In ‘An Overview on the Impact of ICT’s on Socio-Economic Development, Millennium Development Goals, and Society,’ Sam Kundishora gives his perspectives on how ICT’s can help facilitate holistic development. Kundishora, the Secretary of ICT’s for Zimbabwe, cites connectedness as the main asset of ICT’s in approaching the Millennium Development Goals.
Kundishora begins by providing ICT statistics for developing countries over an extended period of time. Notable data provided were that 91% of urban-dwelling Sub-Saharan Africans now live within range of mobile networks, and that access to netcoms and telecoms in Africa have increased exponentially since the early 2000’s. When employing a sheerly number-based analysis, it is difficult to contextualize these changes and the impact which they have on both domestic and regional development. However, the increased transparency facilitated by ICT’s impacts virtually every aspect of development, through the dispersion of knowledge across social, political, and economic lines. Kundishora proceeds by placing ICT’s within the context of every Millennium Development Goal. For example, ICT’s contribute to hunger and poverty alleviation by increasing firm productivity and creating new sectors for employment. Consequently, the increased incomes generated in a digitized society allow for investment in other areas of development, such as health care and education. Personally, I believe that the impact of ICT’s on economic activity is the necessary catalyst for holistic development. However, as displayed in the Human Development Index (HDI), education, economic activity, and health care are all interconnected, so an improvement in one of these fields has vast potential for holistic change.
I believe that Kundishora provides a convincing argument for ICT’s as a means of accomplishing, or at least approaching, the Millennium Development Goals. Richard Heeks is justified in identifying the Western-centric and imposing aspects of the Millennium Development Goals in his article ‘ICTs and MDGs: On the Wrong Track?‘ I can agree that, from the perspective of developing nations, the MDGs propose benchmarks and methodology never before required of countries in development. However, the developing world must be integrated into the global digital framework in order to situate themselves in a modern context. This digitization would grant these countries a voice, as well as initiate unprecedented firm productivity and overall transparency.
I’m with Kundishora: ICTs are vital in accomplishing each Millennium Development Goal. Modern technologies are versatile enough to be situated within the cultural context of their respective users, and the connectedness resulting from their usage only further encourages interaction between the ‘have’s and ‘have not’s of our world.