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Article
Publication date: 20 September 2021

Sharon Wagg and Boyka Simeonova

This paper explores how policy-level stakeholders tackle digital inclusion in the context of UK rural communities.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper explores how policy-level stakeholders tackle digital inclusion in the context of UK rural communities.

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with stakeholders that operate nationally in government departments, government funded organisations and third sector organisations that provided a policy-level perspective on digital inclusion initiative provision across England, Scotland and Wales. Activity theory (AT) was utilised as a theoretical framework, where a variety of factors–tools, rules, community, division of labour and contradictions–were found to have an influence on digital inclusion initiative provision.

Findings

Digital inclusion initiative provision in UK rural communities is organised through the multi-stakeholder involvement of national organisations, and collaboration with intermediary organisations to provide digital skills training and support. The process is fraught with difficulties and contradictions, limited knowledge sharing; reduced or poor-quality connectivity; lack of funding; lack of local resources; assumptions that organisations will indeed collaborate and assumptions that intermediary organisations have staff with the necessary skills and confidence to provide digital skills training and support within the rural context.

Research limitations/implications

This study highlights the benefit of using AT as a lens to develop a nuanced understanding of how policy-level stakeholders tackle digital inclusion.

Practical implications

This study can inform policy decisions on digital inclusion initiative provision suitable for rural communities.

Originality/value

The contribution of this paper provides new insights into the understanding of how policy-level stakeholders tackle digital inclusion and the provision of digital inclusion initiatives; it builds on the use of AT to help unpick the complexity of digital inclusion initiative provision as a phenomenon; it reveals contradictions in relation to trust, and the need for knowledge sharing mechanisms to span and align different interpretations of digital inclusion across the policy-level; and reveals an extension of AT demonstrated through the “granularity of the subject” which enables the multi-actor involvement of the stakeholders involved in digital inclusion at policy-level to emerge.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

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Article
Publication date: 11 May 2021

Ibrahim Osman Adam and Muftawu Dzang Alhassan

In an increasingly digitalised society, digital participation is reliant on information communication technology (ICT) access and the ability to use technologies for…

Abstract

Purpose

In an increasingly digitalised society, digital participation is reliant on information communication technology (ICT) access and the ability to use technologies for everyday tasks. To this end, people risk being digitally excluded if they cannot access and use ICTs. The purpose of this paper is to examine globally the effects of ICT access and ICT use on digital inclusion on one hand and the mediating role of ICT usage on the linkage between ICT access and digital inclusion on the other.

Design/methodology/approach

The study used a hypothesized model based on structuration theory and secondary data drawn from multiple archival sources in 121 countries. The authors test the model using partial least squares structural equation modelling.

Findings

The results from the PLS analysis shows that while ICT usage significantly influences digital inclusion at the global level, ICT access does not. Furthermore, the mediating role of ICT usage was not supported.

Originality/value

This study to the best of the authors’ knowledge is one of the very few studies to examine the effects of ICT access and ICT use on digital inclusion at the global level. The study contributes to the discourse on digital inclusion in ICT4D research.

Details

Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-6166

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Article
Publication date: 20 May 2020

George Okello Candiya Bongomin and Joseph Mpeera Ntayi

Drawing from the argument that mobile money services have a significant potential to provide a wide range of affordable, convenient and secure financial services, there…

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Abstract

Purpose

Drawing from the argument that mobile money services have a significant potential to provide a wide range of affordable, convenient and secure financial services, there have been rampant frauds on consumers of financial products over the digital financial platform. Thus, this study aims to establish the mediating effect of digital consumer protection in the relationship between mobile money adoption and usage and financial inclusion with data collected from micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in northern Uganda.

Design/methodology/approach

To achieve the main objective of this study, a research model was developed to test for the mediating effect of digital consumer protection in the relationship between mobile money adoption and usage and financial inclusion. The data were collected from MSMEs and structural equation modelling in partial least square (PLS) combined with bootstrap was applied to analyze and test the hypotheses of this study. The direct and indirect effect of mobile money adoption and usage on financial inclusion was tested through digital consumer protection as a mediator variable.

