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SMIT – Studies on Media, Information and Telecommunication Pleinlaan 2 – 1050 Brussels – Belgium – T. +32 2 629 24 18 – F. +32 2 629 28 61 -

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Presentation on theme: "SMIT – Studies on Media, Information and Telecommunication Pleinlaan 2 – 1050 Brussels – Belgium – T. +32 2 629 24 18 – F. +32 2 629 28 61 -"— Presentation transcript:

1 SMIT – Studies on Media, Information and Telecommunication Pleinlaan 2 – 1050 Brussels – Belgium – T – F – ICTs and Information Dessimination in Developing Countries. The use of Telecentres and MPCCs in South Africa. SMIT – IBBT Leo Van Audenhove STIMULATE 5-6 October 2004 Brussels

2 Introduction Rise of ICTs and Internet 1990s  Strong believe in role of ICTs for development  Telecom infrastructure underlying network for access  But: Major disparities and differences West: Near universal service Relatively high PC penetration South: Very low access to telecommunication Even lower individual ownership of ICTS Policies for e-inclusion must be different  West: measures to stimulate individual adoption  South: measures to stimulate community access

3 Access disparity Access to communication technologies FlandersSSAfrica RadioNA 25,12% Television99% 7,60% Mobile75%55%2.94% Landline83%NA2,45% PC63%53%0,72% Internet47%33%0,61% Source: VRIND, 2003 & Mike Jensen, African Internet Status, 2001

4 Telecentres: To broad a concept Publicly accessible places giving access to ICT services  Stimulating socio-economic development  Especially for rural development Three main categories  Phoneshops: small-scale Basic telecommunication facilities  Telecentres: medium-scale Computer and Internet facilities  Multi-Purpose Community Centres: medium- to large- scale Computer and Internet facilities Embedded in broader socio-econ. support programmes

5 Relation to socio-economic development Threefold relation:  Telecentres provide access to ICTs and information Contribute to economic development Enhances effectiveness and efficiency Contribute to socio-econ. development Provide access to governmental, educational, agricultural, information  Telecentre enhance the platform for the use of services Stimulates the local content and service industry  Telecentres are an important industry in their own Providing local employment and economic activity

6 Outline of the presentation Discussion of the three types of telecentres  Characteristics of the Model  Advantages  Disadvantages & Problems  Policy & Regulation

7 Phoneshop Model: Small scale  Mostly privately owned As a result of private initiative (local shopkeepers) Often under franchises  Equipment: basic telecommunication facilities Telephone, fax (sometimes photocopy and Internet) Advantages  Easy to spread in terms of number E.g. Senegal in (1998) & South Africa (1999) Important indirect socio-economic impact: employment South Africa: jobs in rural or semi-rural areas

8 Disadvantage & Problems  Difficult to spread in geographic terms Often not profitable in poor rural areas Stops at boundaries of existing network Difficult to use for socio-ec. Development in very poor areas  Only basic services No platform for service industry Weaker impact in terms of socio-ec. Development In comparison to Internet access

9 Policy & Regulation  Extending network into rural areas Precondition for success in rural areas  Pricing of high importance for success Prices needs to be low enough to allow profit E.g. South-Africa Vodacom Phoneshops Prices rather low for franchises Pricing part of licence for mobile operator  Possible extension of services (e.g. Internet) Micro-loans for upgrading to Internet Could be based on Universal Service Fund

10 Telecentre Model: Medium scale  Community, NGO or privately based  Often supported by national or international donor At least for initial investment Often even in terms of daily working  Equipment: well equiped Telephone, fax, photocopy, computer, Internet Advantages  As subsidised: More easy to spread into rural areas Due to financing, profitability not directly necessary  Possible important socio-economic impact Better services through Internet

11 Disadvantage & Problems  Difficult to spread in terms of numbers Due to large investment needed South Africa after three years only 60 operational 3 to 5000 needed for geographic coverage  Use of computer and internet-services weak South Africa: barely used - 6% uses computers Peru Used by the poor, but with certain education Large groups not reached Needs to be stimulated (training) - Long term process But local expertise and funds often not available Local content lacking: no use for peoples specific context

12 Policy & Regulation  Difficult to implement Many constraining factors Lack of education, local resources, high-level TC infrastructure (broadband access) Makes that government has to formulate policy in different areas (education, content, etc.)  Pricing also important When phoneshops also present: prices have to be nearly equal (e.g. Problem in South Africa)  Stimulating network roll-out in rural areas  Search for alternative means of roll-out (satellite) Problems of funding

13 MPCC: MultiplePurposeCommunityCentres Model: Medium (to large) scale  Characteristics of telecentre  BUT embedded in broader developmental working Welfare organisations, educational projects, agricultural programmes, etc. Both state, private and civil society  As totally new project not been implemented often

14 Advantages  Use of ICTs better imbedded in social practice Integrates with other initiatives (intermediaries) Can be supported by better training Location becomes focal point of administrative and economic activity Disadvantage & Problems  If totally new difficult to spread in terms of numbers Due to very large investment needed Financing needs to come from different sources  Telecentre-part often remains add on Not integrated with other initiatives

