About us

As a field of research and practice, Information and Communications Technologies for Development (ICT4D) aims to harness information and communication technologies (ICTs) to achieve economic, social and political goals in low-resource or low-income regions.

The ICT4D Centre at the University of Cape Town (UCT) functions as an academic hub for researchers focused on creating solutions that address socio-technical problems in South Africa, across Africa and in other developing regions. The Centre is a multi-disciplinary environment that seeks to produce new technologies for the developing world, while also studying the ways in which existing and emerging technologies affect and are appropriated by groups of people, particularly in under-resourced communities.

We have received international recognition for our work, including best paper awards, scholarships for our students, various prizes and grants to support our research. In 2013, we were proud hosts of ICTD2013 and DEV-4, the two most prominent conferences in the ICT4D field, as well as Interact2013, a key IFIP conference in human-computer interaction. 

If you are considering an masters or doctorate in ICT4D then consider studying with us for some, or all, of your degree. We also have full PhD bursaries for Africans wishing to study a doctorate in ICT4D. 

ICT4D hinges on the idea that improved access to information and communication technologies furthers societal development. As such, ICT4D aims to aid economic development by promoting equitable access to modern communications technologies. As a field of research it is a powerful tool for economic and social development.

The Centre has developed a reputation for catalysing the contributions of a critical mass of researchers and postgraduate students who are well positioned to strengthen the level of research in this field. The research Centre has the following goals and objectives:

  • To build a cohort of ICT4D experts in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • To produce knowledge informed by African experiences of ICT problems in order to understand, address and offer solutions to these problems.
  • To gain international status by making a valuable contribution toward the knowledge-base in the ICT4D field.

Collaborators

  • Hasso Platner Institute
  • Microsoft Research
  • Microsoft / Nokia
  • Nokia Siemens Networks
  • Telesciences
  • Telkom
  • World Bank
  • Cell-Life
  • Water Research Commission (WRC)
  • Ikamva Youth
  • Khanya Project, Western Cape Education Department
  • City Libraries
  • UCL - Institute of Education
  • UNESCO
  • AHO, Norway
  • TASCHA, University of Washington
  • Education UCT
  • Linguistics UCT
  • Shuttleworth Foundation, now Pearson
  • ULPDO at UKZN

Advisory Board Members

 

Kentaro Toyama
University of Michigan

Kentaro Toyama is W.K. Kellogg Associate Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information and a fellow of the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT. He is the author of Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology. He is co-editor-in-chief of the journal Information Technologies and International Developmentand founding steering committee member of the International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development. Kentaro serves on several international non-profit boards, for Digital Green, Innovations for Poverty Action, and Village Health Works. 

In previous engagements, Kentaro was a consultant to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley; co-founder and assistant managing director of Microsoft Research India; and calculus lecturer at Ashesi University in Ghana. At Microsoft, he started the Technology for Emerging Markets research group, which conducts interdisciplinary research to understand how the world's poorest communities interact with electronic technology and to invent new ways for technology to support their socio-economic development. Kentaro began his research career in computer vision, machine learning, and human-computer interaction at Microsoft Research in Redmond, WA, USA and Cambridge, UK. He graduated from Yale with a PhD in computer science and from Harvard with a bachelors degree in physics.

 

 

Arul Chib
Nanyang Technical University

Dr. Arul Chib is Associate Professor at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information and Director of the Singapore Internet Research Center at Nanyang Technological University.  Dr. Chib investigates the impact of mobile phones in healthcare (mHealth) and in transnational migration issues, and is particularly interested in intersects of marginalization. He has published over 75 research articles. Global collaborations with IDRC, Red Cross Red Crescent, Text to Change, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Vision have led to research grants of S$ 5Mn.

Dr. Chib won the 2011 Prosper.NET-Scopus Award for the use of ICTs for sustainable development, accompanied by a fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, one of the highest honours in the European tradition. He has been awarded fellowships at Ludwig Maxmilians University and University of Southern California. He currently serves on the editorial boards of Human Communication Research, Annals of the International Communication Association and Mobile Media and Communication.

Dr. Chib has been the Principal Investigator and Coordinator of the SIRCA (Strengthening Information Society Research Capacity Alliance) programmes since 2008, mentoring emerging researchers from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Dr. Chib’s research in ten countries has been profiled in the media ranging from the United Nations Chronicle to the Singaporean press. He presented the keynote speech at Media Health Communication 2012 at LMU Munich and at Global Fusion 2015 at Texas A&M University. He was General Chair of the 7th International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies for Development, and served on the organizing committees of IFIP 8.6 2013 and ICTD 2012.

