I recently found Donna Vaughan’s article ICT4D – Linking Policy to Community Outcomes . The article suggests moving from the macroeconomic approach of current ICT4D policies design to a more community based one. While the concept never appears in the text, what the author is actually demanding is a little bit of endogenous development stress in the Information and Communication Technologies for Development policies. She puts it this way:
We should move from this framework:
To this one:
While I mostly agree with her, and community, social capital and sustainability should be a must in every policy design, I understand she’s talking to change one model for the other, to shift from the current model to the alternative one. Well, this is where I disagree.
I fully believe that capacitation (i.e. digital literacy) and everything related to content and services should be community driven. Indeed, these two aspects should lead the whole ICT4D policy and projects. The question is that:
- Concerning ICT Infrastructures (hard, soft and connectivity) there’s so huge economy scales that endogenous development would very likely appear as inefficient
- Regarding regulation and the legal framework I believe that things will happen easier if the norm comes before that if the community has to pull the legal framework for a change
In between, the need of a strong (or sufficiently developed) ICT sector, which comes in between the ICT infrastructures policy and the regulation changes.
Thus, my oppinion is that regarding capacitation and uses, endogenous development is the option. For all the rest, the current approach is quite a good second best, provided is driven by capacity and uses, not per se, which is the key.
Don’t forget to have a look at the article’s bibliography: a very good choice.
If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:
Peña-López, I. (2006) “ICT4D – Linking Policy to Community Outcomes” In ICTlogy,
#35, August 2006. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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