Wrong side of the digital divide

As the western world moves into an information age experts from around the world are getting together to develop strategies to ensure developing countries don’t get left behind.

Experts will gather at the 5th World Association for Sustainable Development Conference (WASD), jointly hosted by the Griffith Asia Institute and the Griffith Business School (GBS), in Brisbane this month.

GBS Senior Lecturer Dr Moazzem Hossain said the conference, based around the theme ‘Managing Knowledge, Technology and Development in the Era of Information Revolution’, would help to bridge the technology gap.

“Rapid technological development is moving the world from the industrial age to an information age,” Dr Hossain said.

“As the gulf in the levels of science and technology between the developed and the developing countries widens, the rapid expansion of the internet and the speedy transition to digitalisation presents developing countries with a growing challenge.

“Developing countries have to become an integral part of the knowledge-based global culture or face the very real danger of finding themselves on the wrong side of the digital divide.”

Dr Hossain said this was an uphill battle as most technological innovation was frequently designed in ignorance of developing countries’ realities and failed to address the needs of the most disadvantaged sections of the community.

“In many cases industrialised countries are more concerned with profitability than broader goals for improving use of information technologies in developing countries.”

The conference promotes that technologies must be designed and manufactured according to economically sustainable principles.

“Governments are now making efforts in relation to digital strategy as means of embracing technological changes and remaining competitive within a sustainable development context,” Dr Hossain said.

Experts from Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Jordan, India, Qatar, Fiji, Botswana, South Africa, Bangladesh, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, New Zealand and Kazakhstan will present.

Discussions will cover everything from the sustainable economic development of Kazakhstan to socially responsible investments and more.

A plenary session on climate change and the threats to the growth of both more developed and developing nations has also been organised.

The WASD Conference will be held at Griffith’s Nathan campus, Brisbane from October 29 — 31. For further information visit www.worldsustainable.org/conferences/conf5_venue.html