ICTs and Inclusive Sustainable Development

This weeks reading were on ICTs and Inclusive Sustainable Development, ICT stands for Information and Communication Technology. The class discussed how having access to the internet and communication technology provides a means of leveling the playing field developing countries. Having access to the internet provides small business owners in developing countries the opportunity to access a market that they otherwise would have been completely shut out of. Additionally, ICT’s provide access to information in new and unprecedented ways that could not have happened a few hundred years ago. During this class the fact that technology is amazing was really driven home and made me think about how often we take it for granted here in the Untied States.


After doing research I found project pursued by major companies like Google and Facebook that are aiming to increase access to internet around the world. This question of access and discussion of what it means to make services and experiences more accessible to all proved to be strikingly similar to our conversations about disability inclusion. In a similar way, providing access increases quality of life of those who are marginalized without access and provides means for self sufficiency. Thinking about the parallels of ICTS and sustainable development made me think about our theoretical readings by Amartya Sen. Providing access does truly provide freedom. The creation of the United Nations is representative of a global governing body in which structure and means of freedom to its member states. I would argue that access to internet in developing areas is an extension of Sen’s theories on development, worldwide access that is being pursued by Google and Facebook is indicative of development proving freedom.


Interestingly enough in my international business class we often talk about the opportunities that large multinational corporations provide to developing nations. A debate often arises regarding what it more effective in developing countries, international aid or large corporations? ICT’s really fall into this debate because government  or governing bodies like the UN may provide guidance and suggestion to these companies but ultimately the internet is owned by large multinational corporations. It would be interesting to look at how Sen’s writing will be applied in the future and if development should be viewed as governance or business or perhaps both?