] the use of mobile phones has impacted rural living in ways which include:

An Example: Esoko

Esoko[58] is a successful ICT4D initiative which uses mobile phones to give farmers and their businesses the opportunity to share and receive information quickly, affordably and efficiently. Founded in Accra, Ghana by a young and energetic team, the service provides information on prices, trades, transports, contacts, projects and real-time updates on stock, harvests, etc. Esoko believes that being better-informed is a key factor in how markets operate so they try to both push data out to the fields as well as pull data in from the field.

Esoko features a hosted application that is maintained and organized by their team. This means that farmers need not acquire special software or hardware to gain access to information. They simply need to log on to the Internet or request the information by SMS from any phone in any country. Over time, as the user develops a set of networks and contacts on the platform, it enables them to choose the applications that could help them the most; they receive these through simple SMS alerts.

Support and training to anyone who wants to better comprehend a sustainable and successful market information systems are available.

ICT4D and Other Sectoral Applications

In 2003, the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) held in Geneva, Switzerland came up with concrete steps on how ICT can support sustainable development in the fields of public administration, business, education and training, health, employment, environment, agriculture and science.[59]

The WSIS Plan of Action identified the following as sectors that can benefit from the applications of ICT4D:

The e-government action plan involves applications aimed at promoting transparency to improve efficiency and strengthen citizen relations; needs-based initiatives and services to achieve a more efficient allocation of resources and public goods; and international cooperation initiatives to enhance transparency, accountability and efficiency at all levels of government.

Governments, international organizations and the private sector are encouraged to promote the benefits of international trade and e-business; stimulate private sector investment, foster new applications, content development and public/private partnerships; and adapt policies that favor assistance to and growth of SMMEs in the ICT industry to stimulate economic growth and job creation.

Capacity building and ICT literacy are essential to benefit fully from the Information Society. ICT contributions to e-learning include the delivery of education and training of teachers, offering improved conditions for lifelong learning, and improving professional skills.

ICTs can aid in collaborative efforts to create a reliable, timely, high quality and affordable health care and health information systems, and to promote continuous medical training, education, and research. WSIS also promotes the use of ICTs to facilitate access to the world’s medical knowledge, improve common information systems, improve and extend health care and health information systems to remote and underserved areas, and provide medical and humanitarian assistance during disasters and emergencies.

The e-employment action plan includes the development of best practices for e-workers and e-employers; raising productivity, growth and well-being by promoting new ways of organizing work and business; promotion of teleworking with focus on job creation and skilled worker retention; and increasing the number of women in ICT through early intervention programs in science and technology.

The government, civil society and private sector are encouraged to use and promote ICTs as instruments for environmental protection and the sustainable use of natural resources; to implement green computing programs; and to establish monitoring systems to forecast and monitor the impact of natural and man-made disasters.

WSIS recognizes the role of ICT in the systematic dissemination of agricultural information to provide ready access to comprehensive, up-to-date and detailed knowledge and information, particularly in rural areas. It also encourages public-private partnerships to maximize the use of ICTs as an instrument to improve production.

The plan of action for e-science involves affordable and reliable high-speed Internet connection for all universities and research institutions; electronic publishing, differential pricing and open access initiatives; use of peer-to-peer technology for knowledge sharing; long-term systematic and efficient collection, dissemination and preservation of essential scientific digital data; and principles and metadata standards to facilitate cooperation and effective use of collected scientific information and data.

The number of prevalent crimes online and offline, local and international (terrorism and acts to it) has led to the increased development of arsenals (including ICT) to preempt and enforce proper security measures that lead to it and put public security, peace and order a number one priority.

ICT4D in the Philippines

The Philippines, one of newly industrialized countries (NICs) in Asia, is continuously boosting ICT4D in sectors like education, agriculture, livelihood and even disaster preparedness. Directed by the Philippine Digital Strategy 2011-2016[3], the government and the private sector have been harnessing ICT to achieve development agenda. Among ICT4D projects operating nationwide are:





Graph of ICT penetration per 100 inhabitants by International Telecommunication Union

ICT is central to today's most modern economies. Many international development agencies recognize the importance of ICT4D – for example, the World Bank's GICT section has a dedicated team of approximately 200 staff members working on ICT issues. A global network hub is also promoting innovation and advancement in ICT4D. Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) is the world's first multi-stakeholder network, bringing together public sector, private sector and civil society organizations with the goal of sharing knowledge and building partnerships in ICT4D.

Developing countries far lag developed nations in computer use and internet access/usage. For example, on average only 1 in 130 people in Africa has a computer[63] while in North America and Europe 1 in every 2 people have access to the Internet.[64] 90% of students in Africa have never touched a computer.[65]

However, local networks can provide significant access to software and information even without utilizing an internet connection, for example through use of the Wikipedia CD Selection or the eGranary Digital Library.

The World Bank runs the Information for Development Program (infoDev), whose Rural ICT Toolkit analyses the costs and possible profits involved in such a venture and shows that there is more potential in developing areas than many might assume.[66] The potential for profit arises from two sources- resource sharing across large numbers of users (specifically, the publication talks about line sharing, but the principle is the same for, e.g., telecentres at which computing/Internet are shared) and remittances (specifically the publication talks about carriers making money from incoming calls, i.e., from urban to rural areas).

