A Critical Examination of Ghana's Community Information Centre Programme and Mobile Phones in Providing Connectivity and Overcoming Peripherality

Stephen Bekoe

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


ICTs are enabling technologies to deliver human-centred development. The best way to implement ICTs with a developmental focus to enable the South to respond to the information society is critical. This thesis argues that bottom-up and demand-driven approaches are essential ingredients to enhance livelihood outcomes. This study explores the extent of how, and for what purposes, Community Information Centres (CICs) and mobile phones were used in three contrasting regions of Ghana (Central, Brong Ahafo and Upper West) to determine information needs and impacts on residents’ livelihoods. The Sustainable Livelihoods Framework and other development theories formed the theoretical lenses of the study. Amixed method approach was employed and qualitative research was used as a dominant paradigm. Structured and semi- structured interview questionnaires were used.
The research shows among others that attitudinal and behavioural factors play substantial parts in adopting and using ICTs. In contrast to the use of mobile phones, which was characterised by greater uniformity across socio-economic groups and gender, CIC users were young and predominantly males with higher educational level. The communication ministry did not play its policy-making function effectively and this affects the development of the ICT sector. Poor network connectivity, power outage, limited computers, skills, locally relevant information, and language were obstacles to CIC usage. The study recommends that CIC managers should re-design programmes to be participatory and demand-driven. The study makes significant and original contributions to knowledge of practical relevance in the ICT4D field as well as with respect to these under-researched Ghanaian regions. The participatory Field Research provided space for in-depth engagement with local people and to understand technologies in the respective regional social and development contexts. The thesis provides evidence for policy formulation to improve quality of public access venues and mobile phone services in Ghana and elsewhere.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
Award date1 May 2017
Publication statusUnpublished - 23 Feb 2017

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