ICTD in Corporate Social Responsibility: Changing priorities in international development funding?
Keywordscorporate social responsibility (CSR)
information and communication technologies for development (ICTD)
millennium development goals
Management Information Systems
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AbstractThe study of technology and development has, since the mid-1990s, generated significant query into the impacts and adoption of technology within resource-deprived communities and geographies. Yet, there has been comparatively less query into the overall changes in development thinking that this “era of ICTD (Information and Communication Technologies for Development)” has brought along. In this paper, we examine ICTD from a funding perspective and find that technology-related giving plays an increasingly central role in the international social investments of several major firms. While an interest in spending on technology is indeed central to the interests of corporations in the technology sector, we find that a sizeable number of companies that do not make their money from technology are nonetheless including what one may consider “ICTD” projects in their corporate social responsibility (CSR) funding profiles. In our examination of this trend, we find that companies with profiles as diverse as banking (Citigroup), energy (ExxonMobil), and retail (Walmart) feature on this list of supporters for the technology and development cause. We explore the extent to which this can be considered a serious trend, and start a discussion on its broader implications, both in the reframing of ICTD and for the redistribution of sectoral composition of private aid flows towards international development as a whole.