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Title: Closing the digital divide in Africa : the role of mobile telecommunications and universal access and service policies
Author: Arakpogun, Ogiemwonyi
ISNI:       0000 0004 7965 5623
Awarding Body: Northumbria University
Current Institution: Northumbria University
Date of Award: 2018
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The liberalisation of telecommunications market in Africa, which was propelled by a sector-wide reform at the turn of the millennium, has led to an unprecedented level of mobile penetration. Despite the progress that has been achieved, evidence also indicates that the market has failed to address the widespread provision of telecommunications, with pockets of digital divides of uneven mobile coverage existing across the continent albeit to varying degrees. The efforts of governments in Africa to close this digital divide have given rise to a range of universal access and service (UAS) policies. The thesis investigates the interplay between market liberalisation, market failure and UAS to understand why digital divide persists across Africa and how this problem could be mitigated. Adopting a qualitative multi-case study approach, the thesis finds that a set of complex issues interact to impede the widespread provision of telecommunications services. Drawing on the public interest and economic efficiency perspectives of market failure, regulatory capacity and transaction costs emerged as the two key underpinning issues on which a model for closing the digital divide in Africa was then developed. We find that since regulators across Africa are largely faced with limited human and financial resources, they tend to lack the capacity to formulate robust UAS policies, implement and effectively monitor UAS activities. On the other hand, since mobile network operators (MNO) are profit driven, the transaction costs of network deployment and maintenance is critical in shaping investment decision so much so that they tend to concentrate on commercially viable areas. The model argues that UAS policy should be formulated in a manner that empowers regulatory authorities with adequate resources to promote widespread access to telecommunication services and, at the same time, facilitate economic efficiency in order to make it feasible for MNO to economically provide infrastructure and services.
Supervisor: Whalley, Jason ; Wanjiru, Roseline Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: N100 Business studies ; N900 Others in Business and Administrative studies