South African Women's Rural Development and E-Commerce

South African Women's Rural Development and E-Commerce

Jo Rhodes (Rhodes and Associates, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-575-7.ch115
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Increasingly, social, economic, and political progress is linked with the ability of countries to make informed, knowledge-based decisions with ICTs performing an increasingly crucial role in many societies in this regard. While the potentially transformative nature of ICTs suggests an unprecedented opportunity to overcome existing social divisions and inequalities, the role of ICTs in development is suffused with contradiction and paradox (Morales-Gomez & Melesse, 1998; Marcelle, 2002). The panoply of recent technological innovation along with the convergence of content, computing, and telecommunications has created new and pervasive applications, such as e-commerce and e-marketing, all of which can impact significantly on organizational processes. While it seems to be a common a priori assumption that ICTs can “empower” individuals and increase levels of social interaction and civic involvement (D’Allesandro & Dosa, 2001), little effort, so far, has been made to understand both the changes enabled by the new technologies, and how they can be meaningfully applied to an African rural trading context.

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