The Internet made in-roads in Mali since early 1992. However, the diffusion of the Internet has been dawdling up to now as recent statistics show that only 60,000 Malians actively use the Internet. Moreover, most of the users live in the capital city, Bamako, where cyber cafés are the preferred Internet access locations. These Internet centers provide multiple services such as Voice over IP (VOIP), fax, and foods; a cheaper and affordable means of access while offering citizens an opportunity to socialize. The monopolistic environment in Mali appears to be the primary reason of the current condition. In this study, we will use the Global Diffusion of the Internet (GDI) Framework to assess the diffusion of the Internet in Mali. The six GDI dimensions: Pervasiveness, Dispersion, Sectoral Absorption, Connectivity Infrastructure, Organizational Infrastructure, and Sophistication of Use will allow us to share a clear picture of the Internet diffusion process while identifying the most significant barriers.
Beyond the assessment of the diffusion of the Internet, we strive to investigate the socio-economic impacts of the diffusion. That is, Malians are using the Internet to promote education, reduce poverty, prevent illnesses, and communicate with the world. Finally, we will elaborate on the policy implications and the role of the local government in promoting a responsible diffusion of the Internet in line with socio-economical and cultural realities.
<hr/>Mbarika, V., Samake, K., Akpan-Obong, P., Bradley, R., & Anthony Byrd, T. (May 2007). The Internet: an engine for socio-economic change in Mali. Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries, São Paulo, Brazil.