This paper presents a case study of the adoption of telemedicine in Rwanda. Three major constructs which influence adoption and use of telemedicine technologies are theoretically reviewed and examined in these projects: technology readiness (infrastructure and sophistication of use), organization readiness (financial support and hybrid medical and technical skills and knowledge), and government readiness (policy and strategy). The research examined the national telemedicine project which has been implemented in three hospitals.
Data was collected through semi-structured interviews with stakeholders associated with the project and an in-depth review of related documentation and reports of the project. The study found that Rwanda has developed basic telemedicine capabilities in using video conferencing to enhance a participatory approach in teaching and facilitate continuous medical education and training. The findings suggest that the commitment of government to telemedicine, the strategic choice of using low-cost and less complex technologies, and strategic partnerships with educational and technology companies are factors which have influenced telemedicine implementation in Rwanda. The paper concludes that low-cost innovations which are adaptable to the resource constraints in developing countries may be the appropriate path towards developing sustainable telemedicine initiatives.
Keywords-telemedicine, Rwanda, teleconferencing, ehealth
Boateng, R., Mbarika, V., Johnson, O. and Saiba, E. (2010) ‘The Challenge of Taking Baby Steps’ – Preliminary Insights into Telemedicine Adoption in Rwanda, Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on ICT for Africa, March 25-27, Yaounde, Cameroon. Baton Rouge, LA: International Center for IT and Development.
Enhancing Micro-Trading Capabilities through Mobile Phones: The Case of Women Traders in Ghana
This paper investigates the impact of mobile phones on the micro-trading activities of women traders in Ghana. The research develops a conceptual model analyzing the impact of mobile phones on pre-trade, during-trade and post-trade activities. A case study approach is adopted and the findings suggest that traders primarily use mobile phones to communicate and exchange information in pre-and post-trade activities. A few traders innovatively also use them to manage customer details and scheduling deliveries in during-trade activities. This innovative use of mobile phones is a function of their pre-knowledge which may have been developed through formal education and/or social networks. Improving information management through mobile phones directly or indirectly contributes to the economic empowerment of the trader. The study concludes that developing the capabilities of the poor to use basic mobile functions and services, beyond voice calls, should define the agenda of future research, polices and strategies towards the “mobiles for development” movement. The conceptual model developed may inform future research in mobile phones and micro-trading activities. Read the rest of this entry »
Calling for programmed technology transfer and adoption strategies for sustainable growth of world’s LDCs
Calling for Focus on Developing Countries
The world’s least developed countries (LDCs) remain in a state of a quandary as to how best to partake in the global information age. These countries have historically lagged the world in most aspects of development, and the age of technology presents new challenges. We offer what we believe to be the right strategies for the affected countries to catch up with the rest of the world. It may be easy to say we should just flood the regions with modern technologies, but by and large this strategy has not worked for most developing countries, as it is tantamount to providing someone with fish rather than teaching them how best to fish [6, 10]. Actually, the fish simile does not adequately capture the ICT situation, considering the fact that technologies are not simple artifacts, and their meaningful use and application depend on local contents, culture, etc.
The success of SSA and other LDCs is in the interest of the whole world. The 690 million people in SSA make up 88% of the world’s least developed countries [6, p.7]. Many of the examples in this paper are based on experiences in SSA, but they are applicable to other developing countries of the world. Developing countries make up 75% of the world’s population and currently share only 16% of the world’s products [9, p.74]. Mainstream Information Systems research with a focus on developing countries and SSA is very rare [9, p.74].
One of the motivations for this paper is to enhance the understanding of the interactions that come to bear between some socio-economic development needs and factors generally innate to Sub-Sahara Africa and other developing countries that manifest to impede technological transfer, adoption, and diffusion. We present an integrated view of the problems and recommendations to help policy makers, IT practitioners, donor organizations, private investors, and others to devise meaningful policies that would help the regions reach their potentials. We believe that the programmed approach we are proposing would help transform these technological deserts (where many band-aid approaches have failed) into oases of technological use, development, and production.
Musa, P., Mbarika, V., & Meso, P. (2005). Calling for programmed technology transfer and adoption strategies for sustainable growth of world’s LDCs. Communications of the ACM, 48(12), 111-116.
