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Friday, August 7, 2015 - 11:31

Alex Deng from Huawei's Corporate Sustainable Development Committee has posted a stimulating article on the Harvard Business Review site. In it he argues that to really help the global poor we must create technology that they’ll pay for. It may not be a new argument but Alex Deng makes it well, and I do not entirely disagree. After all the ICT4D organisation that I founded and ran for fourteen years charged fees for the technology and training that it provided. However that is not the whole story.

 

When we first launched Computer Aid International in 1997 we used grant funding to give away hundreds of computers for free. At these volumes we could certainly have carried on providing computers for free in a way that was sustainably financed by donors and volunteer labour. However we had ambitions of providing many thousands of computers per year - and that could not be resourced through grant funding alone. Instead we increased the value of our products (higher specifications and reliability) and phased in fees to recipients. By the time I left in 2010 over 80% of our income came from this source and we were able to ship tens of thousands of computers per year. Computer Aid has now provided almost a quarter of a million computers and was able...

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Another Technology is Always Possible

 

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ICT4D is Dead! Long Live ICT4D!

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ICT4D Masters Degrees Worldwide

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Death of ICT4D 'Greatly Exaggerated'

Upon reading his own obituary in the New York Times, Mark Twain famously declared that, "Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated!".

 

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