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Global Development Institute

Digital development

Digital development

The challenge:

To date, digital technologies have contributed only incremental benefits in economic, social and political development, and a step-change will be required if they are to deliver the transformational ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Given the growing embedding of the technology in all development sectors and processes, digital technology is moving from being a tool to achieve development outcomes to being the platform through which development processes are mediated.

Digital development can provide new routes out of poverty. But unless digital alternatives are developed, we risk foregoing the development benefits of new technology; entrenching new digitally-enabled systems of inequality; and enabling digital harms that damage rights and promote injustice.

How we are addressing it:

GDI already has the specialist research of the Centre for Development Informatics and teaching of the Human and Digital Development group, plus a growing presence of data science across GDI’s other research areas.

The constancy of technological change creates knowledge gaps and a broad digital development research agenda for GDI at all stages of the innovation cycle:

  • Infrastructure: supporting systemic policy and strategic actions that develop inclusive digital ecosystems (human, technical, institutional infrastructure)
  • Innovation: supporting new digital technologies that promote achievement of the SDGs
  • Implementation: identifying and promoting good practices in design and operationalisation of digital technology
  • Impact: tracking the emerging development implications of digital technologies at micro-, meso- and macro levels

Research Projects

Our teaching agenda:

People and publications:

Click on the names below to read their latest publications or read the latest publications from the Global Development Institute and from the Development Informatics working paper series.

PhD Researchers and Post-Doctoral Fellows

  • Angelica Fernandez Garzon
  • Pfavai Nyajeka
  • Jiaying Li
  • Ryo Seo-Zindy
  • Hao Peng
  • Luis Rivera Illingworth
  • Bookie Ezeomah
  • Kaiyu Xu
  • Xinlun Jiang
  • Basma Albanna
  • Qingna Zhou 


News and insights: