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Telecentres, Access and Development: Experience and Lessons from Uganda and South Africa

Sarah Parkinson
Practical Action Publishing, Fountain, IDRC

Available formats

Universal access is a common policy goal in which 100% of a population is able to make use of a publicly available resource, such as information and communication technologies (ICTs): telephone, fax, 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.

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. 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.

The author

Sarah Parkinson is a PhD student in Rural Studies at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. This book was written as part of an internship with Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC).