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Economic Upliftment and Social Development through the Development of Digital Astuteness in Rural Areas

Antoinette Lombard, Hein Johan Wiese, Jan Smit
InSITE 2016 , 2016
[The final form of this paper was published in the journal Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology.]
One of the key attempts towards a collective African vision is the New Economic Partnership for African Development (NEPAD). Barnard and Vonk (2003) report that “53 countries have been urged to implement ICTs in three crucial development arenas: education, health and trade”. While NEPAD and other initiatives have contributed to the provision of ICT infrastructure with positive results as seen in the growth of Internet uses, the disparities in development across Africa are enormous.
The challenge to HEIs in Africa, has been summarised by Colle (2005): “central to creating digital resources and academic infrastructure is the question of universities' relevance to the world around them, and especially to the challenge of being an active player – ‘an anchor of a broad-based poverty alleviation strategy’ in an increasingly knowledge-based economy”. It can be inferred from Colle that the activities of HEIs in Africa ought to be geared towards contributing to the realisation of the Millennium development goals.
In 2003, the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) adopted a declaration of principles aimed at enabling everyone to create access, utilise and share information and knowledge. In this declaration, member states affirmed their commitment to aggressive investment in ICT for social and economic development (Ngwenyama et al 2006).
Economic upliftment, Social development, Digital astuteness, Rural areas

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