A good example of the impact of ICTs is that of farmers getting better market price information and thus boosting their income.[67][68] The Community e-Center in the Philippines developed a website to promote its local products worldwide.[69] Another example is the use of mobile telecommunications and radio broadcasting to fight political corruption in Burundi.[70] This is a short video that discusses the impact of ICT4D in our society:

Women in ICT4D

In recent years there has been a major thrust in the effort to get women involved in ICT for personal, gender and financial empowerment. In May 29 at the "International Girls in ICT Day 2012" held in Geneva, Swizerland, the ITU's Secretary General Dr. Hamadoun Touré gave a more compelling reason to close the gender gap - “Technology needs girls for all sorts of reasons – but perhaps the most important one is that women drive social and economic growth.[71]

In 2009, Insight's in-depth look at the disparity in which girls and boys view ICT as a career in Europe explain, to a certain extent, why the gender gap exists in favor of men over women.[72] Reasons do vary from one country to the next, but the one constant is that women perceive ICT to be a male-dominated industry making it less appealing as a career choice. In general, women are still vastly outnumbered in high-level ICT positions worldwide, save for countries like India that have been actively involved in ICT much earlier than other countries, but examples like this is far and few between. Changes are currently being done in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific, and Russia to change the perspective of girls at the primary educational level regarding the feasibility of ICT as a long-term and fruitful career.[73]

A study made by ITU shows that narrowing the gap between men and women in the workplace increases economic growth, while fighting to maintain the gap costs billions of dollars a year. Plus, a more diverse gender pool in the workplace makes for a more robust and healthy business environment. Aside from the obvious benefits of ICT implementation by involving women in the workplace, it is a very positive move from a social standpoint to close the gender gap in all aspects of society.[74]

Countries in Africa have taken the initiative and have shown a variety of basic ways of using ICT in improving their way of life. It can be as simple as using videos and images for better marketing of basic goods to the use of cellular services for more up-to-date information on current practices.[75]

ITU, in cooperation with Sookmyung Women's University of Korea and the Asia Pacific Information Network Center, recently funded an ICT pilot program in the Philippines and Bhutan that specifically targets rural women. The program aims to determine the feasibility of using ICT in promoting local livelihood and its effects on the respective communities. Its results show that women tend to adapt much quicker to the use of ICT once exposed to it, and participants, though initially averse to the idea of using ICT for information gathering and marketing, found the application of ICT in their local setting beneficial.[76]

Women's Empowerment Through ICT's

Artificial Intelligence for Development

Insightful applications of machine learning, reasoning, planning, and perception have the potential to bring great value to disadvantaged populations in a wide array of areas, including healthcare, education, transportation, agriculture, and commerce. As an example, learning and reasoning can extend medical care to remote regions through automated diagnosis and effective triaging of limited medical expertise and transportation resources. Machine intelligence may one day assist with detecting, monitoring, and responding to natural, epidemiological, or political disruptions. Methods developed within the artificial intelligence community may even help to unearth causal influences within large-scale programs, allowing a better understanding on how to design more effective health and education systems. Ideas and tools created at the intersection of artificial intelligence and electronic commerce may provide new directions for enhancing and extending novel economic concepts, such as micro-finance and micro-work.

Machine learning holds particular promise for helping populations in developing regions. Unprecedented quantities of data are being generated in the developing world on human health, commerce, communications, and migration. Automated learning methods developed within the AI community can help to tease out insights from this data on the nature and dynamics of social relationships, financial connections and transactions, patterns of human mobility, the dissemination of disease, and such urgent challenges as the needs of populations in the face of crises. Models and systems that leverage such data might one day guide public policy, shape the construction of responses to crises, and help to formulate effective long-term interventions.

Machine intelligence has been pursued before in projects within the broader Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT-D) community. These and other ICT-D efforts have already led to valuable ideas, insights, and systems. AI-D[78] stimulates a larger focus on opportunities to harness machine learning, reasoning, and perception to enhance the quality of life within disadvantaged populations.


Schoolkids with laptops in Cambodia.


ICT4D initiatives and projects may be designed and implemented by international institutions, governments (e.g., e-Mexico initiative), consultants (e.g., Non-Profit Computing, Inc.[79]), private companies (e.g., Intel's Classmate), non-governmental organizations (e.g., International Institute for Communication and Development), or virtual organizations (e.g., One Laptop per Child). The projects can typically be evaluation research, matching a tool and a problem, exploratory research, or constructive research.[6]

A 2010 research report from the Governance and Social Development Resource Centre[80] found "Very few ICT4D activities have proved sustainable... Recent research has stressed the need to shift from a technology-led approach, where the emphasis is on technical innovation towards an approach that emphasises innovative use of already established technology (mobiles, radio, television)."[81] However, of 27 applications of ICTs for development, E-government, E-learnings and E-health were found to be possible of great success, as well as the strengthening of social networks and boosting of security (particularly of women).

The United Nations Development Center in Bangkok issued a list of over 100 case studies addressing one or more of the following issues:[82]


Projects which deploy technologies in underdeveloped areas face well-known problems concerning crime, problems of adjustment to the social context, and also possibly infrastructural problems. While a link between poverty reduction and ICT exists, the connection is yet to be fully understood. In fact, the relationship between infrastructure investment and increased output commonly encounter problems with reverse causality and false correlations.

The expansion of ICT can have direct negative outcomes. Expenditure on ICT has been known to cause intra-household conflict, foster male dominance over resources and divert household resources away from food and other essentials. Human right concerns such as child labor have also been raised over the use of conflict materials in the production of ICT devices.[83]

In many impoverished regions of the world, legislative and political measures are required to facilitate or enable application of ICTs, especially with respect to monopolistic communications structures and censorship laws.

The literacy issue is one of the key factors why projects fail in rural areas; as education in literacy sets the foundation for digital and information literacy, proper education and training are needed to make the user at least understand how to manipulate the applications to get the information they need. Constant follow-up with the community is needed to monitor if the project has been successfully implemented and is being used meaningfully.

In the case of India, technological advancement has been more of leapfrogging in nature: the affordability of mobile phones allowed more people to acquire mobile phones before learning to use personal computers and desktops. This unfamiliarity with computers could be seen as problematic as it creates digital divide if technological devices provided are computers; a disconnect between computing technology and people causes difficulty for some of the ICT4D project initiatives to take effect. For instance, in rural parts of India, the Ministry of Education rejected OLPC initiative[84] due to lack of facilities and trained professionals for computer teaching and maintenance. While closing the gap of digital divide through training teachers so that technology may be used for teaching process is challenging, there is yet another problem of failing to recognize technology as a tool for learning process. Studying how learners and/or students interact with technology is vital for developing and designing technologies for them.

