Activity Areas

Information and Communication Technologies for Development

Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) is a general term referring to the application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) within the field of social and economic development.

Fraunhofer AICOS focuses its ICT4D activities on the African continent, with a special emphasis on Mozambique, Angola and other PALOP countries. The primary target user group is ICT users in rural and developing areas. The objective is to provide innovative solutions for mobile devices that meet local demands and can have a significant impact on the quality of life.

One of the most dominant differences between ICT usage in industrial and developing countries is the type of devices and technologies utilized when interacting with ICT. In industrial countries interaction with ICT is made primarily via personal computers, while in developing countries the mobile phone took over the role as the primary device of access and interaction with ICT.

As Africa's one billion people are the world's fastest growing market for mobile phones, mobile devices like smart(er)-phones and mobile software solutions will play an increasingly dominant role.

We see a clear need and opportunities for joint research and development of mobile ICT solutions between European and African partners due to the following:

  • A different legislative, cultural, social and physical environment leads to different requirements for mobile ICT solutions. Most mobile ICT solutions in Europe aren’t conceived and designed having that in mind and thus do not meet the end users demands;
  • Africa itself is pioneering its own world-class mobile software solutions ranging from mobile money to mobile health.

Fraunhofer AICOS offers its expertise in mobile applications and services, especially in smart phone based solutions and in the areas of mHealth, human-computer interaction and user experience.


Projects and Activities:

Since the beginnings of the AFRICOMM Conference – an international ICST conference on e-Infrastructure and e-services for developing countries - Fraunhofer AICOS´ director Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dirk Elias has been a member of the conference committee.


A4D – Android for Developing – is an initiative promoted by Fraunhofer AICOS that aims at knowledge exchange on Android OS based programming for mobile phones with the African developer community.


Project GRA (Global Research Alliance) ICT4D - The GRA ICT4D project joins the efforts of VTT (Finland), CSIRO (Australia), the Meraka Institute (South Africa) and the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft in Germany and Portugal, to take advantage of each institute’s individual expertise to jointly develop a communication infrastructure suitable to provide Internet access in rural Sub-Sahara-Africa. The organization MachaWorks supports the initiative as a local anchor-point in rural Zambia.


ICT4D Strategy - Fraunhofer AICOS currently is setting up a competence center for ICT4D.


PostboxWeb - A Framework for occasionally connected and shared Android Smartphones

This is part of a larger activity that targets on the creation of 'Interface Institutes' that will help to develop high-tech products dedicated to African markets jointly between African universities and European R&D institutions in all field of applied research.

Download: ICT4D Flyer