Impact Of Information Communication Technology On The Development Of Rural Area In Nigeria

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Impact Of Information Communication Technology On The Development Of Rural Area In Nigeria


Abstract


Information Communication Technology (ICT) has the potential to contribute to development, especially in rural areas of developing countries. But the mechanisms through which ICT can be combined with development agendas and an understanding of the actual development process and impacts of ICT are less well understood or properly defined in the academic literature. The objective of this study, therefore, was to investigate the impact assessment of ICTs facilities and infrastructure in rural area in Nigeria. The survey research design was adopted. The locations were a rural and an urban community. The population of the study comprised 1000 respondents selected from the-two locations Erunmu and Ikereku in Oyo state Nigeria, The two locations were intentionally selected with a view to ensuring rural versus urban data comparisons. A structured questionnaire was the data collection instrument adopted. Data were analysed for frequency and percentage using the cross-tabs sub-programme of the SPSS V16. The study revealed that majority use radio, television and cell/mobile phone more than any other ICT facility in the two locations. Findings revealed that majority of them obtained information always through radio, television and cell/mobile phone in the two locations. However, most of the respondents in the rural community were reported to be able to use landline telephones more than cell phones. In the two locations, the respondents were capable of using radio and television very well. Respondents in both locations were able to use landline telephones more than their cell/mobile phone because of it complexity. The young set of respondents was also capable of using ICTs more than the older people. The study concludes that it is important to note that rural area still remain the focus of international observers for policy research and developments .Based on the findings, It thus recommends that government should help solve the problem of inadequate ICT infrastructure by for instance, ICT imports duty free so that a lot of people could be able to afford them, the government needs to evolve policies aimed at bridging and encourage particularly increasing ICTs facilities penetration in rural areas.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

In rural Nigeria, majority of the people are poor. They are the disadvantaged and marginalized sections of society who often face impediments to use productivity enhancing resources in the same way they may face impediments to make good use of ICT facilities and infrastructures Moss (2000). Some of the constraints to ICTs facilities and infrastructures in rural Nigeria are surmountable while others require a shift in both human and organizational communication and working patterns which may take longer to change. ICTs facilities arid infrastructures rely on physical infrastructures (electricity, telecommunications and good road network) and even when such infrastructures are in place, difficulties arise when they are poorly maintained or too costly to use. ICTs are dependent on national policy and regulation for telecommunications and broadcasting licenses which is now receiving commendable attention in Nigeria (Kayani, R., Dymond, A., 2005).

The impact of the development of the information communication and technology society and especially the impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) on spatial development is now a question of discussion. One reason for this is probably simply the fact that, as Moss (2000) argued, we do not understand how these technologies will shape the growth of development. Modern ICTs are newcomers and their application is still in the early stage, although rapidly increasing. Within half a century, they have changed the world and affected millions of lives in ways that no one could have ever foreseen or imagined.

They have also changed the nature of work we do, the range of occupations and skills requirements, making it necessary for workers to acquire a broader, add more adaptable knowledge base etc. They are transforming the ways in which we learn, communicate, do business, enjoy our leisure and live our everyday lives. ICTs defining characteristics are their capacity to harness access and apply information and diffuse knowledge at electronic speed to all types of human activities and endeavors, thereby giving rise to contemporary knowledge-based economies and societies.

According to Sood (2002), ICTs present an unprecedented opportunity to make new knowledge, services and opportunities available in underserved areas. In 1995 and 1997, the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (UNCSTD) also investigated the benefits and risks of ICTs and the results showed many instances (such as in health, education, banking, etc.) where its use affords widespread social and economic benefits (World Bank, 1998). The growth and development of ICT has led to their wide diffusion and application, thus increasing their economic and social impact. The OECD (2007) undertook a wide range of activities aimed at improving our understanding of how ICTs contribute to sustainable economic growth and social well-being and their role in the shift toward knowledge-based societies. It has therefore become imperative to access and use ICTs everywhere especially in a developing country such as Nigeria.

Information is raw material for development for both urban and rural dwellers. Prosperity, progress, and development of any nation depend upon the nation’s ability to acquire, produce, access, and use pertinent information. A report on older rural people (2008:3) indicates that, “Access to information and advice is a key resource for local people in maintaining active and independent lives. Access to information is also critical to letting people know their entitlements to welfare benefits and sources of support to overcome social exclusion.” Information is the lifeblood of any society and vital to the activities of both the government and private sectors. Bell (1974:4) holds the view that “the dependence upon information to create innovation and change, places a high premium on the ability of (developing countries) nations to access and use information to create advances in society”. The development of countries globally cannot be achieved without the development of the rural community. This is because 75 to 80 percent of the people in developing countries live in the rural areas need positive, relevant and prompts attention in their daily activities.

No serious, active, conscious, sensitive, and organized government would want to neglect rural communities. Lack of development has a positive correlation with the neglect of rural areas. Rural neglects brings negative consequences such as exodus of rural dwellers to urban areas, with resulting problems of unemployment, crimes, prostitution, child labor, insecurity, money laundering, bribery, poverty, proliferation of shanty living areas, spread of diseases, and overstretching of the facilities and infrastructures in the urban areas.

