Better connected: empowering people through communications technology

Better connected: empowering people through communications technology

Do internet and communication technologies ( ICTs) assist in development?

This guide discusses the role of Internet and Communication technologies (ICTs) in development. It takes a particular look at the relationship between ICTs and the poor. It aims to provide ideas for journalists to carry out further research this area.

While it has been argued that the development of new information and communications technologies (ICTs) such as mobile phones, personal computers and the Internet has the potential to improve the lives of millions of people, issues around access, ownership and costs may mean that relatively few individuals benefit to the exclusion of everyone else. When communications infrastructure – such as telephone lines, cables for high-speed Internet, mobile phone networks – is inadequate, more people may be excluded from the information that technological advances can bring.

Key points highlighted include:

  • researchers underline the importance of a liberalised, rather than state-owned, telecommunications sector meeting ordinary peoples’ information needs
  • while many countries have developed policies and strategies for national information infrastructures, in many cases a lack of resources and proper institutional frameworks have made them difficult to implement
  • information can be a vital resource for agricultural workers as it helps them make informed decisions on what crops to plant and when, and which fertilisers and new seeds to buy, as well as finding out about diseases and the weather
  • ICTs are also emerging as useful tools for social mobilisation, however, there is very limited research on this aspect of ICT usage.
  1. How good is this research?

    Assessing the quality of research can be a tricky business. This blog from our editor offers some tools and tips.