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ICT Pathways to Poverty Reduction: Empirical Evidence from East and Southern Africa

Edith Ofwona Adera, Timothy M. Waema, Julian May, Ophelia Mascarenhas, and Kathleen Diga
Practical Action Publishing, IDRC

Available formats

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have been proven to promote economic growth, but do we know that ICTs reduce poverty? This book provides new empirical evidence on access to and use of ICTs and their effect on poor households in four East African countries: Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. It addresses the questions: Do women benefit economically from using ICTs? Are the livelihoods of rural users boosted? Which ICTs are being used by low-income entrepreneurs?

ICT Pathways to Poverty Reduction presents a conceptual framework to analyze how the dynamics of poverty change over time and to shed light on whether ICT access benefits the poor as well as the not-so-poor. The chapters contain case studies on how various forms of ICTs affect different aspects of poverty based on research in East and Southern African countries at the household level or in small and medium enterprises. Six of the chapters in this book are based on data from the PICTURE Africa study between 2007 and 2010. Two additional chapters detail country-specific studies based on findings from other research projects. Overall, the study concluded that ICTs make a difference to the livelihoods of the poor and contribute to reducing both financial and non-financial dimensions of poverty.

ICT Pathways to Poverty Reduction is essential reading for policymakers and researchers in international development, as well as staff of development agencies working on livelihoods for the poor.

The editors

Edith Ofwona Adera is senior program specialist, International Development Research Centre, Canada.

Timothy M. Waema is a professor at the Institute for Social Development, University of Nairobi, Kenya.

Julian May is a professor at the Institute for Social Development, University of the Western Cape, Belleville, South Africa.

Ophelia Mascarenhas is an independent consultant in ICTs, gender, and social development in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Kathleen Diga is project manager, School of Built Environment and Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.