Rethinking “The Missing Link”: A Capability-based Approach to ICT and Development in Developing regions of Asia-Pacific

By Fononga V. Mangisi- Mafileo.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The globalization of the Digital Divide discourse has been partially accredited to The Maitland Report: The Missing Link (1985) as a grand narrative, prescribing a disparity in the diffusion of modern network technologies in Developing countries as a source of their underdevelopment. The report was premised on assumptions that if communication technologies generally and telecommunications infrastructures specifically, were adopted, this would create various kinds of socio-economic opportunities and growth. However, the diffusion of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in developing regions have had mixed results in terms of enhancing opportunity within a ‘human development’ context. In addressing these ends, this paper takes a three-pronged approach. Firstly, using critical reflections of the origins of ICT and Development notions attempts will be made to understand the economic and political influences in inducing adoption of modern communication networks. Secondly, to address the misleading assumption in the relationship between improved modern communication networks and human development. Finally, to discuss the fundamental absence in ICT and Development discourse in assessing the ‘Value’ of Information by target/end users in resource poor regions of Asia-Pacific and its implications on practice and policy. Case studies and observations from Lao PDR, Myanmar and Tonga will be used to contextualize this.

Keywords: ICT and Development, Digital Divide, Human Development, Communication, Information, Value

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.9-24. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.018MB).

Fononga V. Mangisi- Mafileo

PhD Candidate, Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University, Machida, Tokyo, Japan

A 30-year old PhD Candidate at Keio Univeristy, Japan, the authors research focuses on ICT Network Readiness in Developing countries under the Human Security and Communications Program at the Graduate School of Media and Governance. Previously, at Gunma Univeristy (Japan), she completed a Masters in Social and Information Studies, while earlier completing an undergraduate degree in Media Arts from New Zealand. She has work experience in media (Television, Radio, and Print), and received training at the United Nations Headquarters in New York for broadcasters and journalists. She is a member of several international academic societies and research groups in the areas of Media and Communications. Her research interests include the socio-economic impact of Information Communications technologies, as well as issues dealing with the relationship between the “digital divide,” and social inequalities.

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