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Investigating the key factors influencing ICT adoption in South Africa

Michael Kyobe (Department of Information Systems, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa)

Journal of Systems and Information Technology

ISSN: 1328-7265

Article publication date: 16 August 2011




The purpose of this paper is to investigate and empirically determine the influence on information and communication technology (ICT) adoption of three important factors (i.e. capacity to adopt and use ICT, exposure to international environment and state policies) in South Africa.


Data covering the period 2000‐2009 on the above influencing factors were collected from the World Bank databases and other sources. A logarithmic transformation of data was done, followed by a regression analysis in order to determine the significance of the influence of each factor.


The results show that capacity to adopt and use ICT has the most significant influence on ICT adoption in South Africa, followed by exposure to international environment. The effect of state policies was surprisingly not significant, deviating from the general claims that policy implementation and adoption of such policies are key determinants of adoption.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of this study are based on data collected from secondary sources which may be susceptible to measurement errors, missing values and inconsistent calculations. While the researcher made some effort to minimise these limitations, precautions need to be taken in using and generalising these findings.

Practical implications

This study confirms the need to increase levels of economic growth in South Africa if the country is to make technological advances that will ensure competitiveness in the global environment. Understanding the relative influence of these factors is important in directing policy and proper allocation of limited resources.


Many factors influencing ICT adoption have been identified in literature. However, these tend to be studied in isolation, are fragmented, and as such the key determining factors are not well understood in South Africa. While there is no doubt that human, social, economic, political and other factors impact on ICT adoption, the significance of the influence of each factor needs to be understood. The present study bridged this gap by identifying the factor with the most significant influence on ICT adoption. Understanding such significance would enable appropriate policy reviews and intervention strategies that support ICT adoption.



Kyobe, M. (2011), "Investigating the key factors influencing ICT adoption in South Africa", Journal of Systems and Information Technology, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 255-267.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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