However, they remind us of the author Lall (2000), who declares that before companies or farms can use and derive the benefits of the technology, they need to learn and develop new skills. Beyond the capacity of adopting new techniques, developing countries also need the capacity to invent and adapt new technologies. Poor countries need to foster their own creativity to use both local and global knowledge and science to find technological solutions to their development problems.
In most cases studies of ICTs and development, the studies do not openly acknowledge failures. Most are disguised under the cover of the phrase, 'lessons learnt'. O'Farrell (2001) believes that before one can advocate for the development of ICTs among the poor, they must understand the existing information systems of the poor, how they interact with formal information and the best way to strengthen them before intervening with new information sources and means of access sources. Access to information and knowledge are enablers in poverty reduction.
Breathnath (2000) explored the emergence of niche markets among transnational cities. This article highlights the uneven impact of globalization on cities across the globe. It makes the point that for some, globalization has meant tremendous growth and new possibilities. However, for those that were not ready for the changes, such as underdeveloped countries, globalization has meant falling farther behind.
Breathnath examined the growth of the call-center business in Dublin Ireland. The historical development of Dublin set it up the center of government and bureaucracy. It was already an established center for the conduct of international business among all sizes of business entities. Dublin saw the opportunity to expand on this established business presence and to develop the establishment of call centers. Dublin poured money into financing, infrastructure and developed policies that made it easy for the establishment of this business.
Dublin's efforts resulted in an influx of foreign domestic investment, especially from American firms. At the time of his study Breathnath found that over 70% of the firms in Dublin and nearly 80% of the employment opportunities in the call center industry were from American firms. Approximately 90% of the call center sector in Ireland is located in Dublin as a result of these moves. Dublin has gained a nickname as "The Call Center of Europe."
This case highlights the importance of examining the strengths and weaknesses of a nation. The development of ICT in Jamaica may depend on the ability to develop current markets using ICT as a facilitator (Stirton and Lodge, 2001). The case in Dublin demonstrates the need for government support of the efforts of cities to develop their niche markets. The analysis of niche markets within a sector represents many opportunities for the development of local economies on a global level.
In a speech to the World Summit on Information Society, Dr. Paulwell highlighted the steps that were necessary to improve the development of ICT strategies in Latin American and Caribbean countries. He stressed the importance of integrating many processes and strategies including, "liberalization, legislation, education, infrastructure, trade, transport and logistics" (Paulwell, 2000). He stressed the importance of the development of clear strategic goals and strategies in the success of the project.
Paulwell (2000) highlighted the importance of Small and Medium Entities (SMEs) in the economy of these countries. A majority of the business entities in Latin America and the Caribbean are SMEs. Encouraging the use of technology to stimulate the efficient delivery of their services and allowing them to fully integrate the supply chain will make a major impact on the economy of the area. Paulwell felt that ICT offer export opportunities in many human resources intensive sectors and this will help to stimulate job growth. He saw opportunities in tourism, the cultural industry and in professional services. This plan would address two major issues that are an important factor in the Jamaican economy, economic stimulation and job development.
Up to this point most Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries have focused their attention on connectivity and e-government. There are a number of programs and policies available to stimulate the telecommunications market and to generate new users. At the time of Paulwell's speech only about 8% of the general population in LACs were connected to the Internet. In order to promote the e-economy more attention will have to be paid to the needs of the general population and their use of the Internet. This is referred to as the "Digital gap" in many scholarly works.
Paulwell suggested several areas that need to be addressed in order to promote the development of ICT and the technology sector in general. They are:
Promote the e-economy
Increase the budget for science and technology that is appropriate for an information society
Focus on the infrastructure, including involvement of the private sector
Enlarge physical and cultural access the Internet
Make national governments model agents and consumers
Promote competition among Internet providers to facilitate Internet access among the general population.
Promote the development of local content and interest, including multiple indigenous languages
Concentrate on the use of ICT as a tool for poverty reduction and development.
As can see from the available literature, there are many gaps that need to be filled in order to resolve the issues associated with ICT usage and growth. We saw several examples of how countries have attempted to resolve these issues and promote the development of certain sectors within local communities. However, we have also discovered that there are many challenges in the development of ICT usage that plague LACs. Poverty and lack of access to the Internet are major challenges to the growth to ICT use in LACs. The focus of this research is to help resolve some of the issues that stand in the way of ICT development in LACs.
CHAPTER 4 - METHODOLOGY
The problems associated with ICT usage in LACs, such as Jamaica are complex. As we discovered in the literature review, there are many areas that need to be addressed in the resolution of the issues. The areas that need to be addressed are relatively unrelated and require different research strategies. Therefore the research methodology will require different research strategies as well.
Some areas, such as the social and political factors that effect ICT usage require a qualitative approach. Research into these areas will involve collection of data from secondary sources, such as the agencies responsible for implementation of the strategic initiatives. It will also use information gleaned from informants and experts it the field.
The purpose of the study is to determine the gaps that currently exist in Jamaica's ability to take advantage of the increased opportunities that exist through the use of ITC. One of the key difficulties in this assessment is a lack of empirical studies to date. In order to assess factors such as the economic impact of ITC on the growth of the country, we will have to rely on government statistics as a key source of data.
There are several factors that could affect the accuracy of the study. The first is that because the study relies on secondary sources, there is a question as to the reliability of the data. There may be biases in the figures presented that will have a negative impact on the ability of the study to make an accurate assessment. However, in many cases primary data is not available to the general public, therefore the study will have to rely on secondary sources. Data will be derived from the most credible sources available, such as government agencies and industry leaders. Data from several different sources will be compared and any differences will be examined.
The assessment methodology entails establishing the current status of science and technology in Jamaica and to assess the extent to which the country is embracing these technologies to its advantage. It will use a combination of quantitative and qualitative data to support the thesis and to answer the research questions. Quantitative data is appropriate for data that can be transformed into numerical form. Qualitative data is typically used for subjective data that is not easily transformed into numerical form. This study will entail both types of data. The appropriate presentation method will be used depending on the specific area of the research being analyzed and the data being presented.
Hybrid quantitative and qualitative techniques have been found to represent the best method for answering certain types of research questions (Walker, 2001). There are many advantages and disadvantages associated with each type of research that will impact the ability to draw conclusion in this study. Quantitative studies are considered the traditional research method. A key advantage of this type of study is that they give definitive yes and no answers. Statistical analysis determines whether or not the data meets criteria for the acceptance or rejection of the hypothesis. In qualitative studies the acceptance or rejection is often subjective and…