“Eyes could kill me each time I walked about the streets with my handset,”
says Siri Nchise, a 29‑year‑old customer service representative for an Internet service provider in the African city of Douala, in the Littoral Province of Cameroon. In the past five years, she’s had three cellphones stolen. She keeps buying new ones, because they are the only practical way to connect to friends, family, and business associates.
On a continent where rolling blackouts, undrinkable water, and fetid mounds of refuse remain the stuff of everyday existence, wireless telecommunications services stand out as a rare, perhaps unique, technological success story. Tens of millions of ordinary Africans just like Nchise carry cellphones today, something not even the richest of them could have possessed barely a decade ago. And every month, millions more dial into the 21st century, with profound implications for African economies and societies.
It might come as a surprise that sub‑Saharan Africa— with 34 of the 50 poorest countries on Earth according to the United Nations—is now the world’s fastest growing wireless market. But there’s no arguing with the statistics: the number of mobile subscribers in 30 sub‑Saharan Africa countries, not including South Africa, rose from zero in 1996 to more than 82 million in late 2004, according to the latest figures from the International Telecommunication Union, in Geneva. The rate of growth for the entire continent has been more than 82 percent per year compared with the 33 percent annual growth rate in the Americas; in Cameroon, Kenya, Senegal, and Tanzania, growth rates are running in excess of 300 percent. Nigeria, Africa’s largest country, with 140 million inhabitants, has only about 500 000 landlines, or approximately 1 for every 280 people. In that country 19 million mobile phone subscribers have signed on since 2000, and the Nigerian Communications Commission projects the total number of subscribers to grow to 50 million by 2010.
Africa is going wireless for a very simple reason: its national telecommunications monopolies are poorly managed and corrupt, and they can’t afford to lay new lines or maintain old ones. So in most sub‑Saharan countries not even 1 percent of the population have landline‑connected telephones. That compares with more than 10 lines per 100 people in Latin America and more than 64 per 100 in the United States. Indeed, Tokyo and New York City each has more fixed‑line telephones than the whole of sub‑Saharan Africa. These numbers are even more daunting when you consider that fixed lines tend to be concentrated in capital cities, leaving rural communities totally bereft. For instance, while the country of Senegal has about 140 000 lines, 65 percent, or 91 000, of those lines are in the capital city of Dakar. Read the rest of this entry »
This study investigates experts’ assessments of the pertinent factors affecting e-business in developing countries from a theory-based national infrastructure perspective. We surveyed experts (business people, academicians, and officials of governmental and nongovernmental organizations) in e-business in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Our PLS analysis shows that experts believed that policies targeted specifically towards e-business are important in affecting e-business capabilities and in obtaining value from e-business, more so than non-specific general ICT policies, which are not significantly influential. ICT infrastructure generally affects e-business capabilities, though this was not found to be the case in Brazil. Experts believed that national government institutions positively affect e-business value in SSA, but not in Latin America. Experts did not believe that commercial infrastructure significantly affects e-business value.
This study theoretically and empirically distinguishes between two different dimensions of e-business outcomes: specific capabilities and value derived from e-business. It operationalizes the effects of national government institutions and commercial infrastructure on e-business outcomes and empirically tests for their effects. The study provides empirical support for conceptual arguments for the need of ICT policies specific to the needs of e-business.
Okoli, C., Mbarika, V., & McCoy, S. (Forthcoming) The Effects of Infrastructure and Policy on E-Business in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. European Journal of Information Systems.
Improving information systems undergraduate education is an important measure for developing countries to take advantage of information and communication technologies for socio-economic development.
However, the current discourse on development of information systems education programmes in developing countries identifies a gap between proposed models for curriculum development and the adaptation to the local context. This paper argues for the need to address local adaptations when implementing a globally defined information systems curriculum for undergraduate education in sub-Saharan Africa. The case is made from a review of research on global information systems curriculum processes, lessons learned from development work in the sub-Saharan region in general, and from information and communication technologies implementations in particular. A question-based curriculum adaptation model is suggested which highlights relevant considerations in making sustainable and scalable local adaptations of a global curriculum model. The model provides a structural approach to aid the formulation of a locally adapted curriculum, where the global topics of an information systems education are merged with the areas of the local societal environment, the current status of information and communication technology infrastructure, and issues of sustainability.
Larsson, U. and Boateng, R. (2009). Towards A Curriculum Adaptation Model for IS Undergraduate Education in sub-Saharan Africa, Conference on Informatics Research in Scandinavia (IRIS 32), Norway, August 9-12 2009.