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Cover Poverty and Development

22. Digital Technologies and the Future of Poverty and Development  

Tony Roberts, Kevin Hernandez, and Becky Faith

This chapter assesses the use of digital technologies in international development. Digital technologies are transforming economic and social life and are used in almost every sector of development. However, positive benefits in the form of digital dividends are limited by continued digital divides in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) access. Use of digital technologies tends to reflect, reproduce, and amplify existing patterns of inequality. Thus, digital development initiatives need to design for equity, include non-digital communication, and pay attention to potential risks. The chapter then provides examples of contemporary digital development projects applying Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D), and looks at 'frontier technologies' that may shape the future of international development.