Summary of ICTs and the MDGs: On the Wrong Track?

The overall point of Richard Heeks’ article is to question the context of the Millennium Development Goals as the priority application for ICTs. He believes this is a flawed strategy for several reasons:

  1. The MDGs are not logical. They virtually attempt to solve a good proportion of the injustices of the world by 2015, an endeavor that is surely honorable but not rational.
  2. The MDGs are prone to all the same criticisms we now condone the neo-liberalist agenda for. They are hegemonic, imposed by the global north, lack the ability for countries to establish their own agendas etc.
  3. The MDGS function through the notion of “do as I say” not “as I do.” They hope for development to be clean and honorable, environmentally friendly and socially egalitarian. Though the mindset behind this is great — it is not fully realistic.
  4. ICT through the MDGs has been concentrated on computers and the Internet, leaving more efficient, effective, and cheaper means such as the radio and mobile phones by the wayside.
  5. The MDGs virtually ignore the fact that development gains from investing in ICT production are greater than investment in ICT consumption.

After laying out this wide array of problems surrounding the ICT /MDGs approach, he discusses how we could better invest in ICT projects.

  1. Transform the MDG hegemony into an agenda based more on economic growth and less on the micro-scale.
  2. Disperse ICT through those who adequately plan and manage behind the scenes — not the politicians and agencies who immediately grab media attention.
  3. Concentrate on ICTs that we already know work. For example though the flashy alternative of computers is tempting, stick to mobile phones because they have proved themselves.

2 responses to “Summary of ICTs and the MDGs: On the Wrong Track?

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