Integrating ICTs in African Development: Challenges and Opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa

Integrating ICTs in African Development: Challenges and Opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa

Bobak Rezaian (The World Bank, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-949-6.ch185
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Abstract

This chapter reviews the role of information and communication technologies in socioeconomic development and poverty-reduction programs in sub-Saharan countries. To this end, the author first provides an overview of the status of ICTs and national ICT strategies in sub-Saharan Africa. He then analyzes the treatment of ICTs in three major policy documents that provide the framework for economic growth and poverty reduction efforts in most developing countries. These are (a) national poverty-reduction strategies, (b) country assistance strategies of the World Bank, and (c) poverty-reduction support credits. The analysis reveals that while a majority of national ICT policies strongly promote the use of ICTs for socioeconomic development, the poverty-reduction and country assistance strategies focus primarily on the use of ICTs in public-sector management. Hence, there is a persistent disconnection between the ICT policies and the poverty-reduction strategies. The author identifies some of the main challenges and the substantial opportunities that would arise from the mainstreaming of ICTs in national development initiatives.

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