Can Mobile Internet Help Alleviate Social Exclusion in Developing Countries?

Wallace Chigona, Darry Beukes, Junaid Vally, Maureen Tanner


Research has shown that traditional Internet has not been successful in alleviating social exclusion in developing country. Since a significant number of the population in developing countries use mobile phones, others have suggested that mobile internet may be the solution to the problem. However, to date there has not been empirical studies in developing countries to explore that possibility. This study aims therefore to explore whether the mobile internet may be a viable option for addressing social exclusion in a developing country context. Data for the study was gathered using semi-structured interviews with socially excluded individuals and the data was analysed using thematic analysis. The findings of the study show that usage of mobile internet amongst the socially excluded is low mainly because internet-capable cell phones are still beyond the reach of the socially excluded and because of limited awareness of what mobile internet is and what it can achieve. The study also shows that while mobile internet has significant impact in addressing exclusion from social participation, its impact on economic as well political dimensions of exclusions is still limited.


Social exclusion; Economic exclusion; Political exclusion; Mobile Internet; Developing country

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The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries.
ISSN: 1681-4835