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The Diffusion of Cyber Cafés in Sub-Saharan Africa: Country Case Studies

The Diffusion of Cyber Cafés in Sub-Saharan Africa: Country Case Studies
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Author(s): Victor W. Mbarika (Louisiana State University, USA), Muhammadou M. O. Kah (Rutgers University, USA) and Moussa Keita (Southern University, USA)
Copyright: 2004
Pages: 4
Source title: Innovations Through Information Technology
Source Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-261-9.ch243
ISBN13: 9781616921255
EISBN13: 9781466665347

Abstract

Information technology use and access in Sub-Saharan Africa continue to increase significantly and has proven to be the major enabler that has helped users access and share information and knowledge resources globally. However, most users’ personal access to the internet from home and work place is hugely constrained due to lack of adequate infrastructure and affordability. With per capita incomes averaging less than $500 in most of Sub-Saharan Africa, families could hardly afford personal computers at home, and, if they do, they can barely afford internet access charges. Although, there is an increase in the number of PC’s at work places and homes in most of Sub-Saharan Africa, most are not network and hardly have internet access. It is only recently, that some Sub-Saharan African countries began liberalizing their telecommunication regimes allowing licensing of Internet Service Providers(ISP’s). These ISP’s and in some cases the incumbent telecommunication company responded to these constraints faced by users by building Internet community access centers called Cyber Cafés. This paper is an exploratory study of the diffusion of Cyber Cafés within the Sub-Saharan African region by studying country cases. Our findings suggest that these Cyber Cafés reduced the constraints faced by users in terms of infrastructure, access to PC’s and related ICT’s as well as affordability. This increased the number of users from different socio-economic backgrounds accessing and using the Internet for social, political and economic reasons. We also found a gradual and steady increase in Cyber Cafés and the magnitude and quality of service with increasing affordability.

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