Tech Crucial for Achieving Development Goals

The administration’s 10-year perspective plan adopted in 2021 outlines the role ICT will play in economic growth. Among its pillars is a focus on building technological capacity and a digital economy, which aligns with several SDGs such as good health and well-being, quality education, decent work and economic growth, and reduced inequalities.  

In September 2015, world governments adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the entailing sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The agenda recognizes that eradicating poverty in all its forms, including extreme poverty, is the foremost global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. Economic development, social inclusion and environmental protection comprise the agenda’s three pillars.

All three pillars rely on ICT and digital technologies as key catalysts, and are absolutely crucial for achieving the SDGs.

ICT and digital transformation are equally important catalysts for Agenda 2063 for Africa.

“Digital applications are already driving socio-economic transformation, increasing efficient production and distribution of goods and services, opening up new opportunities for income generation for millions of poor people, enhancing connectivity between people, societies, government, and organizations,” wrote  Dr. Vera Songwe, who served as the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

ICT has the potential to be a key driver and facilitator in transforming Ethiopia’s predominantly traditional subsistence-agriculture economy to one that is digitally-enabled and knowledge-based.

As of February 2022, Ethiopia is ranked 128th out of 168 countries on the SDG index, which measures progress made by countries in achieving the goals.

Digital technologies can reduce extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity by improving the flow of information and services, decreasing the relevance of distance and costs associated with it, expanding potential markets for businesses, providing opportunities for economic diversification, and serving as a source of employment.

Widespread ICT adaptation can change development dynamics and benefit citizens at all levels. Remote areas lacking medical professionals can communicate with specialists using telemedicine while schoolchildren can access online educational content. Farmers can obtain current market prices, gain access to financial services, link to markets, and receive information on agricultural techniques and weather to enhance their productivity and grow income.

ICT can change existing businesses and pave ways to new ones.

Digital technologies are rapidly transforming government services, business practices and societies. They are integral to the innovation driven economies of the future. Rapid advances in technology are already creating unprecedented benefits and efficiencies.

This is why the role of ICT and digital technologies in creating an inclusive digital economy should be one of the critical issues of the time. If planned and executed well, it can contribute to, aid, and accelerate economic growth and address youth employment, one of the most pressing challenges at present.

To benefit from the digital economy, governments are expected to work on accelerating the transformation of institutions, organizations, and the private sector as well as skilled labor to keep up with the pace of digital innovation.

Policymakers should also comprehend the new business models that are made possible by digitization and how entrepreneurs can more quickly implement them in ways that create widespread benefits.

In short, the country can generate digital dividends—growth, jobs and innovation—from its digital infrastructure propelled by an inclusive digital strategy and supported by analog complements.

The administration’s 10-year perspective plan adopted in 2021 outlines the role ICT will play in economic growth. Among its pillars is a focus on building technological capacity and a digital economy, which aligns with several SDGs such as good health and well-being, quality education, decent work and economic growth, and reduced inequalities.  

There have been some encouraging signs as the government attempts to take some basic services online. Although digitization, spearheaded by the Ministry of Innovation, is not without its faults, the progression of technology adoption in the public sector is commendable.

Regulatory and policy frameworks that recognize advancements in technology and new ways of doing business are coming together as well, albeit slowly. Laws governing e-transactions, a national ID, digital financial services, and telecom liberalization are among the most prominent.

But, Work on infrastructural enablers must go hand in hand with these advances. Improvements to the country’s telecommunications, power and transportation networks will ensure that digital developments reach all segments of society at an affordable cost.

One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *