New issue of akzente: ‘Digitalisation: Driving development’

01.03.2018 – The new issue of akzente, the GIZ magazine, is out today, providing background information, opinions and facts on digitalisation.

The new issue of akzente, the GIZ magazine, is published today and focuses on digitalisation. New technologies create opportunities, but there is unequal access to the benefits that they can bring: most of the 3.9 billion people around the world who are still offline live in the ‘global South’.

The author of our ‘In focus’ essay, Nanjira Sambuli, works for the World Wide Web Foundation, which campaigns to get more people in developing countries online at an affordable price. Being online means they can access knowledge – and it also provides numerous economic opportunities. Sambuli explores how digitalisation can become an even more powerful driver of development and open up prospects for every individual.

Shradha Sharma’s story illustrates what this can mean in practice. Years ago, the young Indian businesswoman came up with a brilliant idea – a platform to showcase young entrepreneurs and attract the attention of investors. Today, Your Story is India’s largest start-up platform, and Sharma herself is one of the country’s most successful digital entrepreneurs. In an interview with akzente, she explains why she believes digitalisation presents many more opportunities than risks and how it can even help narrow the divide between countries.

Meanwhile, an akzente report from Bangladesh illustrates the positive changes that digitalisation can bring. With support from GIZ, hospital administration in the country is being digitalised. As well as making doctors’ work easier and saving money, the initiative ensures that patients receive better care and epidemics are identified earlier.

It goes without saying, though, that digitalisation is not entirely free from risk. Constanze Kurz, voluntary spokesperson for the European hackers’ association Chaos Computer Club, makes the point forcefully in a guest article: she believes that there is a creeping crisis of confidence among users in relation to the virtual world. Their main concerns are attacks by hackers, inadequate data protection and fear of surveillance. Kurz calls on politicians to take the issue seriously: ‘Privacy is a fundamental human right that must be defended across borders, especially in the digital age and against the backdrop of international data companies.’

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