Uses of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Agriculture and Rural Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: Experiences from South Africa and Kenya
Maumbe, Blessing M
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This paper presents a framework of the evolution of information and communication technology (ICT) applications in agriculture and rural development based on comparative experiences of South Africa and Kenya. The framework posits that full deployment of ICT in agriculture and rural development will be a culmination of several phases of changes that starts with e-government policy design, development and implementation. The paper argues that ICT use in agriculture and rural development is a powerful instrument for improving agricultural and rural development and standards of living throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. However, success in greater application of ICT in agriculture will require addressing impediments to adoption and diffusion. Such impediments include the lack of awareness, low literacy, infrastructure deficiencies (e.g. lack of electricity to charge electronic gadgets), language and cultural barriers in ICT usage, the low e-inclusivity and the need to cater for the special needs of some users. The paper reviews successful applications of ICT in agriculture and urges greater use of ICT-based interventions in agriculture as a vehicle for spurring rural development in Africa.