30 March 2011

Closing the ICT Gap in Australia's Aid Program

Closing the ICT Gap in Australia's Aid Program: Bridging the Digital Divide in Aid Delivery

Speaking engagement, Australian Institute of International Affairs, Glover Cottages, Sydney, 29 March 2011

From the perspectives of humanitarian aid, human development and human rights, contributing to global efforts to bridge the digital divide should be an urgent and central priority of Australia’s aid program. 
There is a gap in equitable access to the digital domain between rich and poor countries, and between the rich and the poor within all countries. The “digital divide” has several dimensions: those who use computers and the Internet and those who do not; those with access to broadband networks and those without; and those groups within society such as the poor, uneducated or disabled who are denied access to 21st century skills such as “information literacy”.
Progress towards bridging these gaps is now widely accepted as a key indicator of human development within and among all countries. With bipartisan commitments to double Australia’s foreign aid program by 2015, Australia needs urgently to scale up its capacity and investment in Information & Computer Technology (ICT) for development.