Projects in marginalised rural areas face the most significant hurdles – but since people in marginalised rural areas are at the very bottom of the pyramid, development efforts should make the most difference in this sector. ICTs have the potential to multiply development effects[85] and are thus also meaningful in the rural arena.[86]

However, introducing ICTs in these areas is also most costly, as the following barriers exist:[87]

Another significant problem can be the selection of software installed on technology[89] – instructors trained in one set of software (for example Ubuntu[90]) can be expected to have difficulty in navigating computers donated with different software (for example Windows XP).

A pressing problem is also the misuse of Electronic waste in dangerous ways. Burning technology to obtain the metals inside will release toxic fumes into the air.[91] Plastics, chips and circuit boards are destroyed to gather their raw and sellable materials. These practices cost the health of communities, affecting the respiratory and immune system. Presence of harmful chemicals are stuck on soils like lead, mercury and cadmium.[92] Sadly electronic wastes are profound in developing countries where they are dumped due to large recycling costs. Developing countries are forced to labor on these waste to get money. (Certification of recyclers to e-Stewards or R2 Solutions standards is intended to preclude environmental pollution.)

Finally, while the training, support, hardware and software may all be donated, it is rare for another vital component of technology, Internet access, to be made available at a discounted rate. "In about half the countries in Africa, one year of [dial-up] Internet supply will cost more than the average annual income."[93][94]

Jurisdictional issues

One of the main challenges in overcoming the digital divide is to widen the influence of the respective policies from those carried out by just the telecommunications authority to the entire public sector. While most of the national digital agendas are led by national telecommunications authorities (such as the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and NTIA), the case of Chile shows that the funds managed by the telecom authority represent less than 5% of the total funds spent by the overall government on ICT-related policies and projects (spread out over 22 government departments), such as those carried out by the national health department, the education ministry or the finance department.[95][95] The funds available for ICT4D throughout the public sector are a large multiple of those spent by technology and infrastructure authorities alone.

Countries and international organizations usually do not know which agency manages which kinds of ICT funds and do not often make an effort to track these resources. Since ICT for development is about more than providing mere access to technologies, the logical conclusion should be to coordinate the funds and projects implemented by telecommunications and technologies authorities with those managed by the health, education, finance and defense authorities.

The first task in coordinating usually consists of taking inventory of the funds available to the entire public sector. This is generally not done and not even the actors and decision makers have a coherent picture about what is being done. Double efforts/lack of synergies are the common result.[95]

Lessons learned

Crucial in making any ICT4D effort successful is effective partnership between four key stakeholders:

InfoDev has published six lessons from an analysis of 17 of their pilot programmes (see below). These lessons are backed by a variety of examples as well as a list of recommendations:[96]

Sustainability and scalability

A Geekcorps volunteer setting up a Wi-Fi antenna in Mali

Currently, the main two perspectives coming out of this sector are to emphasize the need for external aid to build infrastructure so that projects can reach viability, and the need to develop and build on local talent.

Establishing a clear and effective initial design serves as a foundation of any development projects. Starting on existing community assets and knowledge promotes collaboration and cooperation among participants resulting to collective decision-making. Thus, involvement of potential participants in the design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation is valuable. Adding a substantial effect on a project's long-term sustainability is the implementation. The success of project implementation is reflected in a comprehensive evaluation of the expected net benefits. The interdependence between these project components based on a holistic consideration of livelihood systems, needs and opportunities, provides significant contribution to the overall impact of the project on the community.[97]

A growing perspective in the field is also the need to build projects that are sustainable and scalable, rather than focusing on those which must be propped up by huge amounts of external funding and cannot survive for long without it. Sustaining the project's scalability is a huge challenge of ICT for development; how the target user will continue using the platform. ICT4D is not a one-shot implementation but rather it is a complex process to be undertaken continuously, and the progress of each project evolves around the local education for, and adaptability of, the technology

Also, a number of developing countries have proven their skills in IT (information technology). Using these skills to build on ICT4D projects will tap local potential and a key indigenous partner in the growth of this sector will be gained. The balance of trade for these nations due to imports in both hardware and software might be an additional consideration.

Different countries have variety on these strengths some are better in hardware production, both high end and low end. There are some who are good in production of programs and other content. ICT is a US$ 3 trillion dollar industry (2010)[98] and is growing every year. Communication, media and IT present opportunities for further growth and expansion.

Impact Assessment on ICT4D

There are many initiatives and projects being done in line with information, communication and technology for development. Government, NGOs, public and private sectors have different projects lined up to promote development in different communities. But these projects, although have the objectives to help people in their everyday life, there are little study on whether the technology applied is effective or not. Impact assessment is one way to determine the effectiveness of one technology.

For ICT4D, impact assessment can be based on these questions:[99]

Heeks and Molla described two different ways in categorizing impact assessment of ICT4D projects. One is based on the attainment of the ICT4D goals and the other is based on how to undertake such assessment.

Here is the classification of the impact of ICT4D based on the attainment of goals:

  1. Total failure: the initiative was never implemented, was implemented but immediately abandoned, or was implemented but achieved none of its goals.
  2. Largely unsuccessful: some goals were attained but most stakeholder groups did not attain their major goals and/or experienced significant undesirable outcomes.
  3. Partial success/partial failure: some major goals for the initiative were attained but some were not and/or there were some significant undesirable outcomes
  4. Largely successful: most stakeholder groups attained their major goals and did not experience significant undesirable outcomes.
  5. Total success: all stakeholder groups attained their major goals and did not experience significant undesirable outcomes.

Another categorization of assessing the impacts of ICT4D projects based on "frameworks" (understanding ICT4D projects and organizing knowledge about them) are: Generic: general frameworks usable in assessment of any development project.

  1. Discipline-Specific: assessment drawing from a particular academic discipline.
  2. Issue-Specific: assessment focused on a particular development goal or issue.
  3. Application-Specific: assessment focused on one particular ICT4D technology.
  4. Method-Specific: assessment centred on a particular approach to data-gathering.
  5. Sector-Specific: assessment centred on an individual development sector.


Satellite Internet access via VSAT is a common form of connectivity in developing countries (Ghana, Ecamic project pictured)[100]

As it has grown in popularity, especially in the international development sector, ICT4D has also come under criticism.

Questions have been raised about whether projects that have been implemented at enormous cost are actually designed to be scalable, or whether these projects make enough of an impact to produce noticeable change.[101][102] For example, in Sri Lanka, journalist Nalaka Gunawardene argued that thousands of pilot projects had been seeded without regard to generalisability, scalability, and sustainability, implying that these projects will always require external funding to continue running and that their impact is limited.[103] This sentiment echoes a 2003 report by the World Bank.[7]

Further criticism of ICT4D concerns the impact of ICTs on traditional cultures and the so-called cultural imperialism which might be spread with ICTs. It is emphasised that local language content and software seem to be good ways to help soften the impact of ICTs in developing areas.[104]

Many fear of the potential of ICT to seriously widen the Digital Divide and the gap between people with access to the information economy and those without such access.[105] This issue was brought to the forefront of the international agenda and was heavily discussed in some major international political meetings such as the G8 meeting in Okinawa, Japan in July 2000.[106] Anriette Esterhuysen, an advocate for ICT4D and human rights in South Africa,[107] pointed out that some ICT4D projects often give more emphasis to how ICT can help its beneficiaries economically rather than helping them create a society where social justice and equal rights prevail. She believes that sustainable development can only be achieved if there are human rights and people can speak freely.[108]

Another point of criticism against ICT4D is that its projects are in the long term seldom environmentally friendly. Beneficiary communities are often given the responsibility to dispose of the toxic electronic scrap when an equipment breaks down beyond repair. Since transporting the equipment to a recycling facility is costly; the equipment is often disposed of improperly, thus contributing to the pollution of the environment.

More often than not, ICT programs are expected to be the solution for all socioeconomic problems. However, disorganized implementation that disregards factors such as cultural realities make ICT for development efforts ineffective.[109]

It is therefore important to pursue regionalized ICT programs first before globalization. There’s a need for ICT4D practitioners to seek out ways in which to enable programs make their impact.[110] Establishing regional and national ICT strategies that commit to action is the first step towards creating effective solutions.[109]

ICT and its Carbon Footprint

ICT is a great help in limiting the Carbon Footprint of the different sectors of the economy.[111] Unfortunately the ICT-sector itself is a significant contributor to the total carbon emission of the world's industries. Global analysts Gartner estimated last 2007 that ICTs presently account for approximately 0.86 metric gigatonnes of carbon emissions annually, or just about 2% of global carbon emissions.[112] The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has estimated the contribution of ICTs (excluding the broadcasting sector) to climate change at between 2% and 2.5% of total global carbon emissions.[113] Some studies say that the main contributing sectors to the carbon emission within the ICT industry include the energy requirements of PCs and monitors, data centers, fixed and mobile telecommunications, and the manufacturing sector. With the ever increasing demand on PCs, mobile phones and other devices, the energy needs of the sector skyrockets thus resulting in a parallel growth of carbon emissions.

A movement has been started in order to measure the energy consumption and carbon footprint of the ICT sector. The ICT Footprint ultimate objective is to establish a common methodological framework for the measurement of the energy intensity and carbon emissions arsing from the production, transport and selling processes of ICT goods, networks and services, and one which can be broadly adopted by the ICT industry. A common footprinting methodological framework will support the calculation, monitoring and reduction of ICT-related emissions globally.

While the prognosis on the ICT industry’s own future contribution to climate change is worrying, there is still the overriding positive prospect that ICTs themselves can facilitate innovations and social and economic restructuring globally to help reduce overall global carbon emissions. Already there are estimates that by the year 2020 ICT applications could help reduce global carbon emissions by 15%, which is significantly higher than the industry’s own contribution to carbon output. One of the critical challenges of our era is to balance the competing demands for more widespread use of ICTs with their energy-efficient deployment, and safer e waste disposal at the end of their useful life. We must also face the challenge of using ICTs to help other industries realise greener objectives, whether these are self-imposed or externally regulated. In these ways we could better contribute to meeting crucial human development objectives such as those embodied in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of the United Nations (UN). The technology strategies and targets emanating from governments, the UN Internet Governance Forum and other multilateral and post-World Summit on the Information Society channels should be audited and recalibrated for their implications for environmental sustainability. Even as developing countries seek investors and affordable ICT access for low-income populations, they cannot afford to do so at any cost to the environment. Significant reforms in showcasing sound public policies and incentivising good corporate citizenship should be devised, alongside tough environmental regulations in order to align the needs of private sector investors and governments with the social requirements for the more environmentally responsible use of ICTs. “We”, who are the primary users, beneficiaries and custodians of the burgeoning ICT industry, must also seek solutions on our own doorsteps.[114]

ICT and the Neoliberalization of Education

Proponents of ICT have always highlighted the benefits of technology when applied in the different sectors of society especially in education. There is a belief that using ICT will make the lives of the people better. According to Flor (n.d.), education has benefited immensely from ICT for it “offered an entire new range of possibilities to enhance teaching-learning situation.”[115] In the Philippines, pedagogic as well as social and economic benefits are cited as reasons for the government’s ICT for education policies and programs.[116] The Philippine government believes that an ICT education will prepare the youth to be able to meet the challenges and demands of the economic market once they graduate. In short, the government wants to “produce a critical mass of ICT professionals and ICT-literate manpower.”[117]

The need to supply an ICT literate workforce is anchored on the Information Age wherein the global economy’s primary commodity is now information. Labor-intensive production has become knowledge-intensive, thus, the ever growing need for information workers. Corporate businesses who need information workers thrive on ICT. They do not only own the technology, but they also exert power through it.[118] This results in a parasitic and predatory relationship between those who own the technology and their labor and consumer market. ICT, in the context of global capitalism, is therefore being used to advance private corporate interests towards what Schiller (as cited in Waller, 2007) calls a “corporate controlled information society.”[118]

This restructuring of the global economy through ICT has implications that affect us immensely, even more so with the inclusion of ICT in education. It reinforces the exploitative nature of capitalism for it allows business interests to enter into and control our educational system.

To exert its economic power in the global economy and “justify the more aggressive drive of the Transnational Corporations in the global order," capitalist-led WB and the World Trade Organization has put forth the theories of the “global village” and the globalization of market.[119] This global village, according to Lelliot et al. (as cited in Zemblyas and Vrasidas, 2005), is where “the educational and political significance and desirability of ICT” is based on. ICT therefore becomes a symbol and an aspect of globalization because globalization builds on and drives from it.[120]

Consequently, ICT as a symbol and aspect of globalization makes it a central component in the neoliberalist agenda in education of privatizing, deregulating and marketizing education and producing a surplus of skilled information workers for transnational corporations.

Neoliberalism dictates that universities and colleges must look for their own funding in order to operate. This leads to increasing private and corporate influence on schools through study and project grants and the state abandonment of the education system. In line with market capitalism, neoliberalism seeks to restructure the public orientation of education by steering it away from state control towards the private sphere. With corporate interests being allowed to gain control of schools, the capitalist-led international development assistance agencies have been actively pushing for ICT in the education system.

Furthermore, neoliberalism seeks to transform education into a commodity that can be bought at a price. This new kind of set-up, Petten explains, “stands in opposition to education as a social right” where everyone has a right to education regardless of economic status.[121] With the introduction of ICT in education, education now comes with a price tag. Thus, the democratic character of education is threatened.


Last March 27, 2010, an International Conference on ICT for Africa 2010 (ICT4A 2010) was held in Yaoundé, Cameroon. ICT4A 2010 was in part funded by the US-National Science Foundation; ICITD, Southern University; Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Buea; Atlantic Elearning; Atlantic Computing; Merlot Africa Network; Merlot; The African Society for ICT; and The ICT University.

Upon the initiative of the International Conference on ICT for Africa 2010 (ICT4A 2010)[122] with the networked partnerships of African ICT4A member institutions including Makerere University (Uganda) and University of Buea (Cameroon), International member institutions including Southern University, Baton Rouge (USA), International Center for Information Technology for Development (ICITD) Southern University (USA), and Auburn University (USA); International Organizations including Multimedia Education Resources for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT), the MERLOT Africa Network (MAN), AUF, and local ICT Green Companies, (Senegal),- convened a one day discussion/reflection sessions on the promises of eLearning and Open Education Resources (OER) to support education in Africa. The needs for raising awareness and conducting localized research to integrate OER in the science/mathematics/technology/engineering and business curriculum at the institutions was a central theme of discussions. This could serve as engine for development within the member institutions affiliated with ICT4A with a common goal to hasten the needs for meeting the Millennium Goals for Africa and the Education for All (EFA). The venue was in celebration of 2nd International Conference on ICT for Africa held in Yaoundé, Cameroon, Central Africa, March 24–28, 2010.

The Collaborative mentioned earlier, have adopted this Declaration, known as the “The 2010 Declaration of Yaoundé on OER Research and Development”. After identifying current best practices and specific features of Open Education Resources and Services and the potential for leveraging open source course management systems tools for deploying quality e-learning at the institutions, the declaration calls for an international research network focusing on the effective integration of OER in the curriculum.[123]

This statement is part of a strategy by the ICT for Africa member institutions and the Collaborative to promote knowledge development and management in the field of OER technology and Cyberlearning. The declaration identifies critical needs, in the African context, to (1) develop and validate a battery of research instruments to assess OER/e-learning readiness at the institutions; (2) identify professional development needs for integrating OER in instructional design and deliver of online courses and distance education programs at the institutions; (3) build capacity to train instructors, faculty, and teachers in the effective use of e-learning repositories and the design of localized resources; (4) encourage the development and sharing of quality electronic learning resources; (5) leverage the availability of open source software (OSS) and OER Management Systems to facilitate course and online program development; (6) Conduct and disseminate research findings and best practices through peer-reviewed publications as well as doctoral dissertations and master thesis chaired by the researchers of the Network. This Collaborative recognizes the development in the field of OER has become a worldwide phenomenon with significant developments worldwide. However, research related to the integration OER for eLearning capacity building is limited and the best practices in using current OER repositories are still ill-documented in the literature. Until now, evidence to support the positive impact of OER has been mostly anecdotal.

The Collaborative aims to facilitate international partnerships with the belief that such partnerships are indispensable in addressing many critical e-learning research questions associated with cultural diversity, social/political influences, legal issues, etiquette, geographical and learning diversity as well as digital divide issues. It is expected that such research collaboration and avenues for cross-fertilization will engender forward-looking research whose successful outcomes will provide unique contributions to the use of OER and its potential to provide eLearning capacity building in Africa.

Elements of successful ICT4D projects in Africa

These are elements that P. Clint Rogers observed in successful ICT4D projects in Africa:[124]

Ulwazi: sharing digital knowledge

Ulwazi is an example of a successful ICT4D project in Africa that is run by the eThekwini Public Library in Durban, South Africa. The project uses Web 2.0 technology to enable collaborative building of a database of indigenous knowledge from local communities in the greater Durban area.[125] In this project, English is used alongside Zulu, the local vernacular, in an attempt to preserve and disseminate local history, culture and language. The ultimate goal of the Ulwazi project is that a "sustainable people-centred, Afro-centric library service will be established using modern ICT technologies".[126] This is an example of an ICT4D project that facilitates knowledge sharing, collaboration and the preservation of cultural heritage. In their article "Content development in an indigenous digital library: A case study in community participation", Elizabeth Greyling and Sipho Zulu noted some of the benefits of the Ulwazi project to the community:[127]

ICT in Agriculture in Taiwan

In Taiwan, they have invented:[128]

Additionally, they have proposed:[132]

Global Involvement Prior To Global Remedy

ICT4D has vast roles in technical view as a remedy on climate change. One of these is the creation of the weather monitoring devices like 'EARTH SIMULATOR' which is used to advancedly see our weather conditions.

Another is the invention of sensor light that functions according to the movements read or absorbed to save energy. The invention of GPS is to know the exact location where we should go and avoid long waits on the left turn wing of the road. With these functions we avoid too much consumption of gasoline that produces C02(carbon dioxide) and saves time.

