Development Outcomes of Internet and Mobile Phones Use in Kenya: The Households’ Perspectives.

Nyambura Ndung’u, Margaret, and Timothy M. Waema (2010). "Development Outcomes of Internet and Mobile Phones Use in Kenya: The Households’ Perspectives." Paper presented at the 7th annual conference of the HDCA, 21-23 September 2010, Amman, Jordan.

Usage of Internet and mobile phones referred to as the “new technologies” in the paper, have promoted and sometimes hindered various aspects of development bringing radical changes to Kenyan’s households in the last couple of years. RIA (2007) established that households with as little as Ksh. 774 (US$10.32) monthly income owned a mobile phone or had an active SIM card. Those who had an average income of Ksh. 12, 823 (US$ 171) had access to Internet from homes. With the rapid spread of mobile broadband, Internet usage at the household level is expected to have increased and to have led to some development outcomes. This paper makes use of the Capability Approach model as the research framework and focuses on the social, economic and knowledge development outcomes of Internet and mobile phone use at the household level, using the RIA (2007) data and qualitative data from a Preliminary survey (2010). It notes that the social, economic and knowledge status of individuals, coupled with the choices they make determines the extent to which use of these technologies results to development outcomes. The paper will establish the development outcomes associated with the rapid spread and usage of the Internet and mobile phones at the household level and explore if the wide usage is expanding or shrinking the capabilities of the households’. The paper makes some recommendations on further research on the effects of new technologies on quality of life.
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