Reflections of the 10th ICT4D Conference, Lusaka – Zambia


Reflections of the 10th ICT4D Conference, Lusaka – Zambia

On the 8-10th of May, 2018 all roads led to Lusaka for the 10th ICT4D conference which saw an attendance of more than 700 ICT experts, program managers and senior executives from 80 countries. The conference was held at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka, Zambia.

ICT4D Conferences are the largest event within the humanitarian development sector and are held annually it was founded in Nairobi in 2010. The 2018 edition sought to map out the path for technology to make maximize its impact on improving humanitarian relief and development work.

The conference was comprised of plenary sessions, panel discussions, demonstrations, field visits and parallel sessions that ran simultaneously thematically. The following were the thematic sessions :-

  • Agriculture and Environment
  • Collaboration and Openness
  • Digital Financial Inclusion
  • Education
  • Health and Nutrition
  • Humanitarian Response
  • Livelihoods

Interesting discussions came up in the plenary sessions, l liked the discussion on digital transformation on Tuesday where the panelists attested to the potentials of digitization in solving the challenges facing the developmental world.

The World Food Programme representative outlined how the digital transformation is used by the agency in the fight for hunger and what technologies they have adopted. In the second plenary, the subject of big data and responsible data for development was discussed by panelists.

Agriculture and Environment

I attended the thematic meetings on agriculture and environment which l found very interesting and well put up, and there was a number of sessions still to choose from. The very initial session was a discussion on “Big Discussion: Digital Ag –Beyond the Myth and Hype”, the discussants focused on the issues and constraints in the agricultural domain that needed modern digital technologies.

Another interesting highlight of the Agriculture and Environment thematic area was the subject of drone use in agriculture. The session, “Drones for Precision Agriculture” and “Drones for Agriculture: Potential and Challenges” were very enlightening. The latter was supported by The Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and iDrone Services a CTA partner in Zambia.

The sessions focused on what drones are, what types are available, how they are used in agriculture, including the drone regulations – participants were pointed to the drones’ regulations database.

Additionally, a panel discussion on drones for agriculture was held on Wednesday, with key partners including CTA. A number of issues were raised and the application of drones in agriculture was reviewed. The pinnacle of the drones use in agriculture was the filed visit to York Farm where CTA and iDrone demonstrated drones and how they are used in the farm.

The e-Agriculture team will follow-up these presentation made in agriculture and environment section for the benefits of our users.

The conference ended on a high note with all participants concurring to its success. There was a call for Africa to develop local ICT solutions which should address identified local needs.