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The Impact of Connectivity in Africa: Grand Visions and the Mirage of Inclusive Digital Development

The Impact of Connectivity in Africa: Grand Visions and the Mirage of Inclusive Digital Development Corporations, development organisations and governments have launched ambitious programmes to ‘connect the unconnected’, reasoning that this creates economic growth and inclusive development. This paper contrasts these actors’ discourses with evidence from academic research. The evidence suggests a highly uneven economic impact of Internet connectivity across geographies and social strata. The analysed sources of discourse (African ICT policies and reports by international organisations) instead propose Grand Visions of connectivity, attributing a self‐evident positive, widespread, and transformational impact to the Internet. We discuss technological determinism, acontextual modernism, and optimistic simplism as underlying this contrast, calling for more reflexivity towards the opportunities of ‘digital development’. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries Wiley

The Impact of Connectivity in Africa: Grand Visions and the Mirage of Inclusive Digital Development

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References (59)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
© John Wiley & Sons
eISSN
1681-4835
DOI
10.1002/j.1681-4835.2017.tb00578.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Corporations, development organisations and governments have launched ambitious programmes to ‘connect the unconnected’, reasoning that this creates economic growth and inclusive development. This paper contrasts these actors’ discourses with evidence from academic research. The evidence suggests a highly uneven economic impact of Internet connectivity across geographies and social strata. The analysed sources of discourse (African ICT policies and reports by international organisations) instead propose Grand Visions of connectivity, attributing a self‐evident positive, widespread, and transformational impact to the Internet. We discuss technological determinism, acontextual modernism, and optimistic simplism as underlying this contrast, calling for more reflexivity towards the opportunities of ‘digital development’.

Journal

The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing CountriesWiley

Published: Mar 1, 2017

Keywords: ; ; ; ; ; ;

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