Any nation that neglects the development and empowerment of the rural communities should not expect meaningful development. Alegbeleye and Aina (1985: 13) reiterated that “the third world countries have recently come to realize that unless the rural areas are well developed, hardly would any meaningful development occur in these countries.” Development can only be effective if rural dwellers have access to the relevant, diverse information for their activities. Efforts must be made to give access to knowledge and information by non-literates who constitute the majority of rural dwellers. Okiy (2003:1) says that, “Rural development is a basis for economic development and information is an important ingredient in development process. People in rural areas whether literate or not should have access to any kind of information which will help them to become capable and productive in their social and political obligations, to become better informed citizens generally.”

Similarly Diso (1994: 143) holds the view that” information must as a matter of policy, be seen as a basic resource for development if durable structures are to be provided for effective access and utilization, which entails information capturing, coordination, processing, and dissemination”. In the Nigerian context, accessibility to information by both urban and rural communities is stated in its development plans. But with emphasis to the support of government propaganda and many programmes that are not fully relevant to the development of rural communities. The information received by the rural dwellers is either not reliable or distorted in the process of transmission. This unhealthy situation constitutes a major impediment, which keep the rural communities in Nigeria and other developing countries far away from development indicators.

The developed countries undertake rural projects to reduce the gap between the urban and the rural communities to the barest minimum. A report on a rural project (2007) outlined that, “Access to and the ability to use information and knowledge are not equally distributed (between urban and rural communities).About seven million adults in England are judged to be functionally illiterates. Affluent families are far more likely to be able to give their children access to books, computers, and the internet than poorer families. If we do not guard against it, the economic returns from knowledge and skills will go disproportionately to those groups and places that are already rich in both.”

They require initial capital investment for hardware and software. They are also dependent on the skills and capacity necessary to use, manage and maintain the technology effectively. Matching the most appropriate communications technology with people’s needs and capabilities is a crucial task for ICT providers in Nigeria. These conditions are hardly met in the rural areas of Nigeria. The information communication technology (ICT) revolution has had divergent impact in almost every area human endeavour. From business, industry, government and non-profit organization. ICT has simplified business processes such as sorting, summarizing, coding, editing, customized and generic report generation in a real­-time processing mode. However, ICT has also brought unintended criminal activities such as spamming, ATM fraud in to the rural in Nigeria.

This study seeks to identify impact assessment of ICT and infrastructure facilities in rural areas in Nigeria in sub Saharan African with a view to assess success of the ICT in the rural areas. Today’s business environment is very dynamic and undergoes rapid changes as a result of technological innovation, increased awareness and demands from customers. Information Technology (IT) is the automation of processes, controls, and information production using computers, telecommunications, software and ancillary equipment such as automated teller machine and debit cards Khalifa (2000). It is a term that generally covers the harnessing of electronic technology for the information needs of a business at all levels.

Information and communication technologies (particularly computers and the Internet) are widely acknowledged as important resources for socio-economic advancement in both developed and developing countries. This is doubly so against the backdrop of the global economy which is driven by the “information age”. Developing countries, however, face enormous challenges in their ability to utilize these resources for their growth and development agenda. Limitations range from infrastructural constraints to an ·individual’s ability to convert access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) into tangible benefits in light of other environmental constraints. In this context, shared use models of access such as telecentres, libraries and internet cafes, are important means of making ICTs available. Not only do they bring the technology closer (physically and financially) to people who would otherwise have no access, but they may also provide additional value in the teaching and learning environments they foster.

ICT’s facilities and infrastructures therefore, is a very vital resource in human activities. The need and consequent use of ICTs facilities and infrastructures has contributed .immensely to the growth and development of the world in all spheres, agriculture inclusive. Research results are frequently communicated to the end-users in channels that are applicable. In agriculture the extension activities serve as the link between policy makers and scientist/researchers on the other hand, and end-users on the other hand. Ekoja, 2000 was of the view that, “information dissemination form a core activity in extension service”.

Information source is an institution or individual that creates or brings about a message (Statrasts, 2004). The characteristics of a good information source are relevance, timelessness, accuracy, cost effectiveness, reliability, usability, exhaustiveness and aggregation level (Statrasts, 2004). According to Oladele (2000), the efficiency of technologies generated and disseminated depends on effective communication which is the key process of information dissemination.

There is a general consensus among experts in ICTs facilities (Ekoja, 2000) that; information is a factor to be reckoned with in improving the agricultural services in any state. Therefore, it is the provision of timely information that will occupy a prominent position in the hierarchy of priorities in Nigeria. Ekoja (2000) highlighted (that, “much as agricultural information is important making it available for the intended end-users is equally important”.

Hence one of the agencies or services put in place to diffuse agricultural information in Nigeria is agricultural extension services.


