Information and Communication Technologies in the Republic of Malawi: An assessment of Progress and Challenges Ahead

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Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have a major impact on western societies concerning economy, politics and culture. These technologies are a main driving force for societal progress and prosperity within such societies. But this development is still very limited and huge regions of the world are totally cut off from the global information flow and have not yet arrived in the so-called information age. Different kinds of endeavours are undertaken to bridge this digital divide by various institutions, mainly from the first world. These development activities often seem to be taken out in a “retro-colonial” way, which means that western technologies and the fields of their applications are put over developing countries without taking into account the local conditions and needs.
This paper is part of a larger research project that compares different developing countries (Yemen, Laos, Malawi and Guatemala) concerning the status quo of the ICT diffusion. For this purpose, a case study in the Republic of Malawi was carried out, using expert interview surveys with Malawian decision-makers and questionnaires for the general public. Based on these findings generalized recommendations for the sustainable use of ICTs in the developing world are formulated.

Keywords: Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), Developing Countries, Digital Divide, Sustainable Development, Republic of Malawi
Stream: Technology in Community
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Southern Africa and the Digital Divide

Robert M. Bichler

Research and Teaching Assistant, ICT & S Center, University of Salzburg
Salzburg, Austria

Robert Bichler (1979) received his master in Communication Science. From 2002 - 2004 he worked as a teaching assistant at the Institute for Communication Science at the University of Salzburg. In December 2004 he joined the Internet & Society unit of the ICT&S Center at the University of Salzburg as a research and teaching assistant. His research is focused on the sustainable use of Information and Communication Technologies, especially in least developed countries.

Ref: T08P0055