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Inclusive Development: How Can ICT Help?

by on Sep 25, 2017  |  posted in Annual Conference  |  0 Comments

How will technology impact the path of inclusive development? The Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) and Accenture recently published a report on how technology can help achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals:

Digital solutions can close the SDG achievement gaps by transforming how we live and work. Digital solutions diffuse at unprecedented speed and reach while increasing access to goods and services in a more people-centric, affordable and sustainable way.

The report outlines the unique opportunity that technology enables to help close the SDG achievement gaps. For example, today only 17 per cent of Sub-Sahara’s rural population can connect to an electricity grid, over 130 years after grids were invented. However, 70 per cent of the Sub-Saharan population can have access to a digital mobile network, just 23 years after the networks became available. The adoption of digital mobile was over 20 times faster than electricity grids, and this kind of increase is needed to reach the SDG’s.

The research focuses on three dimensions of development that will drive improvement in SDG’s: improving people’s quality of life, fostering equitable growth and protecting the environment. ICT solutions are identified that have the potential to drive dramatic improvements by 2030. Some examples are:

  • Smart agriculture: Optimized farm management, automated irrigation systems, and precision agriculture could increase crop yields by 900 kg/ha. (SDG target 2)
  • e-Health services: 1.6 billion people could access healthcare through digitally-enabled e-health services. (SDG target 3)
  • e-Learning: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), open education platforms, etc., could enable 450 million people to get online degrees (SDG target 4)
  • Connected cars: Could save 720,000 human lives road traffic accidents. (SDG target 3.6)
  • Smart cities: Digital solutions to optimize buildings and city transport can drive a 5 per cent CO2 emissions reduction. (SDG target 11)

Learning at #SEEP2017

In the upcoming 2017 SEEP Conference, we will be discussing how the development sector can harness the power of ICT solutions to drive inclusive change. The session, titled System Transformation: How the ‘Networked Society’ Can Drive Inclusive Development, will feature a panel discussion with development sector leaders, who will engage with the audience to explore leading approaches in ICT for development.


Thomas has more than 20 years of experience in international development and technology, with expertise in technology strategy and innovation, financial inclusion, organizational strategy, ICT for development and ICT for education. He has led Accenture projects with CGAP, the Government of Tanzania, Financial Sector Deepening Trust, Gates Foundation, UNHCR, Inter-American Development Bank, Government of Ethiopia and the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR). He has worked in over 30 countries, across Europe, East Africa, Asia and Latin America. Thomas has experience advising governments, NGOs and development organizations on a variety of technology-related issues. He supported UNHCR in developing an assessment of global refugee connectivity needs, and he helped CGAP develop a future vision for financial inclusion. He earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

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