Local Content and SMEs

Local Content and SMEs

Stephen M. Mutula (University of Botswana, Botswana)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-420-0.ch011


There are diverse opinions in literature on the meaning of the term ‘content’ going by the different definitions encountered in the course of writing this book. The lack of unanimity on what constitutes ‘content’ suggests that the definition of ‘local content’ is most certainly not cast in stone. This chapter first begins by unpacking the concept of content, before proceeding to local content, and how they can be applied to enhance the business values of SMEs in the global digital economy. Some literature tends to suggest that if an idea, or information, knowledge or data, is not in digital format, then it is not content. Siemens (2003) falls into this category, believing content to consist of e-journals, images, graphics, videos, movies, websites, online databases, emails, online news, software, and animations, among others. Claiborne (2005) simply defines content as the “stuff on your site”. Some definitions do not differentiate between the media and content, while others perceive content to be recorded information or knowledge. Other definitions gleaned from the Web follow: content is everything included in a collection (WordReference, 2008); content refers to material that is of interest to users, such as text, images, music and movies (The Linux Information Project, 2005); content refers to information and experiences that may provide value to an end-user/audience (Wikipedia); and content is published information and experiences found in novels, movies, music, games, web pages, presentations, organised data, etc (Wiktionary). In their diversity, these varied definitions provide a framework for redefining the term ‘content’ on the one hand and ‘local content’ on the other.
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Local Content

The term ‘local content’ can be viewed as either a prefix of content or as its derivative. Consequently, like content, local content is a creation of the mind; in other words it is an intellectual product. UNESCO (2005) defines local content as the expression and communication of a community’s locally owned and adapted knowledge and experiences within the scope of a specific environment. A community, according to this definition, is signified by location, culture, language, or area of interest. Such a community can comprise a whole region, a sub-region, a nation, a village, or a group of people with strong cultural, linguistic, and/or religious ties. Ballantyne (2002) perceives local content to be the proportion of goods and services produced locally, i.e. the development of local skills, technology transfer, use of local manpower, and local manufacturing.

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