3 minute read

John Daly wins the award for insanely detailed blog entries with his blogel (my neologism for novel-length blogs, spread it!) on K4D, which is its own neologism for "Knowledge for Development" -- the "new" area of ICT and knowledge-economic stuffs and their role in development projects.

If you don't have a few hours to digest that blogel, it provides a decent, straightforward summary of a mostly pragmatic approach to ICTs in development. It's nothing groundbreaking, but it's unique in not really trying to be groundbreaking, but realistic:

ome enthusiasts portray e-development as sure path to social and economic development. ICT expenditures constitute only a few percent of GDP in even the most advanced nations. Thus it asks a lot for an e-Development strategy to lead overall economic and social development.

Ideally, e-Development would take place in the context of an overall policy and institutional environment conducive to rapid national economic growth and development and in the context of strong pro-poor policies. Unfortunately, such environments are seldom found in developing nations. (Where they are, of course, a truly holistic e-Development strategy is possible.)

It is possible, however, to produce enclaves of development -- where the resources, policies, and institutions permit –- even in the absence of a policy and institutional environment optimally conducive to overall development

It continues with a definitely rosy-tinted view of the value of ICTs as their own development projects, and encourages risk-taking among donor agencies. I have to come down with a more cautious summary note[1], but overall agree with his hedges and warnings; ICT has to be planned and cheaperl, limited pilot projects should be used to test the waters and feasibility (Though these, too, have problems -- Jamaica was caught in an endless cycle of pilot projects, with very few island-wide rollouts, so the same few schools always got the best technology).

[1] There are many things more grounding (cynicism-inducing?) than walking by the World Bank ("Working to end world povery") every day, with the little park across the street where DC's homeless hang out, but this does get extra points for irony.