How about the causes of all these? ICT4D contributes to reach a greener and innovative technical world by means of creating programs like the one implemented in Thua Thien Hue, Vietnam which tries to reach a helpful solution because the place is prone to erosion.

International Telecommunication Union (ITU) makes everyday control of the international telecommunication efficiency and approves budgets in helping monitoring weather condition to the typhoon prone areas like in the province of Catanduanes in the Philippines. They funded a project to put up monitoring materials.

According to ICT companies can be victims, villains or heroes of climate change. Discover it by clicking the link.

ICT4D: Africa's Experience

The eLearning Africa News Portal disseminates information about rich learning opportunities in conjunction with technologies, such as computers, the Internet, mobile devices, radio and audiovisual media in Africa. It is a hub for sharing ideas and best practices in the field of Information and Communication Technology as a tool for development (ICT4D) and education (ICT4E) across Africa. The idea behind the platform is to enhance knowledge, expertise and skills while also serving as a catalyst for the vibrant multinational community of practice in this field.

The portal is structured around the annual eLearning Africa conference, the premier pan-African networking event designed to connect ICT4D and ICT4E experts from all sectors and levels throughout Africa and beyond. The conferences take place in a different country each year, travelling the African Continent. Through its conferences, web portal and news service, eLearning Africa aspires to promote ICT-enhanced learning in Africa – wherever technology tools are practicable and offer real benefits over other educational instruments. The ultimate aim is to facilitate and accelerate Education for All, the Millennium Goal of the United Nations.[133]

Different Sectors Using ICT4D


TIGA Awards

These awards recognise African governments’ effective use of ICTs for public services. One of the awards – in the category on Improved Educational Services Through the Use of ICTs – is organised jointly with the eLearning Africa Conference and Scholarship Trust. The aim of the TIGA awards is to raise awareness for the role of ICTs in public services and for the development process within the framework of the African Information Society Initiative (AISI).[134]

Use of ICT4D for Political Campaign

New communications technology and social networking are about to influence the politics of the African continent once again. This time it is Nigeria, whose leaders are rapidly coming to terms with the political significance of new forms of communication and networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, in the 2011 elections.[135] According to UN Children's Fund only 49% of Nigeria’s population was aged over 18 as of 2008 survey, making the tactics of using technology such as mobile phones combined with the internet with a very high success rate. Technology is also playing an important role in making voters aware of the elections and encouraging transparency. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has deployed 240,000 people and 132,000 data capture machines to help with registering voters in what has been described as “Africa’s single largest technology project ever.”, Nyimbi Odero, Head of Information Technology at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), quoted in The Africa Report, March 2011. And Reclaim Naija, a broad-based platform for promoting transparency, has launched a website using Ushahidi, the software developed in Kenya to monitor electoral violence.[135]


Farmerline: An app on terra firma

Working with Emmanuel Owusu Addai, a fellow student at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Alloysius Attah cofounded Farmerline, a mobile and web-based system that provides farmers and investors with information to boost productivity and increase income. Since agriculture accounts for 30% of Ghana’s GDP and over 50% of formal and informal employment, it was natural for the young team to want to channel their creative energies into developing an application for farming. “Farmers in Ghana’s rural communities struggle to get information about best practice guidelines for agriculture due to an inadequate provision of extension officers and poor transport and communication channels,” says Attah. Farmerline will hopefully bridge the information gap through its toll-free helpline that will give farmers a direct line to agricultural extension officers who will then use a web interface to send voice sms responses to a range of farmers’ questions on best-practice for farming, a nifty plan since illiteracy is very much a reality in Ghana’s rural areas. One aspect of the app has already been launched: the sms alerts. These alerts provide information on tackling pests, the optimum times for planting different crops, farming subsidies on offer, weather forecasts, local produce fairs and crop prices.[136]

Virtual farming is Bearing Fruits

How to optimally market honey, to cultivate a field or to avoid soil erosion is what small-holding farmers can learn – among many other topics – from innovative three-dimensional learning visualisations, which are now available in Zimbabwe. At eLearning Africa 2009, Justin Mupinda, Country Programme Coordinator at World Links Zimbabwe, explained how the so-called “interactive 3d learning objects” (i3dlos) tools make use of the power of virtual reality (VR) and a person’s visual strengths to “grow” the human mind. The initiators are the Naledi3D Factory, a South African company situated near Pretoria, which is a UNESCO partner, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, Eskom and regional initiatives such as World Links Zimbabwe.[137]


eWaste management needed

“When piles of unwanted electronics materials are improperly disposed of, they can leach toxins into the soil, air and groundwater which later enter into crops, animals and human body systems causing contamination and pollution,” Nyakundi says. The trash from old computers, mobile phones or refrigerators contains dangerous substances, such as lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium and barium among others. He warns that exposure to these substances can cause damage to blood and nervous systems, DNA, immune systems, kidneys, can lead to respiratory and skin disorders and lung cancer as well as interfere with regulatory hormones and brain development.[138]

RUSCEMP-Kenya was founded 14 years ago to promote ICT access in schools. But recently it created a special unit to actively work on sustainable eWaste management and recycling processes and help to get rid of the problem. It is based in Nakuru, some two hours drive west of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. The unit stresses the strategic policy of reduction, reusing and recycling of electronic waste materials in an environmentally friendly process through innovative techniques. The unwanted parts are then disposed off in a manner that does not pollute the environment or endanger lives. Their eWaste project works in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Kenya ICT Federation, Nakuru Business Association, Digital Pipeline, Rift Valley Institute of Science and Technology, KICTANET, Tracom College and Delta College in the USA.[138]


Medicine and eLearning – reaching beyond borders

In Brussels, hands wearing surgical gloves make precise and skilful incisions into an abdomen while, in Senegal, attentive participants of the “Demonstrations of Telemedicine” pre-conference workshop at eLearning Africa watch simultaneously on a big screen: The transnational videosurgery, carried out by Professor Guy-Bernard Cadière in Brussels for Senegalese medical students, was a great start to three days packed with topics concerning healthcare. The variety on offer – video conferencing on surgical matters, serious gaming for “Combating Yellow Fever“, malaria documentation, HIV treatment and much more – showed the level of quality, as well as the urgency, of innovative medical workforce training. On the African continent, where about one million physicians, nurses and midwives are lacking and basic medical services cannot be guaranteed, eLearning is seen as an indispensable means to develop human resources. At eLearning Africa, experts from all over Africa and abroad had the chance to learn more about new learning technologies and systems, technical requirements, sustainable content development and implementation strategies. Page text.[139]

WHO - Reproductive Health Library (RHL)

The RHL has over 15,000 subscribers worldwide and many more users, and the WHO distributes over 20,000 CD-ROMs annually in English and another 10,000 in Spanish in low-income countries. The first Chinese version was published in 2004.