1.2 Statement of Problem

Over the years, deliberate, though ineffective efforts have been made by various regimes in the Nigerian government to bring about ICTs facilities and infrastructural development without much to show for it. Much of the failure can be attributed to the treatment of information delivery by the Nigerian government. . Information is essential ingredients in rural development programs but Nigerian rural seldom feels the impact of ICTs facilities and infrastructural innovations either because they may not have access to such vital ICTs facilities or because it is poorly disseminated.

The non-provision of ICTs facilities and infrastructural, lack of available teaching aids, Electricity, non-provision of essential inputs, capital as well as personnel motivation and evaluation of ICTs facilities programmes are some of the key factors that has greatly limited ICTs facilities in the rural development in Nigeria. This research therefore is to investigate the impact assessment of ICT facilities and infrastructures in rural area of Nigeria and to test how both ICT facilities and infrastructures factors influence Nigeria.


1.3 Objectives of Study

The broad objective of this study is to examine the impact assessment of ICT facilities and infrastructures in rural area of Nigeria and to test how both ICT facilities and infrastructures factors influence Nigeria.

The specific objectives are to:

  1. To examine ICT facilities and infrastructures use in rural area of Nigeria?
  2. To examine impact of ICT facilities in rural area of Nigeria?
  3. To examine the challenging ICT facilities facing by the rural people of Nigeria
  4. To examine how social norms and governmental legislations contribute to ICT facilities and infrastructure in the rural area of Oyo state in Nigeria

1.4 Justification of the Study

The study will reveal the activities carried out by rural area resident for effective and efficient provision of ICTs facilities and infrastructures in rural area of. Nigeria. It will also encourage people living in rural area on the need for utilization of information resources to ameliorate agricultural development in Oyo State. This study is also relevant significant to rural area residents through the advancement of knowledge in ICTs facilities and infrastructures as well as Agricultural information transfer and management for Oyo State government.


1.5 Scope of the Study

The study will cover two rural areas in Akinyele and Egbenda local government area of Oyo state of Nigeria. These include: Ikereku and Erumu rural area of Oyo state.


1.6 Research Questions

  1. What type of ICTs facilities and infrastructure do they have access to in rural area in Nigeria?
  2. How often do you obtain information from the following ICTs facilities?
  3. What are benefits of using ICTs facilities in the rural area of Nigeria?
  4. What are the problems or challenges being faced by Nigeria on ICT facilities and infrastructure?

1.7 Statement of Hypotheses

Hypothesis One
  • Ho: There is no relationship between problems or challenges faced by Nigerians on ICT facilities and infrastructure?
  • Hi: There is relationship between problems or challenges faced by Nigerians on ICT facilities and infrastructure?
Hypotheses Two
  • Ho: There are no benefits of using ICTs facilities in the rural area of Nigeria?
  • Hi: There are benefits of using ICTs facilities in the rural area of Nigeria? HYPOTHESIS THREE
Hypotheses Three
  • Ho: There are no ICTs facilities and infrastructure that have access to in rural area in Nigeria?
  • Hi: There are ICTs facilities and infrastructure that have access to in rural area in Nigeria?

1.8 Research Methodology

The method that will be adopted for this research will partly comprises of theoretical and quantitative methods. The data requirement for the study will rely much on primary source. Such data includes surveys and questionnaires. The data obtained through the questionnaires shall be analyzed using descriptive statistics involving frequency table and percentages to answer the research questions.


1.9 Organisation of the Study

This study examines the impact of ICT on the development of the rural area in Nigeria. The study of this research work is into five chapters.

  1. Chapter one examines the background off the study, statement of problems, objectives of the study, research hypothesis and justification of the study.
  2. Chapter two focuses introduction, review of the related literature.
  3. Chapter three contains the research methodology, data collection, samples and population etc.
  4. Chapter four contains the data presentation and analysis of result and interpretation.
  5. Chapter five focuses on summary, recommendation and conclusion of the study

Chapter Five


Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Conclusion

The conclusions are drawn from the findings of the study. Respondent agree that ICT facilities is utilized to create enabling business environment. Results of the study emphasized that ICT facilities have boosted production of goods and services in society. From the study it is clear that ICT facilities are not fully utilized in staff training by respondent in rural areas of society. The result of the study evidenced many barriers that prevent the utilization of ICT facilities in business in Oyo state ,Nigeria.


5.2 Recommendations

Based on the findings the following recommendations are made:

  1. Respondent should organize on-the-job training and offer opportunities for in-service training to their staff to make them more competent in the use of ICT facilities.
  2. Educational institutions should incorporate digital courses in all levels of education to develop ICT facilities compliance workers at the points of employment.
  3. Respondent in the Oyo state should develop digital networks to promote digital economy and network of ideas.
  4. The government should reduce the tax of internet sales to promote the purchase of internet resources by respondent in rural areas.
  5. Government should subsidize the cost of internet sales to reduce the burden of lack of fund on respondent in rural areas.
  6. The internet providers should build in soft wares that will facilitate delivery of goods through the internet.
  7. The government in their capacity should provide steady electric power supply to enable the respondent in rural areas utilize ICT facilities in business.

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