Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for rural development in developing countries
New Medit, vol 7, n. 1, (March 2008), pp. 50-57
Jel classification: Q160, O330
Rural areas of the developing world are the last frontier of the information technology revolution. In these areas, telephone and Internet access is very limited if compared with developed countries. The presence of very few means of electronic communication with the outside world is just one source of rural communities and economies isolation from the forces of national and global integration, albeit an important one. In recent years, numerous interesting experiments have been carried out to extend low-cost telephone and Internet access to low-income rural communities. But how can information and communication technology contribute to rural development? What are the channels through which impacts can be realized, and what are the practical means for realizing potential benefits? This paper analyses two main ongoing projects that aim at providing ICT-based services to rural populations in Maharashtra (India) and Morocco. The goal of such projects is to reach the commercial sustainability that supports scalability and, therefore, more widespread benefits. The analysis highlights the common building blocks required for successful implementation and the relative strengths and weaknesses of different approaches.
rural development, information technology, economic growth, India, Morocco