Now in its ninth year, the WHO Reproductive Health Library (RHL) has established itself as the most important medium for the provision of life-saving facts about reproductive health and obstetrics to health care workers throughout the world. Free CD-ROMs are delivered to over 3,700 RHL subscribers in Africa annually and numerous others access the Internet version.

This highly regarded multimedia resource now contains not only the gold standard in evidence about what works and what doesn’t, but also five complete videos showing key science-based techniques in real-life settings as well as a huge range of other resources. The topics covered are Pregnancy and Childbirth, Neonatal disorders, RTDs/STDs, HIV/AIDS, Fertility Regulation, Gynaecological cancer, Infertility, Gynaecology and Organization and Delivery of Care.[140]


ICT buses delivering the Internet to rural Rwanda

A pioneering mobile ICT project launched in Rwanda barely two years ago is changing lives in the central African nation, now striving to become a leading ICT hub. Rwanda has made an almost miraculous recovery from the genocide of 1994 that claimed at least 800,000 lives and left millions displaced. The World Bank is funding a fleet of special ICT buses. The ICT Bus Project run by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is using a fleet of buses assembled in Kenya to bring Internet technology to the people of the countryside in Rwanda. The buses act as mobile telecentres for the rural citizens to access ICT services, such as Internet and other modern communication platforms. They also provide additional services ranging from printing, scanning and photocopying documents to offering basic ICT training. They are fitted with a mobile computer lab for travelling commuters. The buses are fitted with electric power generators. Since the first buses arrived in Rwanda in 2009, 1,500 people, including many small farmers, local entrepreneurs, police officers, students and women traders have used their revolutionary facilities. Page text.[141]

Women & ICT

Business training for women by women using ICTs

Radio penetration is relatively high in Cameroon. With about eighty percent of the households having a radio, it is the most common communication technology in the east African country. Compared to computer penetration – which is quite low – radio can provide excellent educational opportunities. Protege QV, a Cameroonian organisation working for the betterment of the community through information sharing, trainings, and research, has developed radio-based training for women entrepreneurs to support them in setting up small businesses. Sylvie Siyam and Avis Momeni from PROTEGE QV, have sent us a report on a project they have recently carried out in Upper Nkam in Cameroon.

The following topics were addressed:

  1. How to choose a business and how to start,
  2. Sources of funds for small business at the local and national level,
  3. Business management,
  4. Where to find production equipment,
  5. Opportunities for trainings in production techniques,
  6. The marketing of products,
  7. The taxation system related to small business and how to deal with taxation departments,
  8. The improvement of agricultural and animal production.

During these six months and within a programme entitled “Women and the Pride of their Being”, twelve radio programmes were recorded with the support of PROTEGE QV and broadcast on Saturdays, from 6.30 – 7.00 pm on Radio Fotouni. The following subjects were dealt with:

  1. The role of women’s micro-enterprises in rural development
  2. How to choose a business,
  3. Studying the market,
  4. The pricing of products,
  5. Managing a business I and II (finances, administration, etc..),
  6. The improvement of agricultural production,
  7. The improvement of animal production,
  8. The taxation applicable to small business,
  9. financing small business

To distribute information from PROTEGE QV to the communicators or among them, SMSs are now used, and the women involved greatly appreciate the difference in costs. The network that was created ensures the sustainability in the reinforcement of the capacities of women in small businesses. They are now able to communicate with each other, share best practices, and help each other. PROTEGE QV will continue to support the network through knowledge sharing, some material, and regular refreshing courses.[142]


More Africans learn by mobile phone

The eLearning Africa 2011 conference highlighted the worldwide phenomenon of distance learning by mobile phone. There are more than 500 million mobile phone subscribers in Africa now, up from 246 million in 2008, according to industry estimates. Gerald Henzinger, a lecturer at the Catholic University of Mozambique, said students are rushing to use mobile phone learning. “The only challenge is that logistics do not match the exponential growth of students’ demand.“

“Mobile learning at our Distance Learning Center (CED) focuses on SMS. Our students often are school teachers in very remote areas who have restricted or no access to electricity and the Internet. We use bulk SMS – short messages that can be sent to many students at the same time – as well as interactive SMS services. These help students communicate with our staff about the subject matter or on administrative issues.”

Dr Niall Winters of the London Knowledge Laboratory said the development of mobile phone learning in Africa is being encouraged by a huge demand for distance education.[143]

ICTs are empowering street children in Kenya

A pioneering project aimed at training ICT skills is transforming the lives of children who live in the streets of Eldoret, an agriculturally rich town in Kenya’s lush Rift Valley region. Led by SNV, a Dutch development agency, in collaboration with the “Ex-Street Children Community Organisation” (ECCO), a group of formerly homeless young people, the initiative provides street children with basic computer skills, thereby enabling them to take part in society and giving them a voice. With help from SNV, ECCO has developed an eLearning programme here that provides street children with a platform that not only enables them to share ideas with each other but also to communicate with rest of the society. Using ten computers, mostly donated by well-wishers, the organisation has come up with ‘drop in’ centres where street children from the town gather to become familiar with ICT skills ranging from the basics of working on a computer to how to send e-mails. Realising the huge potential that Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) offered to the world’s poor and underprivileged, SNV entered into a contract with the ECCO and provided them with training on basic skills in computers.[144]

Programs for ICT4D

SIRCA Programme for ICTD Researchers in Asia Pacific Region

Strengthening Capacity Research in Asia (SIRCA) is a pioneer capacity-building programme that intends to develop social science research skills of emerging researchers in Asia Pacific Region in the information and communication technologies for development (ICTD) space by supporting research that was scientific, replicable, generalisable, collaborative, and actionable (i.e. applied research).[1] It is conceptualized by the Singapore Internet Research Centre (SiRC) and the InternationalDevelopment Research Centre (IDRC) and was initiated in August 2008.[1]

SIRCA has the following objectives:

  1. Promote high-quality inter-disciplinary social science research in Internet development, e-services, new media use and social impact, and policy for the benefit and advancement of individuals, organisations, nation and society;
  2. Support networks and linkages among researchers through a mentorship programme, as well as workshops and conferences to share knowledge and conduct training activities; and
  3. Disseminate the research findings through such venues as academic journals, conferences and other relevant online and print media outlets.

