IMPACT OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) FOR AS A TOOL FOR SOCIETAL DEVELOPMENT

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IMPACT OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) FOR AS A TOOL FOR SOCIETAL DEVELOPMENT

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

ICT is defined as a broad subject concerned with technology and other aspects of managing and processing information and that it deals with the use of electronic computers and computer software to convert, store, protect, process, transmit, and retrieve information. The term Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) was coined to reflect the seamless convergence of digital processing and telecommunications.

Information and communication technologies for societal development (ICT4SD) refers to the application of information and communication technologies (ICT) toward social, economic, and political development, with a particular emphasis on helping poor and marginalized people and communities. It aims to help in international development by bridging the digital divide and providing equitable access to technologies. ICT4SD is grounded in the notions of “development”, “growth”, “progress” and “globalization” and is often interpreted as the use of technology to deliver a greater good.

ICT4D grew out of the attempts to use emerging computing technologies to improve conditions in the developing countries. It formalized through a series of reports, conferences, and funding initiatives that acted as key policy-making avenues. The 1998 World Development Report from the World Bank, highlighting the role of knowledge and ICTs in development; a report from the G8 Digital Opportunities Task Force, concluding that ICTs play a key role in modern human development. At least three phases can be identified in ICT4SD evolution:

ICT4SD 0.0: mid-1950s to late-1990s. The focus of this earliest phase was on the use of IT (not ICT) in government and private sector organisations in developing countries. One of the earliest computers used in a developing country was a Hollerith Electronic Computer(HEC)machine installed in 1956 to undertake numerical calculations in the Indian Institute of Statistics in Kolkata.

ICT4SD 1.0: late-1990s to late-2000s. The advent of the Millennium Development Goals combined with the rise and spread of the Internet in industrialised countries led to a rapid increase in investments in ICT infrastructure and projects in developing countries. The most typical application was the telecentre, used to bring information on development issues such as health, education, and agricultural extension, into poor communities. Later, telecentres were also used to deliver government services.

ICT4SD 2.0: late-2000s onwards. There is no clear boundary between phases 1.0 and 2.0. The focus in the phase 2.0 increasingly shifts toward technologies in use, such as the mobile phone and SMS technologies. There is less concern with e-readiness and more interest in the impact of ICTs on development. Additionally, there is more focus on the poor as producers and innovators with ICTs (as opposed to being consumers of ICT-based information). ICT4SD 2.0 is about reframing the poor. Where ICT4SD 1.0 marginalised them, allowing a supply-driven focus, ICT4SD 2.0 centralises them, creating a demand-driven focus. Where ICT4SD 1.0 – fortified by the “bottom of the pyramid” concept – characterised them largely as passive consumers, ICT4SD 2.0 sees the poor as active producers and active innovators.

As information and communication technologies evolve, so does ICT4SD, more recently it has been suggested that big data can be used as an important ICT tool for development and that it represents a natural evolution of the ICT4SD paradigm.

According to Carlota Perez(2002): “this quantum jump in productivity can be seen as a technological revolution, which is made possible by the appearance in the general cost structure of a particular input that we could call the ‘key factor’, fulfilling the following conditions:

IMPACT OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) FOR AS A TOOL FOR SOCIETAL DEVELOPMENT

IMPACT OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) FOR AS A TOOL FOR SOCIETAL DEVELOPMENT