Can Indices Potentially Hurt ICT4D Initiatives?

Many ICT4D initiatives have yet to scale or prove to be sustainable post implementation. Chapter five of Unwin’s textbook emphasizes that in order for ICT4D initiatives to actually have a chance at producing a lasting benefit, it is essential to lay a solid foundation of effective national ICT policies and strategies. He highlights the need for these policies and strategies in that the market alone will not allow ICTs to reach the poor and confidence must be given to the private sector to ensure their investments are safe and will produce a profit.

However, after all our class discussions covering indices and their importance in terms of measuring ICTs for development, I thought it was particularly interesting when he points out how indices can potentially hurt ICT4D initiatives. He explains that excessive attention to the indices may lead governments to dump large sums of money into programs solely attempting to feature their country higher up in the indices rankings/ratings which can ultimately divert attention from implementation of initiatives at the ground level. Moreover, governments become more considered with the numbers placed on their status rather than focusing on funding efficacious ICT4D practices.

indices measuring ICTs

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