Findings

The findings from the PLS-structural equation modelling (SEM) showed that mobile money adoption and usage has both direct and indirect effect on financial inclusion. Moreover, financial inclusion is influenced by both mobile money adoption and usage and digital consumer protection.

Research limitations/implications

The study used partial least square (PLS-SEM) combined with bootstrap confidence intervals through a formative approach to establish the mediating effect of the mediator variable. Hence, it ignored the use of covariance-based SEM and the MedGraph programme. Furthermore, data were collected from samples located in Gulu district, northern Uganda and specifically from MSMEs. This limits generalization of the study findings to other population who also use mobile money services.

Practical implications

Promoters of digital financial services, managers of telecommunication companies, and financial inclusion advocates should consider strengthening the existing digital consumer protection laws on the mobile money platform. A collaborative approach between the mobile network operators, financial institutions and regulators should tighten the existing laws against mobile money fraudsters and an efficient mechanism for recourse, compensation and remedy should be set up to benefit the victims of frauds and cybercrime on the Fintech ecosystem.

Originality/value

The current study gives a useful insight into the critical mediating role of digital consumer protection as a cushion for promoting financial inclusion through mobile phones over the Fintech that face great threat and risk from cyber insecurity.

Details

Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance, vol. 22 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-5038

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Article
Publication date: 17 June 2021

Alicja Pawluczuk, JeongHyun Lee and Attlee Munyaradzi Gamundani

This aim of this paper is to examine the existing gender digital inclusion evaluation guidance and proposes future research recommendations for their evaluation. Despite…

Abstract

Purpose

This aim of this paper is to examine the existing gender digital inclusion evaluation guidance and proposes future research recommendations for their evaluation. Despite modern progress in towards gender equality and women’s empowerment movements, women’s access to, use of and benefits from digital technologies remain limited owing to economic, social and cultural obstacles. Addressing the existing gender digital divide is critical in the global efforts towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In recent years, there has been a global increase of gender digital inclusion programmes for girls and women; these programmes serve as a mechanism to learn about gender-specific digital needs and inform future digital inclusion efforts. Evaluation reports of gender digital inclusion programmes can produce critical insights into girls’ and women’s learning needs and aspirations, including what works and what does not when engaging girls and women in information and communications technologies. While there are many accounts highlighting the importance of why gender digital inclusion programmes are important, there is limited knowledge on how to evaluate their impact.

Design/methodology/approach

The thematic analysis suggests three points to consider for the gender digital inclusion programmes evaluation: context-specific understanding of gender digital inclusion programmes; transparency and accountability of the evaluation process and its results; and tensions between evaluation targets and empowerment of evaluation participants.

Findings

The thematic analysis suggests three points of future focus for this evaluation process: context-specific understanding of gender digital inclusion programmes; transparency and accountability of the evaluation process and its results; and tensions between evaluation targets and empowerment of evaluation participants.

Originality/value

The authors propose recommendations for gender digital inclusion evaluation practice and areas for future research.

Details

Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-5038

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Article
Publication date: 3 May 2021

Amari Mouna and Anis Jarboui

To help inform the debate over whether socio-demographic characteristics are related to the use of digital technologies, the authors investigated the effects of age…

Abstract

Purpose

To help inform the debate over whether socio-demographic characteristics are related to the use of digital technologies, the authors investigated the effects of age, gender, education, income and being in the workforce on changes in using financial digital services using panel data collected in the MENA countries during 2017.

Design/methodology/approach

This study aims to identify the impact of government policy on the determinants of financial inclusion and digital payment services in the MENA region. The authors use microdata from the 2017 Global Findex database on MENA countries to perform probit estimations. The paper focuses on the role of technology adoption by government authorities in extending financial inclusion and digital payment around different people.