15 Policy & Regulation  Same issues as Telecentres  Very difficult to implement Needs overall supporting policy in different areas Need to align different governmental departments, private sector and civil society In terms of programmes In terms of financing Experience shows: needs to be driven at top level Universal Service Agency ( ): failure Part of regulatory system Gov. Com. and Information Services (1999-): success Directly under Presidential Office Full political support

16 The Way Forward 1 Telecentres & MPCC:  Top-down: long term governmental support  Potential of large socio-ec. impact (Internet) Many constraining factors Needs multi-sectorial approach (= broader than telecom)  Difficult to implement Policy level (different departments involved) High investment level: problems of coverage  Experience up til now mixed Those reached have certain educational level Education seems to be central Think of ways of mixing both Invest in ICTs in school and use them as telecentres

17 Phoneshops:  Bottom-up: might have more direct impact  Certainty of socio-ec. impact (basic services)  Stimulates rural ec. activity and employment  Possible platform for access to Internet  Policy and regulation Stimulated by regulatory measures Pricing Obligations to support initiatives in rural areas Licensing Provision of micro-loans Investment in computers and peripherals Upgrading to Internet

18 South Africa’s Information Society Policy Why is South Africa special?  Since early 1990s realisation that ICTs are important  After democratic elections 1994 unique position Necessary to rethink and reformulate all policy Coincides with rising international discussion on ICTs  opportunity to fomulate innovative & coherent IS policy  Since middel 90s ICTs important in many policy areas  makes SA interesting case for research and analysis

19 South Africa’s Information Society Policy Two main goals  ICTs alternative way of providing services Important in highly dual society after Apartheid Lack of administration and state in many areas Believe that ICTs can contribute in contact with citizens Information Services  Access to telecommunications and basic ICTs Restructuring of Telecommunications Sector  Emphasis on MPCCs and telecentres Implementation by different departments  Make SA part of the global information economy Performant telecommunications infrastructure Restructuring of Telecommunications Sector  Stimulate new innovative branches of economy  Stimulate integration of economy in global structures

20 Implementing the policy: Telecom Access to telecom indispensable for  Large disparity in terms of access (household) 1994: 31 % households with a telephone 1994: 87,4 % white - 11,6% black  Large disparity in terms of access (institutions) (see next page)  Universal service and access: high priority Universal service: each household access at reasonable price Universal access: access within reasonable access  Bridging bridge between info-poor and info-rich

21 Telephones in institutions TotalAvailableAbsent Schools Hospitals Library Local Auth Total priority Villages° Source: Rep. Of SA (7 May 1997), schedule D. °Underserviced area inhabitants

22 Implementing the policy: Services South Africa reformulates policy in all areas  Strong attention for ICTs in: Education Information Policy Public service and administration  Realization that integration of policy important But integration difficult Little horizontal and vertical integration Horizontal: between different departments Vertical: imbedded within broader developmental policy

23 Universal access South Africa’s goal is universal access  Realizes universal service not possible  In short term universal access in telecom possible Broad interpretation of universal access  Not only access to telephone services  Access to broader set of services Strategy  Universal access to telephony (individual and villages)  All institutions connected schools, hospitals, etc.  Access to broader set of ICTS through Telecentres

24 Telecentres in SA: Vision Broader set of services on community basis  telephone, fax, photocopy, projector, PCs with Internet  to for geographic coverage Linked to existing projects  Multi-purpose community centres  Expected to be an additional source of income  Managed and owned by the community

25 Implementation: First Phase 1996 Universal Service Agency grounded  by 2001 only 60 operational  Problem 1: capacity of the USA USA political construction Personal hired on basis of political background (labour) Lacks specific skills (management) Strongly against private sector  Problem 2: Conceptualization of telecentres Have to be self sufficient - But placed in rural areas Link with other and local initiatives often weak Little governmental support

26 Use of telecentres Not very often used  photocopy and fax are used most  PCs and Internet not used that often Reasons  To expensive - not supported by government  Not relevant: Content not appropriate nor adapted People don’t see the relevance Lack of support for unacquainted users Large part of population illiterate  Problems with personal - flee from rural areas

27 Implementation: Second Phase 1999 Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)  Starts its MPPC initiative 57 operational by July 2004 Goal 284 municipal areas by 2014  Broadening public access to services of government Wide range of information services under one roof Access to TV, video, Internet and other AV facilities Audiovisual material for education and development Staff to reach out to the people e.g. road shows Wide range of other services Support for housing, education, health, welfare, bursaries, arts and culture Availability of online and offline forms and papers

28 Implementation: Second Phase  Supported by sound research on needs and use  Strongly government driven Focus on integration of service delivery Intersectoral national, regional and local steering committees Highly professional management Use  Seems to be a success  But little information on use available

29 slide 29 Stakeholders SectorNumberNature of Involvement Government Spheres Provincial Local Service provision Management Infrastructure Parastatals8Service Provision NGOs3Technical advice and expertise Tertiary institutions 3Research Technical advice Services Business sector24Technical advice and expertise Potential for funding International agencies 1Technical advice and expertise Research Source:GCIS

30 Conclusion on SA Extension of broader set of ICTs as such not really useful  Needs integration in life of people  Needs to be supported by contextualized information, services and training Implementation  Needs strong governmental support  Professional approach with emphasis on sound management both national and local  Strong attention for integration and cooperation of efforts

31 slide 31 Contact Leo Van Audenhove  Website SMIT  Website Information Society in South Africa 


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