Digital and Other Poverties: Exploring the Connection in Four East African Countries

Although improved access to ICT has been put forward as a possible pathway from poverty, the mechanisms by which this takes place remain unclear. This is partly due to the need to further develop the conceptual and methodological tools necessary for such analysis. This article suggests a way in which indicators of multidimensional poverty can be incorporated into the analysis of access to ICT. Using data from four countries in East Africa, households without ICT are found to be poorer in all dimensions than those with ICT. A multivariate analysis shows the associations between these dimensions of poverty and ICT access, revealing the importance of human and ªnancial capitals. The use of digital poverty and the inclusion of multidimensional measures of poverty improve the estimation of the predictors of ICT access, and conversely, are likely to be important for future attempts to measure the impact of ICT on poverty reduction.

Julian Douglas May
© Information Technologies and International Development Journal, 2010