ICTD2010 (XX). Donor Voices

Notes from the Information and Communication Technolgies and Development — ICTD2010, held at the Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, UK, on December 13-16, 2010. More notes on this event: ictd2010.

Closing Panel: Donor Voices
Chairs: Tim Unwin

Patrick Kalas, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation

SCD is moving out of ICT4D strictly speaking: there is a need to focus on the ‘D’.

We have to speak to the specialist and the non-specialist, to stress on diffusing the word of what we are doing, how and why.

Let us not focus only in one technoogy (e.g. mobiles) and dismiss other technologies that have proven to be valuable: community radio, etc.

We have to put more effort on impact research.

Christine Qiang, The World Bank

Mobile networks are transformative in many ways: reaching population, intensifying relationships, etc. Mobile applications have a strong leapfrogging nature.

ICT as a general purpose technology, is both a blessing and a curse. It empowers people, but also poses a major challenge in terms of capability. We must not invest in bubbles of expectations: evaluation should be always in everyone’s mind.

We need to be realistic on what technologies can or cannot achieve. There are issues of complementary infrastructure, human capacity, etc.

Please see the World Bank ICT Strategy open for public consultation.

Pierre Lucante, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Importance of digital capabilities.

We have to mainstream ICT in other disciplines.

Laurent Elder, IDRC-CRDI

There is many people working in ICTs and development, despite they do not calling it ICT4D (or ICTD). on the other hand.

It is important that practitioners and researchers/academics come together and work side by side. Everything should be rooted in development theory.

Under resource constraints, will you choose sustainability over scalability? How do we measure impact? How should we better assess projects and their impact? These are very difficult questions. And, somewhat, they should not put that much pressure upon projects and/or the people and institutions behind them.

Don’t be critical, don’t be cynical: try to make a difference. It is much more easy to criticise and destroy than to act and build.


Q: What is the role of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in development? Lucante: it is important, but it would be desirable to be involved in a broader way that just CSR. Kalas: CSR is not the way to establish private-public partnerships, as it is a too narrow way of collaboration. Partnerships are also about sharing risks

Q: how do we encourage research in developing countries? Qiang: investing in local application or technology development (e.g. mobiles) is a way to encourage local researchers to be able to participate in topics that are of their total concern. Elder: another way to do it is that they can actually collaborate with other colleagues with more researching experience but with a genuine interest and knowledge of/in the field.

Q: Why multi-stakeholder partnerships in ICTs? Kalas: Governments alone cannot make a huge impact, there is a need to bring the private sector in. The problem is how to. Elder: ICT are not only about technologies, but also about social impact.

Q: Are funding open standards and open source enough? Elder: We need to invest in the ‘open’ because we need to know how things work, not only the outcome. On the other hand, if research/projects are paid with public funds, they should result in publicly available goods.

Personal note

A huge thank you to the organization for putting together such a great conference. Thank you very much.

More information


Information and Communication Technologies and Development (2010)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2010) “ICTD2010 (XX). Donor Voices” In ICTlogy, #87, December 2010. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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