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The neglected continent of IS research: A research agenda for Sub-Saharan Africa
Pratim Datta
Terry A. BYRD
, ,
Victor Mbarika
2005, Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 6(5), pp.130-169
Research with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), a major region within the world’s second largest continent, is almost non-existent in mainstream information systems research. Although infrastructures for information and communication technology (ICT) are well established in the more developed and industrialized parts of the world, the same is not true for developing countries. Research on developing countries has been rare in mainstream IS and, even where existent, has often overlooked the particular situation of SSA, home to 33 of the world’s 48 least-developed countries. Ironically, it is such parts of the world that can stand to gain the most from the promise of ICT with applications that would help the socioeconomic development of this region. In this study, we present the need for focused research on the ICT development and application for SSA. The information systems research community has a unique and valuable perspective to bring to the challenges this region faces in developing its ICT infrastructure, hence extending research and practice in ICT diffusion and policy. We present here a research agenda for studying the adoption, development, and application of ICT in SSA. In particular, teledensity, telemedicine, online education, and e-commerce present important areas for research, with implications for research, practice, and teaching.
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