Public Access ICT across Cultures

From International Development Research Centre

Public Access ICT across Cultures

Diversifying Participation in the Network Society

Edited by Francisco J Proenza

Foreword by Bruce Girard

A systematic assessment of the impact of public access to computers and the Internet, with findings from developing countries in South America, Asia, and Africa.
Paperback $19.75 S £15.99





A systematic assessment of the impact of public access to computers and the Internet, with findings from developing countries in South America, Asia, and Africa.

Shared public access to computers and the Internet in developing countries is often hailed as an effective, low-cost way to share the benefits of digital technology. Yet research on the economic and social effects of public access to computers is lacking. This volume offers the first systematic assessment of the impact of shared public access in the developing world, with findings from ten countries in South America, Asia, and Africa. It provides evidence that the benefits of diversified participation in digital society go beyond providing access to technology. Public access venues—most often Internet cafés in cities and state-run telecenters in rural areas—are places for learning, sharing, working, empowerment and finding opportunities.

The book documents the impact of public access on individuals, on society and networks, and on women. Chapters report findings and examine policy implications of research on such topics as users' perceptions of the benefits of Internet café use in Jordan; ICT job training in Rwanda; understanding user motivations and risk factors for overuse and Internet addiction in China; the effect of technology use on social inclusion among low-income urban youth in Argentina; productive uses of technologies by grassroots organizations in Peru; use of technology by migrant ethnic minority Burmese women in Thailand to maintain ties with their culture and their family and friends; and women's limited access to the most ubiquitous type of venue, cybercafés, in practically all countries studied—and quite severely in some places, e.g. Uttar Pradesh, India.

Contributing Editors Erwin A. Alampay, Roxana Barrantes Cáceres, Hernan Galperin, Abiodun Jagun, George Sciadas, Ramata Molo Thioune, Kentaro Toyama

Chapter authors Ali Farhan AbuSeileek, Carolina Aguerre, Oluwasefunmi 'Tale Arogundade, Nor Aziah Alias, Sebastián Benítez Larghi, Jorge Bossio, Juan Fernando Bossio, Marina Laura Calamari, Nikos Dacanay, Jean Damascène Mazimpaka, Laurent Aristide Eyinga Eyinga, Mary Luz Feranil, Ariel Fontecoba, Omar Fraihat, Martin S. Hagger, Jianbin Hao, Sulaiman Hashim, Izaham Shah Ismail, Haziah Jamaludin, Xuemei Jiang, Laura León, Guoxin Li, Balwant Singh Mehta, Nidhi Mehta, Marina Moguillansky, Marhaini Mohd Noor, Avis Momeni, Théodomir Mugiraneza, Jimena Orchuela, Patricia Peña Miranda, Alejandra Phillippi, Jimena Ponce de León, Ghaleb Rabab'ah, Saif Addeen AlRababah, Wei Shang, Ryan V. Silverio, Sylvie Siyam Siwe, Efenita M. Taqueban, Olga Balbine Tsafack Nguekeng, Xiaoguang Yang


$19.75 S | £15.99 ISBN: 9780262527378 496 pp. | 7 in x 9 in 17 figures


Francisco J Proenza

Francisco J. Proenza spent thirty-five years as an economist for international development agencies. He is now Visiting Professor of Information and Communication Technology at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona.


Bruce Girard.


  • Public Access ICT across Cultures provides an important reminder that the digital divide has now deepened to become a social knowledge divide and that the provision of public access is as important as ever as a means of increasing social and economic capital. This book is essential reading for several audiences, including educators, researchers, community leaders, community developers, and especially policymakers. Such a wide-ranging audience will ensure that many communities benefit from the research findings in the book, making it an even more fitting dedication to the work and memory of Amy Mahan.

    Stewart Marshall

    Emeritus Professor, The University of the West Indies Open Campus, Barbados

  • In the age of the personal and the social, this tome provides scholars evidence from a range of low- and middle-income countries of the role of public access ICTs in their achievement. Equally compelling for policymakers are prescriptions for achieving instrumental developmental objectives, particularly for marginalized populations.

    Arul Chib

    Director, Singapore Internet Research Center, Nanyang Technological University