To reach its full potential, the ICT for Development (ICT4D) community in Africa needs to address these three areas of challenge in the short-to-medium term:
- Executing Best Practice
Technology races ahead at a breathtaking pace, but behavior change chugs along in a much lower gear. Technology is the easy bit. People (and their habits and expectations) are more difficult to manage. Thanks to rampant innovation in the commercial sector, the ICT4D community has even more toys to play with than it did years ago. However, so much of what it debates – and practices – remain the same year after year. Let’s match best practice against projects and let’s ensure they become an intrinsic part of the development process rather than simple sound bites and tweets.
- Keeping The Tech Real
New technologies lead to hype, which in turn leads to new conversations and new big ideas. It is unfortunate that attention spans seem to decrease as rates of innovation increase, and it’s easy to be distracted from the technological reality for much of the planet in the age of the ultra-smartphone and iPad. The ICT4D community needs to keep its technology choices firmly rooted in what’s appropriate for their users, not what’s newly available in their local store.
- Mainstreaming ICT4D
Finally, ICT4D and Mobiles for Development (M4D) need to go mainstream within the varying sectors of development. Today, we have a crazy situation where each seems to be divided into two camps – the people who are deploying or figuring how to deploy mobile technologies, and those who aren’t. no one knows what the next couple of years have in store, let alone the five or ten. Much depends on us. Quite rightly, we will ultimately be judged on what we do, not what we say, tweet write or predict. Looking into the future, how favourably will 6the students and academics of tomorrow reflect on our efforts – a wasted and unnecessarily delayed opportunity?
That’s up to us to decide
Excerpts from #ICT4DAfrica – Reflections on Mobile Technology Development in Africa
Read full article from CSRFiles Journal Volume 4 Issue 2, 2014: ICT4DAfrica