UNDP and Motorola Partnership Promotes Social Innovators on Mobile Technologies for Human Development

Oct 3, 2014

UNDP in partnership with Motorola Solutions convened a highly interactive roundtable bringing together mobile application developers, government, private sector, academia as well as policy makers and development practitioners working on mobile technology for development.

The roundtable on Mobile Technologies for International Network of Social Innovators for Human Development (INSIHD) was held in Addis Abeba on 2-3 October 2014.

Recognizing the prominence of mobile initiatives and ICT solutions for development, UNDP and Motorola organized several knowledge and expertise sharing forums in Africa among social innovators to foster human development in the last two years.

The two-day meeting was opened by UNDP Ethiopia Country Director Mr. Samuel Bwalya who remarked, “Developing countries wishing to propel and sustain their human development efforts should seriously invest in the use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) to empower people, reduce poverty, promote local capacity development, foster social inclusion, and foster democratic governance to meet existing and future demands of society.”

Discussion of the first day revolved around the use of mobiles for human development; policy challenges faced by ICT solution developers in Ethiopia, empowerment of social innovators and the making of mobile applications and ICT solutions part of the country’s development agenda.

Travis Heneveld, representing Motorola at the meeting, said, “The power is within the locals to face challenges and find solutions to narrow the gap between social innovators and policy makers. Inclusion of the use of ICT solutions for the advancement of human development in the country’s development initiative is one way of narrowing the gap.” He also mentioned the experience of other African countries like Rwanda that incorporated the use of ICT solutions in their development agenda and envisions to become ICT power house in Africa.

The discussion forum also highlighted how the use of ICT’s and Mobile Technologies can foster greater resilience and advocate for internationally agreed development goals such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - and the upcoming post-2015 development agenda.

The role of social innovators with the use of Mobile Technologies and ICT solutions to offer public information and deliver basic services to people who still live in absolute and relative poverty was recognized in the dialogs that followed.  

The second part of meeting was dedicated to entertain the prospects, opportunities and challenges of the establishment of International Network of Social Innovators for Human Development (INSIHD) in Ethiopia. This initiative commenced in 2013 by UNDP and Motorola Solutions in Kenya, Tunisia and Rwanda. This entity will bring together policy makers and development practitioners with social innovators and create an enabling environment for innovators to grow.

The meeting highlighted the establishment of Africa Innovation Facility by UNDP Africa and other initiatives set up in partnership with Motorola as commitments translated on the ground by the two organizations to support ICT innovations and projects that contribute to human development.

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