Yacine Khelladi wrote:

> I believe all projects should be started like this from the needs, and
> build a sustainable capacity to manage ICT integration/appropriation.
> Whatever technology is used or available. And IMHO yes, every project,
> ICT4D project, is somehow unique, not necessarily scalable, as ICT is
> just one element in the complex "development process" equation.

I'm writing a paper on e-readiness assessments and the Millennium
Development Goals. A conclusion I've reached is that access to
technology is not the point. It's exactly as Yacine says - ICT is only
an [albeit powerful and potentially very useful] element of development
initiatives. The problem is poverty, and the digital divide is just
another manifestation of existing inequalities and injustices. I do
think that access to ICT is important for equality and empowerment, and
that becoming part of the Information society broadens options and
opportunities, but access is not enough. ICT for Development initiatives
need to strive towards enabling "Real Access" (see www.bridges.org),
with a specific goal that this access is going to achieve.

Instead of measuring e-readiness (how ready a country/community is to
gain the benefits offered by ICT in terms of policy, infrastructure and
ground level initiatives), we rather need to consider the application of
ICT for concrete goals. While those offered by the Millennium
Development Goals are only proxies for the complex and multi-faceted
phenomenon of poverty, they are at least concrete goals to which our
leaders have committed. Mainstreaming ICT through inclusion in national
strategies such as Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers is, I believe, far
more useful than thinking only about ICT integration without a specific

Joy Olivier

Policy Associate
Phone +27 21 465 9313
Fax +27 21 465 5917
South Africa: P O Box 715, Cape Town 8000 South Africa
United States: P O Box 53099, Washington, DC 20009-9099

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