When summarizing the most specific lesson I can take away from this class this semester, it is without a doubt the implications of the Digital Divide. From the first introduction of the concept, I found literature framing the topic in a way I had no previously considered; the Digital Divide was and is more than groups being left out of the latest technological trends (as I had always understood it), but also the story of groups being left behind of the global economy in general. In other words, this was not just a social exclusion, or consumerism exclusion, but an economic exclusion at a very fundamental level.
I find the use of ICTs in combatting this tragedy as something that I will take with me into the future. In all areas of international development, it is important to frame projects in a way that promotes equality to all. For ICT4D, combatting the Digital Divide is a way to achieve greater equality across multiple areas. I will take to heart the success stories, from fishermen in India using SMS to improve market efficiencies to everyday citizens benefiting from mobile banking using MPESA in Kenya. The Digital Divide is all around us, but the ICT technologies we have today can help us leapfrog these challenges in smart, dignifying ways. This is the ultimate lesson I will take with me into a future with international development.
I am interested to see if in the future we can focus more on the political economy of ICT4D, or the implication of other fields in general. In other words, if we are highlighting business, banking, and industry over all throughout the semester, can we bring in tools from other disciplines for one day and understand how they measure success and if there is a connection with what ICT4D interventions achieve in developing countries. In other words, can there be a day to take a multidisciplinary approach to some of the achievements of ICT4D discussed throughout the semester? These are things I would like to have considered for future semesters.