s. nanduri, d. gavararaju - botho university · introduction definition of digital divide digital...
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S. Nanduri, D. Gavararaju
1 Botho College (BOTSWANA)2 Botho College (BOTSWANA)
IntroductionDefinition of Digital Divide digital divide is inequality of access of the internet. gap between those who do and do not have access to
computers and internet. Accesses according digital divide: Mental access which requires digital and ICT
experience. Material access: needs for ICT infrastructure. Skill access- ICT skills requirement. Usage access- ability to use ICT facilities.
Introduction(contd) Inequalities in the socio-economic (Kurbalija.J, 2010),
education, employment opportunities daily needs and necessities like food, shelter, and means of living causes digital divide.
Is the Digital Divide growing?Many important international reports such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Internal Labourorganization World employment report, suggest this.
There are however opposing views to this which highlight that the gap is not widening as has been reported. EgBrazil, China, and India
Affect of ICT on Societies
Pros: The lower labour and ICT commodity prices. Faster access and dissemination of information The ability to overcome limitations of the older
technologies such a copper cables, and analogue connections.
The capacity to manage resources including human resources to best optimal capacities
Affect of ICT on Societies(contd)Cons: The first world particularly the United States has an
advantage over the countries as they are established giants and the first-comers.
The ability to purchase goods from anywhere with a click of a mouse will have direct affect on the seller-buyer relation, which will not benefit the seller from the developing world.
The market is driven by shares and the high interest of these in the developed world is disadvantage to the developing world
Background of Study Development of the first world countries can be largely
attributed to the growth of their ICT capabilities infrastructure, industry, that the role of this industry cannot be undermined.
It is interesting to note that Botswana although lagging behind the advanced nations in ICT capabilities has improved dramatically over the recent years in this particular area.
This can be largely attributed the government polices such as National ICT policy, Maitlamo, and vision goals which played a major role in defining the direction of the ICT development in the country.
ICT Vision 2003A strategy statement, “IT Vision 2003” was created to able deal with
advances and consumption of ICT, by the Government IT steering committee which become part of the NDP 8 cycle. The ICT Vision 2003 however only considered the government sectors.
TO summarize, one of the key points of the ICT vision 2003:
To become a regional leader in ICT. To support the workforce and create a Data communication
Infrastructure The Government will continuously work with private players To create databases, of relevant and important information that
will assist administrators and decision makers.
Botswana ICT Policy, Maitlamo,2004Developed in April 2004, Key points: “Botswana will be a globally competitive, knowledge and
information society where lasting improvements in social, economic and cultural development is achieved through effective use of ICT.
Creation of an enabling environment for the growth of an ICT industry in the country;
Provision of universal service and access to information and communication facilities in the country; and
Making Botswana a Regional ICT Hub so as to make the country’s ICT sector globally competitive.”
Problem Statement for the StudySome of the challenges for the growth and development
of ICT in Botswana as stated in the Maitlamo(Maitlamo, Botswana’s National ICT Policy, 2004)
There is an inconsistent usage of ICT resources in Botswana.,
The pandemic of HIV/AIDs cannot be solved by technology, and only communication strategies can assist the process.
Public education which is a necessity in the modern world is constrained because of lack of resources and skills.
Problem Statement for the Study(contd) ICT sector was worth , 1 billion pula, foreign companies
benefitted from this money. There was still a significant gap in the agenda for e-
Government messages and the ground reality of the constituents.
The Botswana ICT capability can be considered average or above average in terms of infrastructure when compared to countries of the world.
There is however a need to develop the telecommunication infrastructure which is poor and there is need for more investment in this area.
The legal and judicial framework for ICT in Botswana is relatively advanced compared to many countries.
Significance of the Study African countries do not fare well compared to the
developed countries in ICT and innovation, as the key to the implementation of this is a sound economic system.
The interesting aspect is that economic liberalization polices have direct affect of improving the ICT infrastructure, as was the case with Ghana and South Africa.
The case study of Botswana will assist in better understanding and formulating the necessary strategies to reduce the digital divide in Botswana.
Factors Influencing Digital Divide Norris (2001) suggests a multidimensional approach to
digital divide which global, social and demographic digital divides. Castells (Castells, 2002) further identifies gap in the education, ethnicity, age, family/single, ability / disability as factors that create the digital divide.
