This report by Professor Clement Dzidonu, commissioned by the Division for Public Administration and Development Management of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, explores how information and communication technology can be used to help reach the Millennium Development Goals, focusing specifically on Africa.
The first several pages are spent discussing the role of ICTs in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. As the report states, “There is now a consensus that in what is increasingly becoming a highly competitive information-driven world economy, development without ICTs is not possible.” The report graphically demonstrates the way that ICTs can impact development in eight major sectors: the public, agricultural, service, industrial, research & development, education, health, and private sectors.
Interestingly, the report mentions that ICTs can facilitate the development process not only in developing countries, but also in more developed countries, a point that is sometimes overlooked. It also states that technology is not a goal in and of itself; instead, it can be used as an “enabler of development goals.” The report then describes ten areas where the introduction of ICTs has had a major impact on development, ranging from good governance to more productive agriculture.
Finally, the report delves into the specific case of the African continent, examining country case studies and how ICTs might help to meet the MDGs in African nations. The report includes not only examples of programs and strategies, but also the very important “lessons learned” that will help future practitioners gain insight into the successes, failures, and potential replicability of these programs. These case studies and strategies are useful not only to African nations; they might also provide clues as to how ICTs can be implemented in other regions of the world where the MDGs have yet to be met.