Role of Information and Communication Technologies in Sustainable Livelihoods in Selected Rural Areas of Tanzania
In the recent past, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have been accorded significant importance in development and poverty reduction. This article reports findings and conclusions of a study that used the sustainable livelihoods framework to investigate the link between ICTs and rural livelihoods in four rural districts in Tanzania. The study, which used a multi-case study research design, found out that, while ICTs may not fully support and sustain socio-economic development in poor countries, the impact of these technologies extends to various aspects of the livelihoods of the rural people. Economically, these technologies lead to better earnings and savings. Socially, they help in community interaction and knowledge sharing, and enable improved follow up for remittances and the creation of savings and credit cooperative societies. In relation to human capital, the impact extends to ICTs literacy, improved farming techniques and better access to information on new cash crops. The study concludes that increased access to ICTs may give people in the rural area access to more livelihoods resources and assets, and recommends that barriers to ICTs access such as illiteracy, lack of electricity and ICTs affordability be addressed.