Wilson (Wilson ,2006) suggests eight aspects of digital divide which are physical access to ICT facilities, accesses such as , financial, cognitive, design, content, production, institutional, political.
Factors Influencing Digital Divide(contd) It is interesting to observe that in a case study by
Oyelaran-Oyeyinka and Nyaki Adeya (2004) that the cost of internet was expensive in countries like Kenya and Nigeria than developed countries like the USA.
Van dijk argues about the Matthew effect (Van Dijk, 2006), which suggests that a powerful influence in the way the knowledge and information is handled has a direct effect in the creation of the digital divide.
Factors Influencing Digital Divide(contd)Looking at the above scenario it is important that an
alternative approach to solving the digital divide problem must be undertaken.
poor wealth distribution, and economic factors such as debt burdens
to deal with technologies that do not have a colonizing effect
Strategies to narrow Digital Divide Wait and see approach. The ability of third world countries to leap frog with
technology in the markets. Misconception that third world does not need
technologies: Telecommunication policy directly affects the digital
divide. Attracting foreign investment: Technologies for the third world:
An integrated approach of the above
Maitlamo influence in improving ICT in Botswana Seven task forces which will have an influence on the
policy were identified, being Community Access and Development, Government, learning, healthcare, Economic Development and the ICT sector, Infrastructure, legal & policy.
Community Centre creation.For example : targetsof 50 and 100 community access
centres by the dates December 31, 2010, and December 31, 2012 respectively.
Other initiatives which have direct bearing on the Maitlamo policy Eg Thutonet, e-Health
Influence of Maitlamo on ICT development in Botswana World Economic forum report(MmegiOnline,2012) ,
Global information technology report (GITR) showedthat Botswana’s overall ICT ranking had improved inthe year 2012.
The report is based on the core principles that governthe growth of the sector being policies andregulations, infrastructure, skills and affordability,usage and impact.
ICT capabilities of Botswana In fact Botswana had fared better than the regional
powerhouse, South Africa in the way core strategies being skills, and usage of the ICT facilities, and the resulting impact that that it showed in the social environment, were managed
The improvement in Botswana’s ranking can be attributed to the East Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy), which the government had spent 70 million pula. There has been another 250 million pula investment by the Botswana government in the submarine based West African Cable System (WACS), which is fiber optic cable to better the connectivity than the EASSy.
Internet Users in Botswana
Internet Users per 100 inhabitants
Challenges in the ICT environment in BotswanaEric Molale (MmegiOnline, 2011) was addressing this at
the introduction of the new IPv6 (Internet protocol version 6) explained some challenges in Botswana:
The allocation system of the internet addresses. Bandwidth of the networks, both intra and internet. The statutes to recognize and facilitate the daily usage
of e- documents and transactions. The priority given to spending on advertisements over
training staff of the latest e-service skills, latest technologies and the business environment.
Methodology This paper can be described as a work in progress, as
the attitudes of the ICT users which include aspects such urban-rural divide, gender, age, and education requires a comprehensive process of data collection and analysis.
These limitations are compounded with the problem of resources which include funding, time, and people who can assist in conducting a survey across Botswana while looking at representative populations based on the factors mentioned above.
MethodologyIn case the resources are available Questionnaires will be prepared using the Likert scale. Sampling techniques such as random or cluster could be
used for collecting data. Statistical software such as SPSS to provide results for
analysis by using t-tests, chi-squared etc. The authors intend to approach funding either local
which or international. This feedback will also be very useful to not just the
funding bodies but also to generally the Government of Botswana in assessing e-readiness.
Conclusions Digital divide is a social reality in developing
countries, and is largely influences by economic , social and political factors
Other Factors include economic investment into the infrastructure such as telecommunication, education and skills development of the populations, accessibility and usage, legal and policy frameworks that will secure businesses and attract investors.
Conclusions(contd) Botswana case study is clear indication that creating
ICT policy i.e. Maitlamo and providing the legal frameworks that will assist in creating secure environment for e-commerce.
The usage of internet has grown the years which can be largely attributed to the factors mentioned above.
Investment by the government of Botswana in the East Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy), and West African Cable System (WACS is step in the right direction.