Findings

The authors find that poorer people (and, by association, less educated people) and the young (but less so the elderly) are disproportionately excluded from the financial system. Results confirm that better collaboration between the government and the financial sector can help to develop digital financial inclusion through the technology adoption channels. The study confirms the significant impact of the government cashless policy in advancing financial inclusion in the MENA countries, with potentially wider applicability to other developed economies.

Practical implications

Policies to advance mobile money innovations could stimulate financial inclusion by promoting digital transaction services. The role of government authorities is imperative to harness the beneficial and sustainable gains from digitizing remittances and transfers to promote a cashless economy.

Originality/value

Financial inclusion promotes equality through a broadening of the system and government cashless policy can be a major catalyst for greater financial inclusion. It helps in the overall economic development of the underprivileged population and contributes to poverty reduction.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 9 December 2020

Xiao-Ling Song, Ya-Ge Jing and Kade'erya Akeba'erjiang

This study aims to empirically analyze the factors influencing digital financial inclusion in China.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to empirically analyze the factors influencing digital financial inclusion in China.

Design/methodology/approach

Using panel data from 31 provinces in China for the years 2011-2018, the study constructed spatial econometric models for regression analysis at the national and regional levels.

Findings

Economic development, government intervention, internet penetration and the development of the credit level significantly affected the development of digital financial inclusion in China. However, the specific influence of the various factors varied by province. Provinces with less-developed economies generally had weaker economic foundations and underdeveloped digital financial services, making it more difficult to fully achieve digital financial inclusion.

Practical implications

Relevant government policies should strengthen digital infrastructure and improve the organizational systems and services of digital finance to support the balanced development of digital financial services in China.

Originality/value

China’s e-commerce development has been at the global forefront for decades, which suggests digital financial inclusion is also well-placed for strong development in China. However, quantitative research on the digital financial inclusion index has remained insufficient in China and worldwide, with most research ignoring the status of different development levels in a different region. To address this gap in the literature, this study empirically researched the status, regional differences and causes associated with these differences that impact digital financial inclusion in China.

Details

International Journal of Development Issues, vol. 20 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1446-8956

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2009

Saheer Al‐Jaghoub and Chris Westrup

Digital and social inclusion are becoming more talked about as approaches to what has been discussed as the digital divide. But what is digital or social inclusion? The…

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1347

Abstract

Purpose

Digital and social inclusion are becoming more talked about as approaches to what has been discussed as the digital divide. But what is digital or social inclusion? The purpose of this paper is to explore the notion of social exclusion as a variety of, sometimes conflicting, social programmes which embody ideas of what society should be. Becoming more aware of this variety of approach can give insights into programmes addressing the digital divide and the political, cultural and social aspects of policies of social inclusion.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper analyses the notion of social inclusion as a variety of social policies to address social exclusion and develop the nation state. It uses an example of a telecentre in Jordan's knowledge station (KS) programme to illustrate and extend this analysis.

Findings

The analysis and discussion of the KS initiative shows how different notions of social and digital inclusion are important features of strengthening the Jordanian state and are useful in analysing the relative success of this programme.

Originality/value

The paper argues that analyses of digital divides and digital exclusion could be strengthened by a closer understanding of policies of social inclusion. In this way it is possible to move from technological connection as a measure of a digital divide to a more thorough understanding using social inclusion policy which illuminates social, political and cultural aspects of technological change.

Details

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, vol. 7 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-996X

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Article
Publication date: 8 October 2020

Daniel Azerikatoa Ayoung, Charles Bugre and Frederic Naazi-Ale Baada

It has been a decade, as the collaboration between the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) and the Ghana Library Authority (GhLA) to extend…

Abstract

Purpose

It has been a decade, as the collaboration between the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) and the Ghana Library Authority (GhLA) to extend information and communication technology (ICT) and library services to rural deprived, unserved and underserved communities in Ghana dubbed the library connectivity project. This paper aims to evaluate this initiative from the perspective of relevant key stakeholders and through the lens of the digital inclusion model.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopted a qualitative approach to evaluate the library connectivity project offered to deprived communities in the Upper East Region of Ghana. Interviews were conducted with the head librarians, ICT teachers and school librarians. Focus group discussions were held with pupils from four beneficiary schools of the project. The researchers also witnessed four of the outreach programmes and training sessions and observed the mode of instruction.

