Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for Industrial Development: Challenges and Opportunities

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for Industrial Development: Challenges and Opportunities

Felichesmi Selestine Lyakurwa (Mzumbe University, Tanzania) and Joseph Sungau (Mzumbe University, Tanzania)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0539-6.ch012
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Abstract

Applicability of ICT has gained high research interests in both developed and developing countries due to the perceived social and economic benefits. With increased benefits of ICTs, many governments have invested heavily in the emerged technologies to gain competitive advantange over others in the business. Despite the high investment by many countries around the world, yet there are inadequate documentation about the cost - benefits of the massive ICT investment in developing countries especially Africa. Hence, developing an empirical study to reveal the perceived cost - benefits of ICT investment for the industrial development is critical. This chapter, presents a comprehensive review of various studies conducted in different countries of the world detailing the extent of ICTs, barriers hindering its use and the potential benefits. To date, there is existing empirical evidence to support the role of ICTs for industrial development in the developing countries, while the benefits of ICTs for industrial development in developing countries of Asia and Africa are not well documented.
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Background

Information technology is critical towards the development of both manufacturing and service industries. In efforts to ensure availability of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), many developed and developing countries around the world have been invested and still investing heavily in ICT. The investments have been targeting at improving organizations efficiencies of their offerings. The countries have been investing in both human (staff) and physical resourses (machines and equipments). Not only that, but also, the countries have been investing in technological transfer issues to empower their countries to adopt available proven technology (Bankole et al., 2011).

Many scholars from different regions of the world, have defined technology in different ways and their definitions vary in terms of scope and perspectives but, yet they contain similar message. For instance, Scientists define technology as the branch of knowledge that deals with creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society and the environment, drawing upon such subjects as industrial arts, engineering, applied science and pure science. Under the economists perspectives, technology is defined as the purposeful application of information in the design, production and utilization of goods and services and in the organization of human activities. And then, sociologists defined technology as the product or the outcome of human activity. However, in broader means, technology can be defined as the technical means through which people use to improve their surroundings and also the knowledge of using tools, machines and various scientific approaches to do tasks efficiently. Considering the definitions of technology given by different scholars, you can see the definitions are centered on applying different tools and techniques so as to simply work and achieve high productivity in the organization.

Technology has many importances to the society be it improved livelihood, safety at workplaces, timely access to information about health, education, markets and so on. Many countries have been investing in technologies in order to boost their economic growth. Technology has been diffusing from developed countries to less developed countries. Developing countries need to adopt the developed technologies. In this regard technology is very important to societies which need development. In oder to adopt the appropriate technology, the adopting organizations need to ask herself the following questions; how easy does the industrial technology diffused in both developed and developing countries? What obstacles hindered exploitation of ICT by industries and how these obstacles were resolved?

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