Media CenterGlobal Technology Conference Highlights the Future of Technology for International Development

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Kim Pozniak
Catholic Relief Services
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800 Participants Link Technology to Impact at ICT4D Conference in Lusaka, Zambia

LUSAKA, ZAMBIA, May 14, 2018 – “The future of technology is in Africa,” said Facebook’s public policy manager, Emilar Gandhi, during the recent ICT4D Conference in Zambia, the largest humanitarian aid and development technology conference in the world that ended on May 10.

As Lawrence Sichalwe, Zambia’s acting minister of Transport & Communications, said in opening the conference, these cutting-edge technologies “are creating endless possibilities, generating sustainable growth and everlasting hope for a blissful future.”

In this 10th ICT4D gathering, ICT and development professionals from more than 80 countries heard scores of speakers talking about how leading tech issues -- such as security and privacy, artificial intelligence and mobile money -- can affect the poor.

Speakers at the plenary sessions included Gandhi from Facebook as well as representatives of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the World Food Programme (WFP), Gartner Executive Programs, SAP Africa, NetHope, The Great African Food Company (in collaboration with John Deere), Farm Drive, Radiant.Earth, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and The United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

“We must go the last mile,” said Michele Broemmelsiek, CRS’ vice president for Overseas Operations, during her keynote speech, emphasizing the need to link technology to the most isolated communities.

Broemmelsiek also unveiled the results of an international survey on ICT4D which shows connectivity as the top trend, data security as the top concern and the spread of very inexpensive smartphones as a major driver of development. (The results of the survey are here. A news summary is here.)

Data security was a major theme at the conference. “I’m happy that the ICT4D community is taking this issue very seriously,” said Broemmelsiek.

The conference had a high profile in its host country, Zambia. Sichalwe appeared on behalf of Zambian president H.E. Edgar Lungu and Mulenga M. Chisanga, the acting director of the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA), spoke specifically on the outlook for ICT4D in his country, pointing out positive impacts in the areas of health, education and agriculture.

CRS, which began ICT4D in Nairobi in 2010, was the lead organizing partner for this 10th conference, joined by strategic partners, NetHope and the Norwegian Refugee Council. Other conference partners included the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), DAI Global Health, the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL), ICRISAT (Int. Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics), iMerit Technology Services, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), SOS Children’s Villages, UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), UNESCO Chair in ICT4D at Royal Holloway University and World Vision International. The key sponsors were John Deere and SAP.

The next ICT4D Conference will be held in April 2019 in Uganda.

For more information, visit ICT4DConference.org.

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Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, please visit crs.org or crsespanol.org and follow CRS on social media: Facebook, @CatholicRelief@CRSnewsYouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.

Tags: ICT4D

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