Emerging Information and Communication Technology Policy Framework for Africa

Emerging Information and Communication Technology Policy Framework for Africa

Saul F.C. Zulu (University of Botswana, Botswana)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3417-4.ch050
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Abstract

While emerging information and communications technologies (ICTs) offer possible solutions to some of the problems of applying ICTs in Africa, there are many challenges that have to be addressed in order to create an environment that is conducive for harnessing these technologies. This chapter, therefore, reviews emerging ICTs and their potential for application in leveraging Africa's efforts towards meeting its development efforts. The Chapter highlights the digital divide barriers that may inhibit emergent ICTs in Africa. A review of current ICT policies of selected African countries indicates that the policies are geared towards application of ICTs other than their production. The review also reveals a lack of appreciation for emerging ICTs in Africa, both at the national as well as the sub-regional economic bloc levels. The chapter proposes policy frameworks for emerging ICTs for Africa that are necessary for creating an enabling environment for harnessing the emerging ICTs that will propel the continent into the 21st Century and beyond. The barriers to ICTs cut across many different issues. As such, they require multi-pronged policy approaches to address them. And that an emerging ICT environment must be anchored on a number of strategic policy frameworks including the legal, regulatory/administrative institutional framework, infrastructure, technology advocacy, financial, human resources, education and research frameworks. It concludes that Africa can prepare for its future by creating an appropriate environment for fostering the adoption and application of emerging technologies.
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Background

Emerging technology may mean different things to different people. As such, there is no standard, universally adopted definition of the term. The definitions of the term are therefore as diverse as the technologies to which they refer. According to Adomi (2009), emerging technologies are “those new and important technological developments in the field.”(p.87). The SAE International Emerging Technologies Advisory Board (2009) (originally known as Stanford Applied Engineering) describes emerging technologies as consisting of “…new technological discoveries that possess the potential to significantly affect the mobility industries; existing technologies that have impending new or revised applications; and major issues and trends that may have profound, new technology …” (p.1). Other definitions and descriptions of emerging technologies are provided by Mutula & Wamukoya (2007).

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