Use and appropriation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in development: The experiences of Uganda and Zimbabwe
Tapiwa, Clapperton Kamuruko
MetadataShow full item record
There are high hopes about the role that new technologies in the information and communication sector can play in development. When properly planned, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can improve lives, increase knowledge sharing, and boost socio-economic development. ICT’s potential to enhance basic social service delivery, attain national development goals as well as to deliver globally agreed development agendas has been well documented. However, given that ICT for development is relatively new to developing countries, enhanced understanding on user patterns of various forms of ICT by different population groups is still a prerequisite. The objective of this study was to assess the use and appropriation of different forms of ICT in development based on the experiences of Uganda and Zimbabwe. The two countries provided a good basis for a comparative study due to the varying experiences in reforms, their regulatory frameworks, and socio-economic growth patterns. The study was predicated on the information society theory because of the central role of ICT in knowledge sharing. Of particular interest was the perennial dichotomy between rural and urban areas in terms of access and capacity to use different forms of ICT. Questionnaires, interviews, and case studies from Uganda and Zimbabwe were used to collect data. The study noted high technology appreciation across different groups. Specifically the penetration of the mobile phone was phenomenon. The radio remains the most accessible tool for communication by different socio-economic groups. The study concluded that the use of ICT in development must be informed by a good understanding of user patterns by different groups of the population. It further noted that commitment on reforms supported by good legislation and policies was an essential and critical element for the performance of the sector. Additionally, a strong political and market environment was a prerequisite for the growth of a robust ICT sector.