Calling for Focus on Developing Countries
The world’s least developed countries (LDCs) remain in a state of a quandary as to how best to partake in the global information age. These countries have historically lagged the world in most aspects of development, and the age of technology presents new challenges. We offer what we believe to be the right strategies for the affected countries to catch up with the rest of the world. It may be easy to say we should just flood the regions with modern technologies, but by and large this strategy has not worked for most developing countries, as it is tantamount to providing someone with fish rather than teaching them how best to fish [6, 10]. Actually, the fish simile does not adequately capture the ICT situation, considering the fact that technologies are not simple artifacts, and their meaningful use and application depend on local contents, culture, etc.
The success of SSA and other LDCs is in the interest of the whole world. The 690 million people in SSA make up 88% of the world’s least developed countries [6, p.7]. Many of the examples in this paper are based on experiences in SSA, but they are applicable to other developing countries of the world. Developing countries make up 75% of the world’s population and currently share only 16% of the world’s products [9, p.74]. Mainstream Information Systems research with a focus on developing countries and SSA is very rare [9, p.74].
One of the motivations for this paper is to enhance the understanding of the interactions that come to bear between some socio-economic development needs and factors generally innate to Sub-Sahara Africa and other developing countries that manifest to impede technological transfer, adoption, and diffusion. We present an integrated view of the problems and recommendations to help policy makers, IT practitioners, donor organizations, private investors, and others to devise meaningful policies that would help the regions reach their potentials. We believe that the programmed approach we are proposing would help transform these technological deserts (where many band-aid approaches have failed) into oases of technological use, development, and production.
Musa, P., Mbarika, V., & Meso, P. (2005). Calling for programmed technology transfer and adoption strategies for sustainable growth of world’s LDCs. Communications of the ACM, 48(12), 111-116.