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Zimbabwe must incorporate Information and Communication Technology in the context of Globalization

20 Sep 2019 at 08:49hrs | Views
The contribution of information and communication technology (ICT) to the globalization process and third world countries development process, the development of global competitive structures implies both, a decreasing role of boundaries and an increasing density of global competition. This process causes a global "liquefaction" of competition with an increasing number of autonomous economic actors in the information communication technology and decentralized units of multinational enterprises (MNEs) that both cooperate and compete in the global context. The unfold network competition is marked by an increased extension of information communication technology on global scale towards national development in the third world countries. The most conspicuous development in globalization context has been information communication technology influx. It seems it has turned the world into a global village. Endless connectivity, interactive organizations, information sharing and infinite access have all become the new ICT buzz words.

Development â€" is a process that creates growth, progress, positive change or the addition
Of physical, economic, environmental, social and demographic components.

Third world countries â€" referred to developing countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi etc., impoverished countries, struggling to meet basic human needs are the first to pop up. Nations that have high poverty rates, economic instability and lack human basic necessities.

Globalization â€" globalization means different things to different people. Some say it is the movement of people, language, ideas and products around the world. Others see it as a dominance of multinational corporations and destruction of cultural identities. Globalization refers to expansion of global linkages, the organisation of social life on a global scale, and the growth of a global consciousness, hence to the consolidation of world society.

ICT has emerged as a key instrument for influencing the process of governance in various ways and varying degrees from improving the current services delivery strategies to bringing about innovations in the mechanisms and nature of service. Hence, the developing world is gradually catching up with the technological advancement to solve its socio-economic problems. Even though the benefits of ICT come with the tag of a number of constraints, it is being considered as a panacea for all ills. The new trends in the world market economy have brought to the fore of the debate on the impact of the liberalization of the markets, privatization and globalization wave. The impact is most visible in the context of developing economies, as it astutely plays down its draw backs and accentuates its advantages. One of the highlighted positives being the influx of information and communication technology (ICT). Globalization has precipitated the onward march of ICT, the growing success in ICT initiatives have also brought the global community closer. In the global context, this gives access to the poor countries for better engagement with development partners, business ventures, new opportunities, new markets, and participation in governance matters. It has radically changed our views about boundaries between organizations and the boundaries between organizations.

The reciprocal relationships among globalization, information and communication technologies (ICT), and the prospects of global village is very critical. Through such concepts, as blurred identity, nomadism, and hybridity, a distinctly (postmodern) ICT landscape can be redrawn in a way that accepts the global identity of the ICT, but denies the colonial erasure associated with the global village. ICT in themselves, cannot serve as an end in education, but the demand for the critical education involving ICT in pressing as the effects of globalization are experienced. According to Ayoub Yousefi says, ICT plays a major role in the growth of high and upper middle income groups, but fails to contribute to the growth of the lower-middle income groups countries with a number of theories have been developed on the nature and the impact of the process of globalization, there is an agreement in that the inter-connectedness between people, business and regions affect the lives of people (Castells, 2000). Castells is notable in his description of globalization to be fueled by information technology in what characterizes this current technological revolution is not centrality of knowledge and information but the application of this knowledge and information to knowledge- generating and information processing devices. Sen (2002), argues that the economic predicament of the poor across the world cannot be reversed by withholding from them the great advantage of contemporary technology, the well-established efficiency of international trade and exchange, and the social merits of living in open rather than closed societies. Ajayi (2003) adds that by stating that globalization offers new opportunities, including expanded markets and the acquisition of new technologies and ideas in the third world countries. The use of information and communication technologies can enable development to take place through access to new markets, increased competitiveness, and access to knowledge and skill if applied to address local conditions and individual challenges. More recent studies by Qureshi, Kamal and Wolcott (2009), have illustrated how the most underserved populations have been able to take advantage of ICTs to access new markets, increase their competitiveness, and through administrative efficiencies achieve lower costs and high returns. Those who are unable to have access to or use ICTs risk being excluded from the economic and social processes of globalization. In order to study the effects of ICTs, on global development, research methods needs to be developed that capture these processes and enable them to be studied. It appears that given the effects of globalization on development, the nation state can no longer be the main unit of analysis. There are few methods available to assess the effects of ICTs, on global as they address disparities in income and standard of taking into account the economic and social processes of globalization, they investigate the ways in which ICTs are adopted and assess the effects of this adoption on overcoming the inequalities within the third world countries. Many organisations have engaged in inter-organizational systems (105), to manage their business operations across the supply chain. Such systems are mainly based on business to business electronic commerce technologies, are seen to play a significant role in enabling organizations around the world to extend their supply chain and engage in global trading efficiency and effectively across geographical locations investment in mobiles for development is being led by the mobile phone industry together with donors and development partners across a wide range of development sectors and as the adoption of mobile phones increases, it becomes important to research and understand their impact and to assess the contribution of information communication technology towards the third world countries. ICTs are ubiquitous in much of the developed world, with the growing interest in business process outsourcing, further deployment of these technologies in developing countries is a valuable economic development tool. Digital inequity, from inadequate information infrastructure, lack of I.T skills, language barriers, and illiteracy often constraints ICT adoption and use in developing countries. Unlike conventional information sharing, now information is not limited to one place in a physical copy. Everyone has access to Wikipedia, and today's world, knowledge is the biggest asset. Information communication technology provides a level playing field for all. Communication between countries particularly the third world countries, make them intertwined and inter-dependent it created a big single uniform market throughout the globe. Since its virtual market and everyone can access it. Hence exports and imports are hugely influenced since it makes demand and supply meet. Employees and employers in this field can be large distance apart, and resulting international services helps in bringing parity to the wages across nations. The gap fills faster than it would otherwise have e.g India, here IT industry experts to developed countries and wages gap has been shrinking with developing countries yet it's a developmental factor to the third world countries in the control of globalization. Globalization as the process of intensification of economic, political, social and cultural relations across international boundaries aimed at the transcended homogenization of political and social â€"economic theory across the globe , impacts significantly on African states through systematic restructuring of interactive phases among its nations, by breaking down barriers in the areas of culture, commerce, communication and several other fields.

