By Victor W. A. Mbarika
The Electronic Journal on Information Systems in Developing Countries EJISDC (2002), 9, 1, 1-13.
The digital divide between the West and Africa seems to be drawing closer for many northern and southern African countries in terms of information and communications technology. These countries are experiencing tremendous growth in use of computers, Internet connectivity, wireless communications and many other related technologies. However, the same is not true for Africa’s Least Developed Countries (LDCs) that are still greatly behind other regions of the world in terms of the level of basic telecommunications infrastructure such as teledensity (number of main telephone lines for every one hundred inhabitants).
While it is true that Africa’s LDCs have some Internet presence, it seems to be limited only to the urban elite. These countries may therefore not be in the position to exploit most of the benefits the Internet can offer. This study suggests a sound teledensity infrastructure as the precursor to the diffusion of various information and communications technologies. Furthermore this study proposes a set of strategies that Africa’s LDCs should consider as steps to improve growth of their teledensity
The Internet has become a worldwide phenomenon as it provides new ways of exchanging information and transacting business. The Internet is increasingly important to organizations in many of their business affairs. In fact, the use of the Internet as a vehicle for electronic commerce (e-commerce) has become standard operating practice in many corporations today (Ah-Wong et al. 2001; Rosenbaum, 2000). The world is rapidly moving toward Internetbased economic structures and information societies, which comprise networks of individuals, firms, and countries linked electronically in interdependent and interactive relationships (Meso and Duncan, 2000).