Global travellers on the digital dirt road: international mobility, networks and ICT diffusion in Ghana
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This thesis focuses on the intersection of human mobility and technology diffusion in Africa. With Ghana as a case study, it looks at how the diffusion of internet access and use are influenced by international mobility. The research is based in the literature on the diffusion of innovations, international knowledge transmission, migration and development, and Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D). It begins from the hypothesis that international mobility may contribute to lowering barriers to internet penetration in developing countries by facilitating flows of resources, including equipment, finance, skills and knowledge. The research is based on four different datasets: a survey of the internet cafes in the North of Ghana and in Accra; an online survey of users in northern internet cafes; a network study incorporating internet cafe owners and managers in higher-value-added areas of the IT sector, and in-depth interviews with policymakers and donor organisations involved in ICT4D interventions. The data was analysed using a combination of fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and network analytic techniques including visualisation, statistical analysis and qualitative analysis. The findings show that international mobility makes an important contribution to the base of adoption capacity for new technologies in poor and remote regions. It enables entrepreneurs and IT workers to address market gaps that restrict access to material and financial resources; by providing access to international circuits of knowledge and ideas which help individuals gain a foothold in the IT sector, and by facilitating local private-sector provision of the internet through internet cafes which serve the hardest-to-reach populations. The thesis concludes by suggesting potential entry points for ICT4D and migration policy in developing countries regarding the efficiency and effectiveness of ICT4D interventions, the role of the private sector in promoting internet usership, and the role of mobility in building adoption capacity in low-income areas.
CitationTaylor, Linnet (2013) Global travellers on the digital dirt road: international mobility, networks and ICT diffusion in Ghana. Doctoral thesis, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex.
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- IDS PhD Theses