In 2006 I started working at the Centre for International Cooperation of VU University Amsterdam. As an ICT consultant, based in Amsterdam for almost two decades, and involved in technologies such as virtual reality, high performance computing and networking, I suddenly encountered myself in the facinating world of ICTs for development. This is the world of poverty, but also the world where having an internet connection is not as common as we thought, where mobile phones exist but aren’t smart, and where you have to visit a rural internet café and wait ten minutes before your first webpage appears on your screen.
The facinating world of ICTs for development opens a new window for innovation. New contexts ask for innovative solutions. Assumptions on how technology innovation should be done suddenly appear narrow-minded. Things are different in other context. However, not that different as we might expect. The web connects people, and the more connected we are, the more we benefit from each other’s knowledge. Connecting people and information is the ultimate goal, and this is probably more important than any type of development aid.