The ICT4D 2.0 Manifesto: Where Next for ICTs and International Development?

Richard Heeks


ICT4D – the application of information and communication technologies for international development – is moving to a new phase.  This will require new technologies, new approaches to innovation and implementation, new intellectual perspectives and, above all, a new view of the world's poor.  All these must be understood if we are to harness digital technologies in the service of some of our world's most pressing problems.

This paper explains the phase change – from "ICT4D 1.0" to "ICT4D 2.0" – and its implications.  The background to these phases is reviewed, charting the logic and chronology of applying ICTs in developing countries.  The implications of the phase change are then analysed.  First, in terms of new technology and application priorities.  Then, in relation to new models of innovation we may need to embrace: from laboratory to collaborative to grassroots innovation.  Next, in relation to new implementation models for funding, managing, and applying digital technology.  Finally, the paper looks at necessary new worldviews to guide our thinking and our policies in this field; integrating perspectives from computer science, information systems and development studies.  Additional commentaries and models provide a further set of rich insights into the future of ICT4D.

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Educator's guide

Synopsis questions

  1. What is the justification for ICT4D?  [Part A]
  2. Describe the identified chronology from ICT4D 0.0 to ICT4D 2.0.  [Part B]
  3. What are the identified technological priorities for ICT4D 2.0?  [Part C]
  4. What are the identified innovation models for ICT4D 2.0?  [Part D]
  5. What changes to implementation will and should be made during ICT4D 2.0?  [Part E]
  6. What are the identified worldviews impinging on ICT4D, and how should they be handled in ICT4D 2.0?  [Part F]
  7. How is ICT4D 2.0 different from ICT4D 1.0?  [Part G]

Development questions

  1. Are we so busy trying to look forwards to the "next big thing" that we fail to notice what is actually around at present in ICT4D?
  2. Is the idea of ICT4D phases credible or not?
  3. What priorities would you identify for the future of ICT4D?
  4. Is the future for ICT4D mobiles or telecentres, mobiles and telecentres, or something else?
  5. Identify some ICT4D projects – do they represent pro-, para- or per-poor innovation?
  6. Where is your, or your group's, own disciplinary strength – computer science, information systems or development studies?  What actions might you require in order to develop a more integrated perspective?
  7. What, if anything, might constitute "ICT4D 3.0"?  Can we gain anything by trying to look so far ahead on the curve?