ICT for Development in Nigeria: Towards an Alignment With ICT4D 2.0 Goals

ICT for Development in Nigeria: Towards an Alignment With ICT4D 2.0 Goals

Olumide B. Longe (Caleb University, Nigeria), Adefolarin A. Bolaji (Purdue University, USA) and Richard Boateng (University of Ghana, Ghana)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1207-4.ch012

Abstract

Prior studies have x-rayed the potentials and impetus for development that can be resultant from a full scale adoption of ICT in Africa particularly in Nigeria. Current challenges relating to infrastructures, cybercrime, government policies and so on that mitigate the benefits accruable from a virile ICT growth have also been highlighted. However, research also needs to really address possible areas of developmental benefit of ICT to rural target groups such as farmers, extension officers, health and social workers This paper explores possible alignment of ICT4D2.0 goals to ICT development in Nigeria. It posited that the digital divide that ICTD1.0 sets to bridge are still very evident at grassroots level. Adding computing and Internet functionality to technologies that already penetrate the grassroots such as mobiles phones, radios and televisions will enhance ICT4D2.0 goals in Nigeria. This will in turn increase productivity among this target group with attendant contribution to national development.
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Introduction

Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) is a general term referring to the application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) within the field of socio-economic development. “ICT4D” as a term is described as a strong and generally positive force. It helps in the magnetization and aggregation of knowledge and practice. It made provision for clear and unambiguous tag for searching events and material. The “4D” component indicates each activity’s purpose. Without it, more loss than gain would be made (Richards, 2016).

ICT4D is geographically unspecific, and as such concerns itself directly with overcoming the barriers of the Digital Divide. It is becoming recognized as an interdisciplinary research field as can be noted by the number of conferences, workshops and publications in the field (UN-ESCWA, 2005; UICT4D, 2007 and SPIDER, 2008). Such research has been motivated by the need for empirical results that can be used to measure the impact of ICT4D initiatives. ICT is recognized by government, organizations, individuals and even criminals as a tool that can be used for varying degrees of achievements.

ICT4D can therefore be applied either in an indirect sense, where the ICTs assist aid organizations or non-governmental organizations or governments in order to improve socio-economic conditions or in the direct sense, where their use directly benefits the disadvantaged population in some manner. The former was more of the focus of ICT4D1.0 while ICT4D2.0 is expected to achieve the laudable goals of pragmatic and penetrative development at all levels. Unfortunately, government bureaucracy, lack of basic infrastructures, inadequate publicity, legislative and other political bottlenecks have hampered the rate of growth and penetration of ICT and its attendant development potentials in most developing countries.

On the one hand, developing countries present problems that are as diverse as the cultures they encompass, and the issues fully emerge only with direct interaction with the target communities. On the other hand, many of the issues are recurring, and they often are just minor variations of challenges encountered in the developed world (Kentayo and Benadi, 2008). Developers have identified the root of several ICT4D failures as stemming from their technocentric approach, dominated by an informatics view of the world. Such projects are frequently analogous with the old medical joke, “The operation was a success but unfortunately the patient died.” They deliver a system that works technically but that fails to make a developmental contribution. To move away from the inadequacies of ICT4D 1.0, then, we must have new, broader worldviews guiding ICT4D 2.0 projects. These broader worldviews will likely come from two main disciplinary candidates: Information Systems (IS) and development studies (Longe, et al., 2007; Longe & Chiemeke, 2007a, 2007b and Richard, 2008). Increasing availability and access to ICT is very important if ICT4D2.0 is to make any meaningful contribution in Nigeria.

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