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They say ICT4D helps; we say too

The saga of the dot-com bust would have been enough to kill the initial frenzy of Information and Communication Technologies aka ICT, but for the fact that someone somewhere along the line most intelligently raised the concept of ICT to ICT4D (Information and Communications Technologies for Development). Supported even by profit seeking entities, ICT4D allowed a considerable part of Africa, parts of Asia, Latin America, and other developing & underdeveloped nations to leapfrog over many developed nations and their prevailing, slow and archaic infrastructure with a focus on social and economic development.

If Singapore was a developed nation revamping its administration using ICT4D to an extent where public participation in government touched new heights, India was a developing nation where a cigarette major initiated an iconic concept educating villagers how to retail their produce through the Internet; they call the forums e-Choupals. The All China Women’s Federation used ICT4D to help rural women get access to updated health information online and to provide them secret counselling on rape and abuse. Cuba is practicing online health initiatives while Egypt is using ICT4D to encourage rural education. In countries like China with a massive rural population, newspapers are using ICT4D to go on-line and reach larger sections.

There are macro advantages too. Going by official reports, Egypt’s overall economy grew by 4.7%, pumped up by investments in ICT4D, which experienced a 14.6% growth. The computer and semi-conductor industry supporting ICT4D today forms the back-bone of economies like China, Taiwan and a few other Asian economies. Many developed nations are relying on continuous development in third world countries like India and China for their own future growth. And that is possible only if the purchasing powers of the disadvantaged billions living in these countries (more in India) is increased. If that needs to be double quick, then ICT4D is a social re-engineering process we cannot ignore.

By:- Sray Agarwal

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