8 Feb


ICTs and Sustainable Development Goals

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has a profound effect on society and the world. It fuels the knowledge economy and creates possibilities, innovation, and sustainable economic empowerment. Over the last few decades, there has been massive growth in technological development and opportunities that have continued to transform people’s lives and the planet. However, the benefits from ICT have not been evenly distributed (especially in Swaziland, like in many developing countries)—with significant gaps in Internet and technology access, affordability and availability.

These gaps have implications for which groups have access to education, economic opportunities, healthcare, and livelihoods. We only advance as a society, as a planet, as businesses, and as governments when all people can reap the full benefits of economic growth and the knowledge economy, using technology as an enabling tool for development. Nonetheless, efforts by Swazi MTN, through its mtneducare program, and Swazi Mobile educational data is much appreciated. However, there is still a long way to go.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent a global, multistakeholder, action-oriented commitment and an opportunity for collaboration on driving economic, social and environmental development for all. ICT can play an enabling role in the implementation of the SDGs. Public-private partnerships are critically important to achieving and tracking progress towards them, especially in Swaziland.

The Sustainable Development Goals represent a unique opportunity for the world to work together on 17 critical measures that embody the collective aspirations of Swazi citizens. Developed through the most consultative process in United Nations history, the SDGs are both an opportunity to improve the lives of Swazis and a challenge for our collective intent in the coming years. Reaching the SDGs will enable all of us to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.

It will not be an easy task, and to make meaningful progress, we will need to leverage the best tools available. Undoubtedly, technology has tremendous potential to accelerate progress towards reaching the SDGs: from connectivity to mobile phones to the Internet of Things, new and evolving technologies can help increase scale, improve impact, enhance program design and measure results in ways that simply were not possible just a few years ago. Used well, technology can help us realize the SDGs for our collective benefit.

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