- An analysis of the rich experiences 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.
- The book is based on a review of national policy and implementation strategies, case studies of community ICT-access centres, and an analysis of the links between national strategies and on-the-ground experiences from 196 through 2003. Over 50 ICT-access centres, from both rural and urban settings, were reviewed. The executive, summary presents a series of lessons and practical recommendations for policymakers.
"... a solid assessment of the limitations that ICT access initiatives face at different levels ... Sarah parkinson also offers practical recommendations, which make the limitations seem less daunting ..."
- Nathan Russell, Director, Communications Unit, CIAT
Universal access is a common policy 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 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 rick 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 development impact.
Sarah Parkinson is a PhD Student, Rural Studies, University of Guelph, Canada. This book was written as part of an internship with Canada's International Development Research Centre (IRDC).