Sizing up information and communication technologies as agents of political development in sub-Saharan Africa

Nicholas Alozie, Patience Akpan, William A. Foster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

It is widely speculated that the emergence of modern information and communication technologies (ICTs) will boost political development in the developing world. This expectation anchors on solid foundation since, presumably, the ICT revolution would radically alter access to information, dislodge entrenched social cleavages, and unleash new patterns of citizen consciousness and civic engagement by hitherto marginalized mass publics, and orchestrate new and decisive political equilibriums. This research provides an empirical assessment of the impact of ICTs on political development in sub-Saharan Africa. The analysis suggests that speculation about the potential for ICTS to enhance political development in the sub-Sahara is not unrealistic. The levels of phone, computer, and Internet diffusion are associated with political development, although only the effect of the phone remains once other variables are specified. The phone is the most robust of all individual factors explaining variations in political development. However, the effect of ICTs on political development can neither be certified as revolutionary, nor can they be codified as panacea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)752-763
Number of pages12
JournalTelecommunications Policy
Volume35
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011

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Keywords

  • African development
  • Communication technologies
  • Developing countries
  • ICTs
  • Political development
  • Social networks
  • Sub-Saharan Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Information Systems
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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