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This report offers guidance on how digital technologies can be used to improve the lives of people in developing countries, while keeping a careful eye on the limitations and risks of focusing solely on hardware over people and processes. Technology is not a silver bullet and history is littered with poor investments in this area.

To ensure health and education services are effective, efficient and equitable, governments need to be wise with their choices. The time for these strategic decisions is now; waiting will risk further lost opportunities and lives further entrenched in inequality. This report sets out realistic visions for how developing countries can significantly improve their health and education systems by making effective use of data-driven technology, and more importantly, what governments working with stakeholders need to do next.

Key findings:

  • Technology, if properly harnessed, can be a game changer for health and education, for everyone; it can revolutionise patient health and the way students learn.
  • If digital technology reached the poorest and most marginalised people in the world effectively, vast human potential could be increased. Solutions are not just about shiny technology – but rather about diagnosing and fixing systemic problems first and using technology appropriately.
  • Digital solutions embedded in health and education systems can improve service delivery: by improving productivity and interconnectivity, and enabling more effective organisational designs. Getting this right presents vast opportunities, but when governments get it wrong, this will result in lost potential. 
  • We offer five future visions that could soon be a reality for health and education in developing countries – if the right investments are made now. 
  • Not taking action not only results in missed opportunities, but also risks further entrenching existing inequalities. This report offers a way forwards and highlights key digital building blocks to lay the digital foundations for future generations now.
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