800 Participants Link Technology to Impact at 10th ICT4D Conference In Lusaka, Zambia
“The future of technology is in Africa,” said Facebook’s Public Policy Manager, Emilar Gandhi at the 10th ICT4D, the largest humanitarian aid and development technology conference in the world, which was held at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka. Over three days, ICT and development professionals from over 80 countries have heard from scores of speakers on leading tech issues like data security and privacy, artificial intelligence, and mobile money. Speakers at the plenary sessions included leaders from Facebook, 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).
Honourable Lawrence Sichalwe, the acting Minister of Transport & Communications, opened the conference on behalf of Zambian President H.E. Edgar Lungu, praising the international development community for using ICT4D for improving the lives of those in need. “New GIS technology, monitoring mechanisms, and data management inventions are creating endless possibilities, generating sustainable growth and everlasting hope for a blissful future,” said Sichalwe.
“We must go the last mile,” said Michele Broemmelsiek, CRS Vice President for Overseas Operations, delivering a call 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 and data security as the top concern. It also suggested that very inexpensive smartphones would help drive development.
Data security was a big theme at the conference. “I’m happy that the ICT4D community is taking this issue very seriously,” said Broemmelsiek.
Further showing the importance of the conference to Zambia, on Thursday afternoon Mulenga M. Chisanga, Acting Director of the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) addressed the participants on the outlook for ICT4D in Zambia, pointing out positive ICT impact in the areas of health, education and agriculture.
CRS is the Lead Organising Partner for the 10th conference, the first of which it founded in Nairobi in 2010. The Conference Strategic Partners are NetHope and the Norwegian Refugee Council. The other Conference Partners are 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 are John Deere and SAP.
The conference closed with the announcement that the 11thICT4D Conference will be held in April, 2019, in Kampala, Uganda.
For more information, go to ICT4DConference.org