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Comparing the determinants of Internet and cell phone use in Africa: Evidence from Gabon

Author

Listed:
  • Thierry Pénard

    (CREM - Centre de recherche en économie et management - UNICAEN - Université de Caen Normandie - NU - Normandie Université - UR1 - Université de Rennes 1 - UNIV-RENNES - Université de Rennes - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Nicolas Poussing

    (CEPS/INSTEAD - Centre d'Etudes de Populations, de Pauvreté et de Politiques Socio-Economiques / International Networks for Studies in Technology, Environment, Alternatives, Development - Centre d'Etudes de Populations, de Pauvreté et de Politiques Socio-Economiques / International Networks for Studies in Technology, Environment, Alternatives, Development, CREM - Centre de recherche en économie et management - UNICAEN - Université de Caen Normandie - NU - Normandie Université - UR1 - Université de Rennes 1 - UNIV-RENNES - Université de Rennes - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Gabriel Zomo Yebe

    (Université Omar Bongo - Université Omar Bongo [Libreville, Gabon])

  • Philémon Nsi Ella

    (Université Omar Bongo - Université Omar Bongo [Libreville, Gabon])

Abstract

Within developed countries, the penetration of cell phones and the Internet has risen in tandem and the point of market saturation has nearly been reached in both markets. In contrast, the African continent has been characterized by more uneven progress, with the penetration of cell phones (41% in 2010) considerably outpacing the penetration of the Internet (9.6%). The question is then raised as to whether cell phone and Internet adoption processes in Africa are different as compared to other regions. To address this question, we compare the determinants and hindrances of both Internet and cell phone use in Gabon, using household survey data. Our econometric results show that the primary factors stimulating Internet use consist of a high level of education and computer skills. As regards cell phone use, the main obstacles are economic. Finally, an individual's age has a positive impact on cell phone use and a negative impact on Internet use. The differences identified in both penetration and user profiles between Internet and cell phone service should motivate African governments to develop digital policies more heavily focused on a wider dissemination of cell phones in order to make innovative services and applications (e.g. in the field of health or education) available to as broad a population as possible.

Suggested Citation

  • Thierry Pénard & Nicolas Poussing & Gabriel Zomo Yebe & Philémon Nsi Ella, 2012. "Comparing the determinants of Internet and cell phone use in Africa: Evidence from Gabon," Post-Print halshs-00712296, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00712296
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00712296
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Internet use; cell phone use; IT diffusion; digital divide; Africa;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L5 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy
    • L9 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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