The South African Digital Access Index
AbstractInternational and national data made available during the past few years indicate that access to and use of information and communication technology (ICT) and services is experiencing slow growth in South Africa. In the early 2000s, South Africa led Africa in terms of ICT infrastructure development. However, more recent ICT statistics indicate that other African countries, such as Nigeria and Mauritius are advancing faster than South Africa in this regard. The World Economic Forum Global Information and Communication Report (2012, in e-Skills Institute Newsletter, 2012a) states that the sub-Saharan African region still has the least developed ICT infrastructure in the world, and also has a severe lack of ICT skills. Having considered the Southern African ICT infrastructure deficiencies, this article captures and evaluates ICT policy and regulatory interventions instituted by South Africa towards the creation of a knowledge society. The article starts by providing brief historical background on ICT access and use in South Africa, and states the stakeholders engaged in transforming South Africa towards e-readiness. The Digital Access Index is applied as a measuring instrument or research method to measure the South African e-readiness status. Further, the article evaluates the progress of South Africa towards becoming an information society by comparing levels of public access to, and usage of ICT in South Africa with those of selected African countries and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries.
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