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Accueil > Français > Femmes et sciences > The ICTs : for what kind of development ?

The ICTs : for what kind of development ?

dimanche 4 mars 2012

Oum Kalthoum Ben Hassine

Professor at the University of Tunis El Manar, Tunisia

Source :

From ICTD2010


The significance of ICTD, for a southern citizen and woman scientist who has a double culture, or rather a hybrid culture that allows openness and reconciliation, depends, first, on the actual sense to the “Development” to which ICT applications are intended.

If development concerns the sole economic growth, unlimited gain and extreme profit, ICTD will mean "ICT development in the north” and the development of markets dedicated for ICT products and tools, where unbridled conquest of new markets will target more and more developing countries within the framework of what we call “technology transfer”. This type of development has generated and still generates the "left behind", excluded and marginalized, the third and fourth worlds, all excluded from progress and well being.

This type of development which characterizes the world today, has contributed, as Ineke Buskens (2010) appropriately said in her last work, “to the vast social and environmental destruction".

It is for that, since the beginning of the twenty-first century, our planet which has known great richness in all fields, never appeared paradoxically as poor. If today’s scientific progress allows the human being to succeed with unprecedented technological performances, it seems that it is detrimental to the quality of life and ethics ; Or how do we explain the coexistence of two worlds :

The first is a minority and comfortably installed in a wealth bubble ;
While the second constituted of the largest number, is painfully sub-living, rather than not surviving at all ?
In front of this imbalance, there is also a global consciousness against the discouraging ways of matchless or rather one-polar thinking, and an attempt to plan a different future for humanity.

Within this context, another perspective of development exists, making it possible to live differently in our beautiful blue planet. It deals with sustainable development which opens spaces for democracy, freedom and responsibility and which requires relevance of the questions asked and effective partnerships, aiming to build a social and moral contract, a global contract based on the universality of rights and in which all components of human society can come together and believe that the future exists !....

This type of development is characterized by its commitment “with and through the use of ICT in and with the developing world” (I. Buskens, 2010).

And hence, it does not really deal with the heterogeneity of stakeholders in the ICT field (economists, sociologists, anthropologists, engineers, computer scientists, specialists in application areas, etc.), but the type of undeclared development targeted by ICT application, which is behind the difficulty in precisely defining the term of “ICT for development”. It is, in fact, the ICT applications for a sustainable development which would be those that would change the realities in developing countries towards greater levels of equity and welfare.

It is within the framework of this understanding of development that we are able to :

- Maintain environmental integrity to ensure the health and safety of human communities and preserve life-sustaining ecosystems ;
- Ensure social equity to allow the full development of all women and men, growth of communities and respect of diversity ;
- Ensure economic efficiency to create an innovative and prosperous economy, which is environmentally and socially responsible.

Only this development which considers the fight against poverty in the world as a fundamental priority, poverty which I consider dangerous and unacceptable, can be the basis to build a renewed partnership between North and South, and build practices of innovative cooperation. This development allows us to find solutions to our planet’s ills and to achieve equity, social justice, equality of opportunity between genders and peace, in a world that would be open, tolerant and generous, but which remains, for the moment, to be built, to be built together.... In this type of development, the future is in research networks marked by innovation because they are ready to confront their history, methods and future vision and to unite the northern and southern nations and peoples.

Only this partnership and international cooperation would, as already mentioned by the political scientist Comi Toulabor, influence the world’s destiny in order that real changes in the management of humanity’s heritage will be achieved, so that what already exists will be distributed differently and that a better future will be elaborated, based on sustainable and equitable development and respect for all.

It is within this context, that a priority for the south is the development of science, technology and innovation, given the considerable potential of this area which combines youth, talents and need for knowledge.

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