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Ojo, A. and Janowski, T. and Awotwi, J.
Enabling development through governance and mobile technology
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The impact of mobile technology on governance and development has attracted significant interest in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Development and Electronic Governance communities. There is growing consensus that governance mechanisms must complement access to technology to achieve greater impact on development. However, few or no rigorous research exists to show how such mechanisms can support the delivery of mobile services to vulnerable groups. This study fills this important gap by first providing a conceptual framework, based on the Choice Framework and the Structuration Theory, to elaborate on the relationship between ICT, governance and citizen capabilities. Second, the framework is applied to analyze livelihood needs of 45 women head porters interviewed in Accra. Third, as all women under study have access to mobile phones, we determine which governance mechanisms are needed to support the delivery of mobile services to them. Results show that three governance mechanisms enable the contribution of mobile technology to meeting the livelihood needs of this group: 1) updating financial and telecommunication regulations to enable the provision of mobile-based services e.g. mobile microfinance, to vulnerable groups; 2) mobilizing local communities in the production of local contents; and 3) engaging non-governmental organizations in building capacity of government agencies in mobile service delivery and in training vulnerable communities in effective use of mobile technology to access information and services critical to their needs. We conclude by discussing the use of the Structuration Theory along with the Choice Framework to shape development processes based on citizen needs and by discussing the applicability of our framework to similar vulnerable groups. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.
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