ï»¿Importance of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Making a Heathy Information Society
There is widespread research interest in information and communication technologies (ICTs). According to Crede & Mansell (1998), ICTs are crucially important for sustainable development in developing countries. Thioune (2003) notes that for the past two decades most developed countries have witnessed significant changes that can be traced to ICTs. These multi-dimensional changes have been observed in almost all aspects of life: economics, education, communication, and travel. In a technology-driven society, getting information quickly is important for both sender and ...view middle of the document...
This is evidenced by an increasing array of information-intensive products and services (Martin, 1988).
Annan (2002) notes that the information society is a way for human capacity to be expanded, built up, nourished, and liberated by giving people access to tools and technologies, with the education and training to use them effectively. There is a unique opportunity to connect and assist those living in the poorest and most isolated regions of the world. Informatization of society is a major hurdle that most nations, especially developing countries, are encountering. The information society or information age is a phenomenon that began after 1950, which brings challenges as we seek to integrate and expand the universe of print and multimedia sources. The two terms are often used to describe a cybernetic society in which there is a great dependence on the use of computers and data transmission linkages to generate and transmit information (Bruce, 1995).
The African Information Society (AISI) document (2005) argues that Africa should build, by the year 2010, an information society in which every man, woman, child, village, public and private sector office has secured access to the use of computers and telecommunications media. The objective is to provide every African with the possibility of using the communication and data processing services available everywhere else, just like any other citizens of the world.
ICTs for Informing Citizens
One of the identified agents through which the world will constantly experience change is technology. In the business of trying to make information available in the right form to the right user both at the personal and organizational levels, and at the right time, the bid to cope with great flood of information has led to the need for a more sophisticated way of handling information faster and better.
According to Anyakoha (1991), information technology is "the use of man made tools for the collection, generation, communication, recording, re-management and exploitation of information. It includes those applications and commodities, by which information is transferred, recorded, edited, stored, manipulated or disseminated". Hawkridge (1983) describes information technology as a revolution which has penetrated almost all fields of human activity, thus transforming economic and social life. UNDP (2001) asserts that even if sustainable economic growth facilitates the creation and diffusion of useful innovations, technology is not only the result of growth but can be used to support growth and development. ICTs are credited with the ability to transform, and deep and significant changes are expected from their widespread use in Africa. From this stand point Africans can take maximum advantage of the new technologies even if major challenges remain. These challenges include adapting ICTs to local conditions and uses in developing countries, and allowing each country understand those innovations and adjust them...