Practical Insights on Economic Development for ICT4D Projects

ICT economic development

Economic Development in Africa

Since the early 2000s, the sub-Saharan African region experienced a profound economic transformation. The drivers of the region’s economic development are diverse, and include:

  • Improved governance and policy reforms in many countries.
  • Strong agricultural employment and profitable off-farm activities.
  • Increased local and foreign direct investment.
  • High global commodity prices.
  • Widespread new technology innovation and adoption.

ICT Impact on Economic Development

Information and communication technology (ICT) investments are creating structural changes across the continent.

Many African economies are reorganizing around technology innovations and global information availability. This increases trade, capital flows, and economic development. ICT4D, artificial intelligence, geographic information systems, and other advanced technologies continue to rapidly transform the nature of work.

ICT programs to improve economic outcomes are often very dynamic, evolving through several stages of maturity during which the monitoring and evaluation needs of the intervention also change rapidly. These ICT4D program intervention stages include:

  • Exploring the identified needs of constituents
  • Developing the technical functionality and feasibility
  • Deploying the technology solution with stakeholders
  • Assessing user satisfaction with the deployed technology
  • Evaluating the intervention’s effectiveness and attributable impact
  • Calculating the key stakeholders’ “value for money”.

COVID-19 Economic Development Impact

COVID-19 is expected to cause massive economic disruption, exacerbating the effects of technological transformations.

Low-skilled, informal, and migrant workers are most at risk of being displaced through the looming coronavirus recession and the technological transformations of work. Yet with COVID-19 digital response, these transformations can present opportunities for new businesses and jobs.

  • Small and new businesses can weather economic shocks, prosper, and create good jobs through access to capital, networks, and technology.
  • Support workers can advocate for and access living wages, social safety nets, and financial security in order to prepare for, withstand, and recover from economic shocks.
  • Workers can obtain technological and digital literacy as well as the durable skills needed to stay apace with the changing job market and economic downturns.

ICT4D Economic Development Programs

There are many examples of ICT4D economic development programs increasing jobs and wealth in developing countries. Here are examples of digital solutions to Africa countries’ economic problems from international development and humanitarian relief organizations.

The Pros and Cons of Employment Automation and Digitization – Your Weekend Long Reads

The Pros and Cons of Employment Automation and Digitization – Your Weekend Long Reads

Published on: May 19 2018 by Steve Vosloo - 2 Comments
Digitization will have profound effects on the world of work. According to McKinsey, while technology will lift productivity and economic growth, up to 375 million...
Wow! Mobile Money Transactions Are Now Larger Than Kenya’s GDP

Wow! Mobile Money Transactions Are Now Larger Than Kenya’s GDP

Published on: May 16 2018 by Wayan Vota - 1 Comment
For years, we’ve heard how the value of M-PESA mobile money transactions are a rising percentage of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product. In 2010 we reported...
Three Future Scenarios for Digital Identities in Developing Countries

Three Future Scenarios for Digital Identities in Developing Countries

Published on: Apr 19 2018 by Guest Writer - Comments Off on Three Future Scenarios for Digital Identities in Developing Countries
Many development organizations currently think of digital identities as an instrumental approach in development – a siloed means to solve a specific problem...
How Mobile Applications are Documenting Property Rights in Zambia

How Mobile Applications are Documenting Property Rights in Zambia

Published on: Sep 18 2017 by Guest Writer - 1 Comment
There is a silent race running through developing countries around the world – a race for access to land and the knowledge of whom the land belongs. The race...
Introducing WEST Principles: 8 Guidelines for Worker Engagement Interventions

Introducing WEST Principles: 8 Guidelines for Worker Engagement Interventions

Published on: Sep 04 2017 by Wayan Vota - 1 Comment
Over the last 6 years, the emergence of new worker engagement technologies has sparked industry wide discussions about the value of connecting with workers in a...
5 Barriers to Mobile Financial Services in Bangladesh

5 Barriers to Mobile Financial Services in Bangladesh

Published on: Aug 28 2017 by Wayan Vota - Comments Off on 5 Barriers to Mobile Financial Services in Bangladesh
Since the launch of Mobile Financial Services in Bangladesh in 2011, significant growth has been observed across
all metrics, from account use to transaction...
Please RSVP Now: USAID Digital Development Forum Central America

Please RSVP Now: USAID Digital Development Forum Central America

Published on: Apr 28 2016 by Wayan Vota - Comments Off on Please RSVP Now: USAID Digital Development Forum Central America
June 23-24 – San Salvador – RSVP Now Over the past decade, mobile Internet access has rapidly expanded across Central America to cover nearly 90% of...
What Are Dell, Micromax Informatics, and Others Doing in ICT4D?

What Are Dell, Micromax Informatics, and Others Doing in ICT4D?

Published on: Nov 04 2015 by Guest Writer - Comments Off on What Are Dell, Micromax Informatics, and Others Doing in ICT4D?
While the rapid development of information and other technologies has brought the world closer together, it has also contributed to highlighting some of the glaring...
Entrepreneurship is a Learning Process Not an App Contest

Entrepreneurship is a Learning Process Not an App Contest

Published on: Aug 14 2015 by Guest Writer - 4 Comments
Every couple of months, a new mobile app contest pops up, promising young people the resources, mentorship, and network to create a software product that will transform...
Is ICT4D Dooming Poor People to Greater Income Inequality?

Is ICT4D Dooming Poor People to Greater Income Inequality?

Published on: Jul 15 2015 by Wayan Vota - 6 Comments
I firmly believe in Kentaro Toyama’s maxim that technology magnifies human intent (read his book Geek Heresy?), and since I am an optimist, I therefore believe...