Pro-poor social and economic opportunities in the African ICT innovation ecosystem: Perspectives and case study of Iringa, Tanzania

Hannes Toivanen, Edward Mutafungwa, Jukka Hyvönen, Elikana Ngogo

Research output: Book/ReportReport

Abstract

Since the late 1990s, the "mobile revolution" in Africa has created a huge number of new jobs and micro-entrepreneurs providing critical maintenance for the continental ICT infrastructure, as well as new income opportunities at the base of the pyramid. This research analyses how such opportunities are created and what their impact is on the contribution of ICT to development, and it also develops forward-looking perspectives to enhance how ICT can be accompanied by inclusive innovation practices that effectively address rural and urban poverty in developing countries. The research project included extensive field research in Iringa, Tanzania, which was chosen as the case study locale, as it typifies, in many respects, the rural social, cultural, economic and geographic landscape in Tanzania and Sub-Saharan Africa. The description of ICT-related social and economic opportunities, which include Internet cafés, mobile phone sales, repairs and related services, SIM-card and phone-time voucher vending, and services for local telecommunication base stations, is a central objective of this report. Local ICT service ecology has significant poverty-alleviating impacts, and we also review the underlying skills, competencies and micro-entrepreneurial strategies to identify what enables low-income communities and people to seize these social and economic opportunities. A second key objective of the research project was to map the local ICT inno-vation ecosystem in Iringa, and to describe how the technical ICT infrastructure conditions the available pro-poor social and economic opportunities. Here our research points out that the technical and economic limitations of local ICT innovation ecosystems weighs heavily on the ability of rural communities to capitalise on the latest waves of ICT technology, and we develop perspectives on technology foresight and roadmapping practices that would pay heightened attention to pro-poor technology opportunities. This research project has been undertaken as an "African Local Innovation Ecosystems" project, which was commissioned by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland with the objective of developing new perspectives and recommen-dations for the Finnish Development Policy. The authors are responsible for all mistakes, omissions, findings, interpretations, conclusions and recommendations.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEspoo
PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Number of pages70
ISBN (Electronic)978-951-38-7848-1
ISBN (Print)978-951-38-7847-4
Publication statusPublished - 2012
MoE publication typeNot Eligible

Publication series

SeriesVTT Technology
Number32
ISSN2242-1211

Fingerprint

Africa
Ecosystem
Innovation
Economics
Tanzania
Entrepreneurs
Repair
Competency
Technology roadmapping
Cultural economics
Development policy
Technology foresight
Urban poverty
Rural communities
Poverty
Mobile phone
World Wide Web
Rural poverty
Telecommunications
Low income

Keywords

  • ICT
  • innovation
  • inclusive innovation
  • ecosystems
  • micro-entrepreneurship
  • development
  • Tanzania
  • Africa

Cite this

Toivanen, H., Mutafungwa, E., Hyvönen, J., & Ngogo, E. (2012). Pro-poor social and economic opportunities in the African ICT innovation ecosystem: Perspectives and case study of Iringa, Tanzania. Espoo: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. VTT Technology, No. 32
Toivanen, Hannes ; Mutafungwa, Edward ; Hyvönen, Jukka ; Ngogo, Elikana. / Pro-poor social and economic opportunities in the African ICT innovation ecosystem : Perspectives and case study of Iringa, Tanzania. Espoo : VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, 2012. 70 p. (VTT Technology; No. 32).
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Toivanen, H, Mutafungwa, E, Hyvönen, J & Ngogo, E 2012, Pro-poor social and economic opportunities in the African ICT innovation ecosystem: Perspectives and case study of Iringa, Tanzania. VTT Technology, no. 32, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Espoo.

Pro-poor social and economic opportunities in the African ICT innovation ecosystem : Perspectives and case study of Iringa, Tanzania. / Toivanen, Hannes; Mutafungwa, Edward; Hyvönen, Jukka; Ngogo, Elikana.

Espoo : VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, 2012. 70 p. (VTT Technology; No. 32).

Research output: Book/ReportReport

TY - BOOK

T1 - Pro-poor social and economic opportunities in the African ICT innovation ecosystem

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AU - Hyvönen, Jukka

AU - Ngogo, Elikana

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AB - Since the late 1990s, the "mobile revolution" in Africa has created a huge number of new jobs and micro-entrepreneurs providing critical maintenance for the continental ICT infrastructure, as well as new income opportunities at the base of the pyramid. This research analyses how such opportunities are created and what their impact is on the contribution of ICT to development, and it also develops forward-looking perspectives to enhance how ICT can be accompanied by inclusive innovation practices that effectively address rural and urban poverty in developing countries. The research project included extensive field research in Iringa, Tanzania, which was chosen as the case study locale, as it typifies, in many respects, the rural social, cultural, economic and geographic landscape in Tanzania and Sub-Saharan Africa. The description of ICT-related social and economic opportunities, which include Internet cafés, mobile phone sales, repairs and related services, SIM-card and phone-time voucher vending, and services for local telecommunication base stations, is a central objective of this report. Local ICT service ecology has significant poverty-alleviating impacts, and we also review the underlying skills, competencies and micro-entrepreneurial strategies to identify what enables low-income communities and people to seize these social and economic opportunities. A second key objective of the research project was to map the local ICT inno-vation ecosystem in Iringa, and to describe how the technical ICT infrastructure conditions the available pro-poor social and economic opportunities. Here our research points out that the technical and economic limitations of local ICT innovation ecosystems weighs heavily on the ability of rural communities to capitalise on the latest waves of ICT technology, and we develop perspectives on technology foresight and roadmapping practices that would pay heightened attention to pro-poor technology opportunities. This research project has been undertaken as an "African Local Innovation Ecosystems" project, which was commissioned by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland with the objective of developing new perspectives and recommen-dations for the Finnish Development Policy. The authors are responsible for all mistakes, omissions, findings, interpretations, conclusions and recommendations.

KW - ICT

KW - innovation

KW - inclusive innovation

KW - ecosystems

KW - micro-entrepreneurship

KW - development

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M3 - Report

SN - 978-951-38-7847-4

T3 - VTT Technology

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PB - VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

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ER -

Toivanen H, Mutafungwa E, Hyvönen J, Ngogo E. Pro-poor social and economic opportunities in the African ICT innovation ecosystem: Perspectives and case study of Iringa, Tanzania. Espoo: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, 2012. 70 p. (VTT Technology; No. 32).