Nairobi event shows why ICT4D is key to reaching UN SDGs

City centre NairobiHundreds of experts from the relief and development and technology worlds are gathering in Nairobi, Kenya, on 16-19 May to focus on the latest ways to harness information technology to help the world’s poor at the eighth annual Information and Communications Technologies for Development (ICT4D) conference

For the first time, the conference has been organised by a consortium of organisations exploiting ICT4D: Accenture, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Esri, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, iMerit Technology Services, Mercy Corps, NetHope, Oxfam, Pandexio and World Vision with support from Microsoft, RTI international, Qualcomm Wireless Reach and Making All Voices Count.

This group of organising partners and sponsors believe information and communication technology (ICT) can be used to accelerate achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aimed at eliminating extreme poverty around the world. The ICT4D Conference is intended to be a catalyst that will move the entire the relief and development community forward with strategic use of ICT to support the SDGs.

“The innovation and partnerships that ICT enables can make the sustainable development goals a reality,” said Dr. Carolyn Woo, president and chief executive officer of CRS, which started the conference in 2010. “At CRS we firmly believe that technologies are key to accelerating the end to poverty and inequality - an essential enabler of all nations’ ability to develop a strong, viable local economy and to offer a safe, inclusive, and healthy environment to all its citizens, now and for decades to come.” 

“Today across the developing world, people from all walks of life - farmers, teachers, mothers - are using mobile devices to access weather data, market information, financial services, and medical advice,” said Carol Bothwell, CRS’ director of technology innovation for development. “Local governments, development organisations, and social enterprises are harnessing the power of real-time data, social media, and analytics to improve the quality and reach of the services they provide to those living in extreme poverty. We can improve the speed with which we achieve the sustainable development goals if we share these innovations and create more.”

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