Alleviating poverty with ICTs is not as straightforward as merely installing the technology, but it is not conceptually complex either. Provided a few relatively simple principles can be followed, it seems likely that widespread poverty alleviation can be achieved with ICTs. The main challenges are not actually in the technology; they lie in the coordination of a disparate set of local and national factors, each of which can derail efforts if not taken into account.
In summary, the following five principles emerge from the ICT for Poverty Alleviation Framework described above:
- Strategize for poverty alleviation, not for ICT
- Reform telecommunications through privatization, competition and independent regulation
- Promote public access: aggregate demand for sustainability (which is not only financial)
- Reform institutions to achieve transformational benefits
- Develop appropriate approaches for listening to the poor
As a crosscutting multidimensional approach to development, ICTs can stretch implementation energies to the full. They also challenge traditional approaches to development. But they promise substantial improvements in the daily lives of millions of poor people. The framework for poverty alleviation is offered as a tool for guiding efforts towards achieving this potential. The framework allows for a full consideration of the range of relevant critical factors prior to embarking on implementation as well as for post-hoc reflections on outcomes. It represents a first effort, and it is acknowledged that other, similar tools exist. Through a combination and further synthesis of experiences and observations, the framework can become a practical tool for use by planners and policy-makers with general applicability in multiple contexts.