Web alliance for Regreening in Africa

Tackling Global Challenges Collaboratively: theme of the 6th International Symposium “Perspectives on ICT4D”

Amsterdam 23 May 2019 – The annual symposium “Perspectives on ICT4D”, organized by Victor de Boer and Anna Bon, was focused this year on transdisciplinarity — collaboration between academics and non-academics — in search of solutions for the Global Challenges of our Age. The theme was reflected in the talks by the speakers:

André Baart, from the Amsterdam Business School (UvA) highlighted the importance of original sources of user-based information ito ensure responsible production in Africa.

Lia van Wesenbeeck, director of the interdisciplinary Amsterdam Centre for World Food Studies (VU), discussed Global Challenges related to the nexus of Climate Change, Water, Energy and Food, showing how the complexity of the real world requires interdisciplinarity and active involvement of its stakeholders.

Hans Akkermans, one of the co-authors of the recently published Vienna Manifesto on Digital Humanism, discussed the implications of digitalisation permeating all spheres of life, and how this poses challenges in the transformation of Society. The Faculty of Informatics of the TU Wien, Austria, recently organised the first international workshop on Digital Humanism (on April 4-5, 2019 in Vienna) to discuss these challenges and critically reflect with renowned scientists from multiple disciplines on Digital Humanism. Hans presented the Internet as a Global Commons and the Design of TechnoSociality.

Jaap Gordijn discussed how to tackle sustainability of networked businesses in ICT4D, presenting a case from rural Sarawak (Malaysia).

Anna Bon launched her new book on ICT4D, Intervention or Collaboration? Rethinking Information and Communication Technologies for Development,  officially presenting it to her colleague and ICT4D researcher Francis Dittoh.

Book launch

This symposium is part of and marks the end of the elective master course ICT4D, in which this year about 50 students from Computer Science, Information Science and Artificial Intelligence participated. The students who had, during this course, developed a voice-based mobile information system for farmers in Mali and Ghana, according to their real needs and evaluated in the local context (Anna and Victor were in Mali during this course, a few weeks ago), pitched their projects and presented their posters and prototypes to the audience of the symposium. See e.g.


This ICT4D course is a special course, in which the students are taken through the full lifecycle of Information System development, including context analysis and information elicitation and modeling. This 6 ECTS master course in ICT4D, by Victor de Boer, Anna Bon and Francis Dittoh is unique in the world. Some reflections about this course by the students give an insight in the lessons learned.

The follow-up course “ICT4D in the Field”, in which the students will be taken into a real world development context themselves (in Sarawak Malaysia), is about to start on June 1st.

This symposium is supported and sponsored by SIKS, the Dutch Research School for Information and Knowledge Systems. Our research  and research-based education in ICT4D is made possible by various grants from NUFFIC and the EU within the Erasmus+ and NFP programs.