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The case for technology in developing regions

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10 Author(s)
Brewer, E. ; Comput. Sci., California Univ., Berkeley, CA, USA ; Demmer, M. ; Du, B. ; Ho, M.
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Alongside good governance, technology is considered among the greatest enablers for improved quality of life. However, the majority of its benefits have been concentrated in industrialized nations and therefore limited to a fraction of the world's population. We believe that technology has a large role to play in developing regions, that "First World" technology to date has been a poor fit in these areas, and that there is thus a need for technology research for developing regions. Despite the relative infancy of technology studies in developing regions, anecdotal evidence suggests that access to technology has a beneficial economic impact. Cellular telephony is probably the most visible application, but there are many others, some of which we cover in this article. The World Bank's infoDev site catalogs hundreds of information and communications technologies (ICT) projects, albeit not all successful. Most of these projects use existing off-the-shelf technology designed for the industrialized world. Although it is clear that there are large differences in assumptions related to cost, power, and usage, there has been little work on how technology needs in developing regions differ from those of industrialized nations. We argue that Western market forces continue to meet the needs of developing regions accidentally at best.

Published in:

Computer  (Volume:38 ,  Issue: 6 )