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Title: Tribal drums on the information superhighway : telematics and local community development in Kenya and South Africa.
Author: Kimani-Nuttall, Muthoni J.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3599 5210
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2000
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This thesis is concerned with the role of new information and communication technologies (lCTs) in community development. Bhalla and James (1988) have stated, 'The rapidly advancing scientific and technological frontier will inevitably have monumental consequences for the Third World ... Equally predictable, however, is that modem technologies will be deployed in developing countries ... ' With this in mind, questions central to the current research are asked: Is Africa being left behind in the new information revolution? Will the new ICTs aid deVelopment in African countries, and in particular, are local communities going to be empowered or marginalized? Is there room for optimism? To address these questions and investigate the potential of ICTs to aid community development, the author outlines the importance of community development, particularly the role played by small enterprises and women in development (Chapter Two). Further, the chapter looks at the information needs of these economic sectors and the intermediary bodies that have been formed to assist them. Chapter Three seeks to show the importance of technology within the development process, and in particular, the importance of local capacities and local technologies. These are deemed necessary for technology blending which adapts new technologies to local circumstances. In Chapter Four, the author reviews the growth ofICTs and related institutions identifying constraints that have been encountered and how they are being addressed. Significant is the discovery that African telecommunications generate higher profits than those in other parts of the world; this should allow efficiency gains which should permit major expansion in ICTs within current investment levels. Reports on field research carried out in Kenya and South Africa are given in Chapter Five. In both countries, small enterprises and women's development were identified as key players in community development. To this end, intermediary organizations involved in these two areas were identified for study: the Women's Bureau and the Kenya Industrial Estates in Kenya; and the Women's National Coalition, the Small Businesses Advisory Bureau, BRIDGES and Mamelodi in South Africa. Whilst all the organizations were providing benefits to target communities, the South African organizations showed greater capacity for delivering assistance. All demonstrated high management skills and exploited the new opportunities provided through a sound infrastructure and a political will, to extend assistance to local communities in various ways. The final Chapter draws reasoned conclusions pointing out three necessary success factors: infrastructure, management skills and political will. With these three critical factors in mind, the author makes recommendations to government, commerce and industry, agencies serving local communities, international agencies and to researchers. To this end, the thesis makes a contribution of value to all potential stakeholders. It also provides guidance to future researchers into African development.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Women and technology; Local access to IT