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Telecentres, Access and Development

Experience and Lessons from Uganda and South Africa

Telecentres, Access and Development by Sarah Parkinson
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Universal access is a common policy goal in which 100 per cent of a population is able to make use of a publicly available resource, such as information and communication technologies (ICTs): telephone, fax, computer, and Internet/e-mail. Universal access to ICTs has in recent years become a policy goal for many national governments, international development agencies, and intergovernmental agencies such as the United Nations. South Africa and Uganda, for example, made early and strong political commitment to the concept of universal access. ICTs, however, can represent both threat and promise: they may lead to greater opportunities for those who can partake of them, but they may also lead to greater exclusion for those who cannot. This book analyzes the rich experience of South Africa and Uganda in their quest for universal access, with particular emphasis on the role of shared access centres (public telephones, cybercafes, telecentres, business centres, etc.) and the factors that affect their performance. Further, the book examines the relationship between shared access centres, the goal of universal access, and strategies for sustainable development.

From the analysis, the author presents a number of recommendations for policymakers, donor agencies, and intermediaries (such as national NGOs, networks, and associations) that can be used to support and strengthen shared ICT-access centres and to increase their developmental impact.

International Development Research Centre; January 2005
173 pages; ISBN 9781552501894
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Title: Telecentres, Access and Development
Author: Sarah Parkinson