The SIRCA Programme facilitated 15 research projects (12 grant recipients, and three graduate student awardees) of emerging ICTD from eight Asian countries from 2008 to 2011. The topics covered on these studies address key development goals in agriculture, education, health, migration, livelihoods, and disaster-preparedness for the benefit and advancement of individuals, organizations, nations, and societies in Asia.[1]

Organization that Support ICT4D Programmes

ICT for Greater Development Impact

[145] The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programs. It is not a bank in an ordinary sense but a unique partnership to reduce global poverty and sustained development which also focus on achieving the Millennium Development Goals. It is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. It supports sector reforms through technical assistance and lending operation.

[146] The World Bank has identified the following to be the three priority areas:

  1. Innovation
  2. Connectivity
  3. Transformation

World Bank has the following Strategies for the key areas that they are working:

  1. Thematic and Sector Strategies, which guide their works to reduce poverty in a specific sector or aspect of development.
  2. Country assistance strategies, which identify the key areas in which they can best support a country in reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development.


Funding ICT4D 2.0

In Professor Richard Heeks’ Paper No. 42, The ICT4D 2.0 Manifesto: Where Next for ICTs and International Development?, he cited that ICT4D 1.0 was driven by money from a relatively small number of international development agencies. ICT4D 2.0 looks set to be funded by a much more eclectic range of sources:

Heeks explains that this is vital in a broader sense because of the large sums being spent, stating that the development agencies like the World Bank, the US Agency for International Development, Japan's International Cooperation Agency, etc. spend at least US$2bn per year on ICTs for developing countries.

Events Supporting ICT4D Initiatives

Charging mobile phone from car battery in Uganda

2000 Okinawa Summit of G8 Nations

ICT4D was first conceptualized during the 2000 Okinawa Summit of G8 Nations with the social promise of poverty alleviation.[1] ICT was defined by the summit of nations as "one of the most potent forces in shaping the twenty-first century"[151] making it a powerful tool in poverty reduction. The G8 Kyushu Okinawa Summit was held in July 21 to 23, 2000 in Nago, City, Okinawa [21] with three paramount themes: 1.) international cooperation aimed at enabling all people in the world to enjoy prosperity, 2.) achieve deeper peace of mind, and 3.) live in a more stable world.

One of its fundamental goals is to attain a “globalization for all people” by bridging the widening gap between developed and developing nations, dealing with detrimental aspects of economic globalization and promoting cooperation for development in developing nations.

World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)

A major event for ICT4D was the twin World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS); the lead organisation was the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The first part of WSIS took place in Geneva, Switzerland in December 2003 (with a large ICT4D exhibition and an ICT4D symposium co-ordinated by infoDev). The second part took place in Tunis, Tunisia, in November 2005. One of the chief aims of the WSIS process was to seek solutions to help bridge the so-called "digital divide" separating rich countries from poor countries by spreading access to the Internet in the developing world.

Perspectives on the WSIS are available elsewhere on Wikipedia, and this covers links to civil society, Tunis 2005, US priorities at WSIS, media responses, Tunis conference developments, roles for business and government, digital divide issues, the digital divide and the digital dilemma, common ground, a civil society study on WSIS, and external links.

World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Stocktaking

WSIS Stocktaking is a publicly accessible database of ICT-related implementation activities, initiated during the Tunis phase of WSIS. WSIS Stocktaking Database has become an effective tool for the exchange of information on the projects in relation to the implementation of the 11 Action Lines. Many of entries reflect more than one flagship initiative and project carried out by the WSIS stakeholders. ECOSOC Resolution 2010/2 on “Assessment of the progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society” reiterated the importance of maintaining a process for coordinating the multi-stakeholder implementation of WSIS outcomes through effective tools, with the goal of exchanging of information among WSIS Action Line Facilitators; identification of issues that need improvements; and discussion of the modalities of reporting the overall implementation process. The resolution encourages all WSIS stakeholders to continue to contribute information to the WSIS Stocktaking database (


A yearly gathering of delegates from different sectors of society to make known the innovations of IT initiatives and foster creative collaborations to form new ideas. The event is not exclusive as it acquires students, academics, innovators, government and IT novices to join in to help address pressing issues in our digital age.

CRS ICT4D Conference

The Catholic Relief Services (CRS), organized conference for ICT4D that focuses in Agriculture. It started last 2010 in Kenya, then USA and Zambia last 2011. This event allows them to explore how information and communications technology can be utilize for development. They have been partnering with NGO's, Government and the Private sector to identify the challenges and issues in utilizing ICT for development. CRS Staff worked hand on hand with participants in taking the steps and implement the ICT4D Strategies and learned how specific solutions are being used in their advantage.[152]

See also

ICT4D (Information and Communications Technologies for Development) is an initiative aimed at bridging the digital divide (the disparity between technological "have" and "have not" geographic locations or demographic groups) and aiding economic development by ensuring equitable access to up-to-date communications technologies. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) include any communication device—encompassing radio, television, cellular phones, computer and network hardware and software, satellite systems and so on, as well as the various services and applications associated with them, such as videoconferencing and distance learning.


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see also

see also

Arul Chib • Roger Harris, Linking Research to Practice, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2012

Further reading

Wireless Networking in the Developing World (PDF book)

External links