Findings

The study brought to fore the enormous benefits of the library connectivity project as it aided school pupils to acquire practical ICT skills, which were found to be useful towards their final exam. Despite the enormous benefit of the project, it was bereft with a lot of challenges such as inadequate logistics and personnel thereby restricting the project to very few schools. Low staff motivation and unmotorable roads were also found to be a challenge, which could all be as a result of lack of funds.

Research limitations/implications

The paper underscores the importance of computer and information literacy and reveals how the GhLA is using innovative mobile library services to bridge the digital divide through the library connectivity project.

Originality/value

This paper makes a further contribution to the paucity of literature on the role of mobile libraries in the promotion of computer and information literacy.

Details

Information and Learning Sciences, vol. 121 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-5348

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2015

Khorshed Alam and Sophia Imran

– The purpose of this paper is to examine the factors which influence refugee migrants’ adoption of digital technology and its relevance to their social inclusion in Australia.

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6082

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the factors which influence refugee migrants’ adoption of digital technology and its relevance to their social inclusion in Australia.

Design/methodology/approach

This research developed a conceptual framework keeping the “use” of digital technology as the centre-piece of the digital divide. The empirical data were derived from a series of focus group discussions with refugee migrants in an Australian regional city, Toowoomba in Queensland.

Findings

There is a digital divide among refugee migrant groups and it is based on inequalities in physical access to and use of digital technology, the skills necessary to use the different technologies effectively and the ability to pay for the services. The opportunities to use digital technology could support the social inclusion of refugee migrant groups in the broader Australian community.

Research limitations/implications

Further research is required to examine whether this digital divide is unique in the regional context or common to Australian society and to confirm factors that might contribute significantly to refugee migrants’ social inclusion.

Originality/value

This paper determined the role digital technology can play in building social capital and hence social inclusion among refugee migrant groups. Many of the factors identified as influencing refugee migrants’ use of digital technology can inform the Australian government and the information and communication technology industry in devising supportive policies and plans to reduce the risk of social exclusion, alienation and marginalisation among refugee migrant groups.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 28 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

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Book part
Publication date: 21 May 2021

Peterson K. Ozili

Purpose: This chapter presents criticisms of financial inclusion.Methodology: This chapter uses critical discourse analysis to critique the modern financial inclusion

Abstract

Purpose: This chapter presents criticisms of financial inclusion.

Methodology: This chapter uses critical discourse analysis to critique the modern financial inclusion agenda.

Findings: The findings reveal that (i) financial inclusion is an invitation to live by finance and leads to the financialization of poverty; (ii) some of the benefits of financial inclusion disappear after a few years; (iii) financial inclusion ignores how poverty affects financial decision-making; (iv) it promotes digital money which is difficult to understand; (v) financial inclusion promotes the use of transaction accounts; (vi) digital money is difficult to understand; and that (vii) some financial inclusion efforts bear a resemblance to a campaign against having cash-in-hand.

Implication: This study will help policymakers in their assessment of the economic, social, political, and cultural factors that hinder financial inclusion as well as the consequence of financial inclusion for society. For academics, this study will provide a critical perspective to on-going financial inclusion debates in the large positivist literature on financial inclusion.

Originality: Currently, there are no studies that use critical discourse analysis to analyze the broader concept of financial inclusion. This chapter is the first study that uses critical discourse analysis to critique some aspects of the modern financial inclusion agenda.

Details

New Challenges for Future Sustainability and Wellbeing
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-969-6

Keywords

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