I came into this semester with very little knowledge about the Information and Communication Technology for Development field. None of my previous International Development classes had such a focus on technology, despite the huge impact it can have in developing communities. Though I am not a very technologically inclined person, nor do I see myself pursuing a career that deals much with technology, this class taught me a lot of basic yet essential information about ICT4D implementation and usage.
One thing I learned this semester that will be helpful in my future as a development professional is the ability to measure a country’s technological capacity based on various standards and rankings. It is extremely important to ICT innovation for the target country to have a suitable technological environment in order for the project to be successful. If the country does not have the capacity to support an ICT project, the project will fail and it will be a waste of time and resources. As we have learned, many development project fail for a number of different reasons. It is important to make more efficient projects in order to make more progress in the development field. The numerous standards and benchmarks available to measure technological capacity and readiness of a country will be helpful resources in the future when I am creating development projects.
We looked at a number of examples of technological rankings in class. We looked at the 2010 Economist Intelligence Unit Digital Economy Rankings, 2012 World Economic Forum Global Information Technology Report, and the 2012 WSIS National E-Strategies for Development. These reports give information about the dimensions of a country’s technology sector and e-readiness in order to help assess its ability to sustain various technological projects. These standards and rankings could be instrumental in the development of the ICT4D field and the progress that can be made in developing countries.
Given the recent growth of the ICT4D field and how important it is becoming in the larger development field, these standards could be useful to me whether I think I am going into technology development or not. As a development professional you cannot ignore the importance of technology and the potential it holds in the development of marginalized communities. I am happy to have taken this class and learned about the ICT4D field and just how extensive and important is it for development.