 Since Information Communication Technology (ICT), became commercial in the early 1990s, it has diffused rapidly in developed countries but generally slowly in developing countries (third world countries). This has led to widening IT gap known as digital divide between the two groups. The IT gap is widening and increasing. The more advanced , such as the newly industrialized economies (NIEs), Brazil, Chile, Estonia and Malaysia , have made enormous progress toward a digital economy, but many of the rest of the developing nations remain much more backward. Natural economies are increasingly tightly tied together globally by ultra-high speed information networks and communication technology. In these circumstances, problems created by the digital divide include a vicious cycle. Lack of IT leads to lower productivity growth, loss of business opportunities and lower incomes (Brynjoltsson&Hitt, 2000) which in turn impede use of the latest technologies, including ICTs.

Among the three strings of technological advance, ICT is much more powerful than others in deciding the magnitude and quality of economic production. Adoption of information and Communication Technologies in developing countries. The role of ICT in fostering development in the third world countries needs to be looked at from a broader perspective that showcases its place in information systems. The most conspicuous of all the technological advances is the internet, which is believed to have the capacity to redefine the possible. The internet is fundamentally altering the economic landscape. It provides a great opportunity for real time processes and activities. The historic monopolies of institutions, private and public, over information is being shattered by the web. The metamorphosis in communication is taking place in the form of increased interactivity and seamless connectivity. Since in the developing countries(third world countries), major emphasis is on enhancing socio-economic development the focus is on Government's role in the provision of goods and services through the use of ICT which brings new innovation, creativity and new dimensions of how to do business.

ICT provides accent on public-private partnerships in facilitating governance. ICT promotes the acquisition and absorption of knowledge, offering the Government and other non-governmental agencies unprecedented opportunities to improve policy formulation and its implementation, enhance educational systems, empower the downtrodden, creat new economic institutions, widen job opportunities, reduce poverty and re-engineer organisations. The contributions of ICT towards the third world countries in a positive manner which enhance development and foster growth are the following; providing decision support to administration  for improved planning, implementation and monitoring of development programs, improving citizen â€"administration interface and public service delivery, empowering citizens to access information and knowledge , bringing in transparency in service delivery and information sharing , highlighting key issues such as project justification, multiple service centres, enhancing accountability of governance mechanisms and sustaining the development of Human Resource towards the use of ICT. ICT is significantly used as a strategy to realize goals though it appear that ICT is diluting the intent of the basic objective that it had set to achieve.

Information Communication Technology is a driving factor in the process of globalization in the third world countries. Improvements in the early 1990s in computer hardware, software, and telecommunications have caused widespread improvements in access to information and economic potential. These advances have facilitated efficiency gains in all sectors of the economy. ICT provides the communication network that facilitates the expansion of products, ideas, and resources among nations and among people regardless of geographical locations. One of its contributory factors is catalyst for global integration. ICT has led to identification of new economic opportunities, include faster and more informed analyses of economic trends around the world, easy transfers of assets and collaboration with far-flung partners.

Though Information Communication Technology has numerous contributory factors towards third world countries development agenda, it has also its own challenges and disadvantages in line with globalization problems. We look at financial restrictions, resources, accessibility to ICT gadgets, the new ventures needs trainings in those areas and also implications to health and education sector. The challenges of globalization necessitates that countries develop their information and communication infrastructure and creates an enabling environment for information and knowledge sharing. The wide spread and rapid implementation of ICT is associated with and accelerates the globalization process. There is need to prevent the potential adverse effects of such new technologies such as inappropriate health information and stress caused by lack of training in the use of ICT. The communication of information might be limited by unavailability of broadband access and where this is available it might be too expensive for the majority to afford and that pose a special challenge.

Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo - Doctor of Phil Candidate

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Source - Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo
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