Unfolding ICT4D: Part-I (Buzzwords)

While reading through literature, I found many fascinating, puzzling, and some meaningful technical buzzwords to symbolize ICT4D notion. The buzzwords are i4D, ICT&D, k4D, km4D, IT4D, ICTD, ISDC, and ICT4D. Whatever the abbreviation and acronym stands for, the bottom line message is to deploy information and communication technology for national development. Development here refers to change in quality of life, empowerment, basic capability equality, poverty reduction. In sum, achieving millennium development goal for the four billion poor people who are living at the bottom of the pyramid. Well, this is not the pyramid of Egypt, but the pyramid where the four billion poor are laddered.
According to academia, ICT4D is an interplay among ‘information’, ’communication’, and ‘technology’ - these meant for national development. Internet took all the credit to popularize this ICT4D term, though we should not read ICT as a synonym of the internet. Information and communication technology (ICT) is defined in many ways, such as TV, Radio, Mobile Phones, Internet and other digitally stored information. Likewise, Information and communication technology – ICT in short, precursor of IT – includes technologies like radio, internet, television, mobile phones, wi-fi, wi-Max, and there will be many more in coming future. ICT was initially conceptualized as an instrumental to national development. However, there is no direct relation between technology diffusion and development process. Numerous factors, such as social, political, human, environmental, and economical are equally important for the overall development process. Nevertheless, we cannot ignore its pervasiveness. It is critically important to engage all relevant stakeholders in the effective delivery of technology in socioeconomic development process.

Prominent scholars in ICT4D research area - suggested seven interconnected principles for the success of ICT4D projects: projects should be based upon clearly identified and relevant development needs of specific user groups, they require charismatic leaders and champions who are able to bring together the many different stakeholders involved, they require the establishment of trust between the different stakeholders, they need to focus from the start on the sustainability of the initiative beyond any initial input of resources, they should be founded on a transparent ethical framework that openly acknowledges the contributions and expectations of the various partners involved, significant effort should be put into sustaining the partnership and its constituent networks, and they should have mechanisms in place whereby the needs of users can effectively be matched by the contributions that the different partners can offer.


Heeks, R. (2008). ICT4D 2. 0 : the next phase of applying ICT for International Development. Computer ( Formerly : Computer Group News ), 41(6), 26-33.
Unwin, T. (2009). ICT4D: Information and Communication Technologies for Development: ICT4D: Information and Communication Technologies for Development.

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