This report will seek to demonstrate that ICT can be a powerful tool for development, both because of ICT's inherent characteristics and the mounting empirical evidence that suggests it can in fact contribute a great deal to development goals. It can do so at both the micro and national level by increasing the effectiveness and reach of development interventions, enhancing good governance and lowering the costs of service delivery. Moreover, the right complement of targeted ICT interventions has the potential to play an even more substantial role in accelerating a sustainable dynamic of social and economic development in developing countries.
While the focus of the DOI is the role that ICT can play in the development process, it should be clear from the outset that ICT is not a panacea for the developing world's problems. Social and economic development is dependent on many factors, which should be addressed through an overall development strategy. Factors such as political stability, macroeconomic governance, transparency and accountability of national and local administrations, the rule of law, physical infrastructure (for example, clean water and energy), and basic literacy should also be addressed in an explicit manner -- and ICT should not be seen as a substitute. However, the integration of ICT into overall national development strategies can help facilitate implementation, expand the scope and coverage, and increase the results for most of these factors. Moreover, development goals cannot be achieved by government efforts alone. The involvement of civil society and the private sector is crucial.
© 2001 Accenture, Markle Foundation, United Nations Development Programme.
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