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Information infrastructure development in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Yahaya, Lateef Folarin (2000) Information infrastructure development in Sub-Saharan Africa. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

Since the post-war period researchers have been pointing to a shift towards a new techno-economic paradigm. Whilst the macroeconomic impact of this powerful wave of technology has yet to be determined, it is sensed intuitively as being more important than generally suspected and to have major multiplier effects on national development. The convergence of information technology and modern communications has raised renewed hopes for enhancing national development in developing countries. At the same time, there are legitimate fears of increased marginalisation for those countries that fail to keep pace in the technological race. Grappling with the complexity involved in constructing an infrastructure that can improve their ability to achieve development objectives, and may lay the foundations for their future competitive advantage, few Sub-Saharan African countries have constructed a coordinated policy response to the complexities involved in creating an effective information infrastructure. Economically and politically fragile, and with only the promise of technological potentialities, the vast majority of African policy-makers are adopting a cautious approach. In the face of such a policy vacuum external actors such as multilateral development agencies, have taken it upon themselves to design, implement and fund initiatives with the idea of information infrastructure at their core. Such initiatives, whilst bringing much needed infrastructure to the region, are often short-termist in outlook and do not necessarily dovetail with local development objectives. If less developed countries and regions are to implement telecommunication networks and information services that will serve their interests, they must prioritise objectives that rest firmly in their particular economic, political, cultural and social context. Within a broad, multi-dimensional research schema, the research examines the main actors in the field of information infrastructure development in Africa. These are identified as development agencies, indigenous government and the foreign private sector. By articulating the respective roles of these actors and their spheres of influence, the research provides a coherent understanding of information infrastructure development activities within Sub-Saharan Africa. The research outlines a policy framework, which at both the conceptual and practical levels, argues that government plays the critical role in articulating national strategies for the coordination of disparate actors and scarce resources. The main contribution of the research is a practical policy framework that pinpoints priority areas for information infrastructure development within the Sub-Saharan Africa region.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sub Saharan Africa Studies, Information Technology
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > Information Systems and Innovation Group
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2246

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