I MAKE reference to an article in the YoAfrica column “ICT essential for rural development in Africa”, (Zimbabwe Independent, August
The article quotes one paper entitled “ICT in support of grassroots rural development”, presented during the ICT Conference in Nairobi by Dr Robert Kozma.
He put across a point that ICTs are “key to unlocking rural development and contributing to the Green Revolution in Africa”.
While I do not disagree that rural communities stand to reap some benefits from the use of ICTs, I would like to highlight that it is misleading to suggest that the introduction of ICTs alone in rural communities will change the lives of people there overnight and see what he calls a “Green Revolution” take place.
There are more underlying problems in Africa that, if not changed, rural communities will forever languish in poverty.
The major issues needing address are issues to do with governance, poverty and illiteracy among others.
These are problems that cannot be solved purely by the introduction of ICTs. It is folly for anyone to suggest that “ICT and broadband connections can unlock development in the rural areas”.
I do not agree that the first focus must be ICTs development. How can one use a computer if they are illiterate to begin with?
How can my grandma out in Nkayi “google search” and assume all her bread and butter issues are solved?
This is the problem with our intellectuals. Writers must be in touch with poor communities and not write from high pedestals.
ICTs cannot be given priority in African communities as long as there is no access to basic services such as running water, proper health facilities, affordable and accessible primary and secondary education, usable roads and fostering of democratic societies.