 

Matt Jones
Swansea University

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judy van Biljon
UNISA

Judy van Biljon is a professor in the School of Computing at the University of South Africa and holds a National Research Foundations’ chair in Information and Communication Technology for Development. Her current area of research specialisation is Knowledge Management for the digital support of interdisciplinary research collaboration. Her wider research interests include  Human-Computer Interaction, Knowledge Visualisation and the use of Mobile Technology for teaching and learning in developing countries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jonathan Donner
Caribou Digital

As Senior Director of Research at Caribou Digital, Jonathan Donner is a researcher, author, and consultant focused on advancing digital inclusion in the developing world. His projects often involve and combine market research, applied ethnography, social impacts of mobile telephony, regional competitiveness, and ICTD/ICT4D “Information Technology for Development“. Previously, he was a researcher in the Technology for Emerging Markets Group at Microsoft Research in Bangalore, India, a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and a consultant with the Monitor Group and its spin-off, the OTF Group. He has a Ph.D. from Stanford University in Communication Theory and Research.

 

 

 

 

 

Stephen Song
Village Telco Limited

Steve Song is an advocate for cheaper, more pervasive access to the communication infrastructure in Africa. He is the founder of Village Telco, a social enterprise that builds low-cost WiFi mesh VoIP technologies to deliver affordable voice and Internet service in underserviced areas. Village Telco was incubated during a three-year fellowship that Steve spent at the Shuttleworth Foundation in South Africa. Steve also currently works part-time with the Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC) to develop strategies for expanding the utilization of wireless technologies through shared spectrum strategies to enable more Internet access in Africa and other emerging market regions. Previously, Steve worked at the International Development Research Centre, where he led the organization's Information and Communication Technology for Development program in Africa, funding research into the transformational potential of ICTs across the continent.

 

 

 

 

Dorothy Okello
Makarere University/WOUGNET/Resilient

Eng. Dr. Dorothy Okello is Director of Innovation at ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) hosted by Makerere University School of Public Health. Supported by USAID, RAN is a partnership targeting twenty Sub-Saharan African universities that seeks to identify, develop and scale innovative solutions that will strengthen the resilience of African communities afflicted by natural as well as man- made shocks and stresses by applying science, technology, innovation and partnerships, and using evidence-based approaches. In addition, Dorothy is a Senior Lecturer with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) - Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda. She is also a Researcher with netLabs!UG, a research centre within the Department whose model is to strive for a  balanced  critical  mass  of  basic  research, applied research, innovation  and  commercialisation in the area of telecommunications and networking.

Dorothy holds a B.Sc. Eng. (Electrical - First Class Hons.) from Makerere University, an M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Kansas, United States (Fulbright Scholar), and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from McGill University, Montreal, Canada (Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Recipient). She is a member of the Uganda Institution of Professional Engineers (UIPE) where she also currently serves as President 2016-2018, and is duly registered with the Uganda Engineers Registration Board (ERB). She is also a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and serves on the 2017 IEEE Ad Hoc Committee on Activities in Africa (AHCAA). The AHCAA’s charter is to enhance IEEE's engagement in Africa in support of advancing technology for humanity.

Dorothy is an activist in the area of getting more women, small-scale enterprises and rural communities engaged in the information society for development – with an ability to understand and balance both community and technology objectives. In May 2000, she initiated Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) that is a non-governmental organisation by several women organisations in Uganda to promote the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) among women. WOUGNET’s goal is to empower women's organisations through access to information and to opportunities for exchange and collaboration – via three program areas: Information Sharing and Networking; Technical Support; and Gender and ICT Policy Advocacy. Cross-cutting WOUGNET’s programs are thematic areas of agriculture, health, governance and entrepreneurship.

 

Hannah Thinyane
UN University

Dr. Hannah Thinyane is a Principal Research Fellow at the United Nations University Institute on Computing and Society (UNU-CS) in Macau SAR, China. Her research focuses on ICT for development, and human-computer interaction, particularly looking at the use of technology to enhance the agency of victims of human trafficking. Her research interests are mobile computing, human-computer interaction and the use of ICTs for development.

Before joining UNU-CS, Hannah was an Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department at Rhodes University. She is the founder and co-director of a five-year citizen participation project, MobiSAM, aiming to increase citizen participation in local government in the area of service delivery. She is a Visiting Professor in the Information Systems Department at Rhodes University; a Visiting Associate Professor at Stanford University (Cape Town Overseas Program); and a Senior Research Fellow with the University of New South Wales.

Hannah holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Math and Computer Science, and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from University of Adelaide; an Honours degree in Computer and Information Sciences from University of South Australia; a PhD in Computer Science from University of South Australia; and a Post Graduate Diploma in Higher Education from Rhodes University.