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Information and Communication Technology in today’s world refers to those

technologies that determine the efficiency and effectiveness with which we

communicate and the devices that allow us to handle information.

The Wikipedia free encyclopedia (2005) describe “information and

communication technology usually abbreviated as ICT, is often used as an

extended synonym for information technology (IT), but is usually a more general

term that stresses the role of unified communication and the integrated of

telecommunication (telephone lines and wireless signal), computers,

middleware as well as software, storage – and audio- visual system, which

enable user to create, access, store, transmit and manipulate information. In

other word, information communication technology (ICT) consists of information

technology (IT) as well as telecommunication, broadcast media, all type of

audio and video processing and transmission and network based control and

monitoring function”.

Adegbola (2009) also buttress this fact when he said “ICT covers any product

that will store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit and relieve information

electronically in a digital form e.g. computer, digital television, email e.t.c. he

further stress that “ICT is often categories into two broad types;

Traditional computer based technologies (things you can typically do on a


Digital communication technology which allows people and organization

to communication and share information digitally.

“Information communication technology have been the basis for human

existence from time immemorial and this has driven man to continuously seek

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ways to improve the processing of information and communication such

information to one another irrespective of distance and on a real-time basis”

(Ndukwe, 2002).

Thioune (2003) also note that “for the past two decades most developed

countries have witnessed significant changes that can be traced to ICTs. These

multi-dimensional changes have been observed in almost all aspects of life:

economics, education, communication, health, business, communication and


In a technological driven society, getting information quickly is important for

both sender and receiver because according to Anna (2002) “an information

society is a way for human capacity to be expanded, built up, nourished and

liberated by giving access to tools and technologies, with the education and

training to use them effectively”.

The importance of information communication technology cannot be

overemphasize because the pace brought about by new technologies has had

a significant effect on the way people live, work and play worldwide.

UNDP (2001) “even if sustainable economic growth facilitates the creation and

diffusion of useful innovations, technology is not only the result of growth but

can be used to support growth and development.

Tiemo (2006) assert that “the importance of information cannot be

overemphasized. People need information to plan and carry out their decisions

and could greatly benefit from information on better choice of food, healthcare,

education, prevention and control of epidemic diseases. The combination of

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modern communication devices could play significant roles in the collection and

dissemination of global information.”


The information society challenges the education system. In recent years, the

speedy, effective and global communication of knowledge has created a new

foundation for co-operation and team work.

The Wiki educator (2009) explains further that “New and emerging technologies

has change the traditional process of teaching and learning, and the way

education is managed. It has a major impact across all curriculum area and with

that, easy worldwide communication provides;

Access to varieties of learning resources

Immediacy to information

Anytime and anywhere learning

Collaborative learning

Multimedia approach to learning

Authentic and up to date information

Access to online libraries

Teaching of different subject made interesting

Educational data storage

Distance education

Access to the source of information

Multi communication channels e.g. email, chat forum, blogs

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The big stories in ICT development are not of particular breakthrough

technologies, but rather those of rapid and continuous improvement. the

explosion of bandwidth capacity in fixed and mobile networks, and the

emergence and development of the internet and internet-based applications.

Perhaps the most important development is the convergence of technologies,

which is opening up new possibilities in a number of fields’ informatics.

(Tim Kelly: 2009)

The World Health Organization (2009) also said technology has always been at

the backbone of improving medical services to prevent, diagnose, and treat

illness and disease.

Over recent years the drug discovery pipeline has been a concern for many in

the pharmaceutical industry. Escalating costs, increasing complexity and a

dwindling population of drug candidates suggest that traditional R&D methods

are unlikely to produce enough breakthrough drugs to ensure industry growth.

The convergence of information and bio-technologies is already revolutionizing

drug discovery and design, and may radically alter the economics of the drug

discovery over the coming years. (Tollerman et al 2001)

He also stressed the importance of ICTs, that significant impacts for the

pharmaceutical industry are available from the further application of ICTs to the:

Substitution of in silico for in vitro and in vivo testing; operation and

management of clinical trials (e.g. e-recruitment);

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Monitoring post-launch usage and outcomes; marketing and distribution

of pharmaceuticals (e.g. 'Cyber-detailing');

Implementation of integrated e-commerce and supply chain management

systems in healthcare supplies;

Development of internet health 'portals' and healthcare information for

both medical practitioners and patients; and further development of

electronic prescription and clinical decision support systems.


There is an enormous range of opportunities for significant cost reductions,

service enhancements and behavioural change through what is often broadly

referred to as ‘E health'.

Payers: The major impact of ICTs on payers will be the ability to manage

the system in order to better account for expenditures, to manage the flow

of funds and contain costs. There will be strong motivation to adopt

systems which enable payers to track expenditures and exercise control

over the processes of referral and prescription – the initiators of health

services. From the payers' perspective, ICTs are tools for demand

management and cost containment.

Providers: It is clear that the entire healthcare system could reap

significant gains from an integrated approach to supply chain

management that includes the entire range of hospital and medical

supplies and linkages to other players in the healthcare system.

Electronic scheduling and patient management systems could improve

scheduling of tests and procedures, and thereby reduce the length of

hospital stays and reduce the need for multiple visits. Linking insurers,

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healthcare providers, financial institutions and consumers into claiming

and payments systems also has the potential to reduce significantly

administrative costs and improve quality of service. There are already

some examples of leading-edge activities, but for many progresses

towards realizing these benefits has been relatively slow.

Practitioners: From the perspective of individual medical practitioners,

knowledge enrichment or education, practice administration, and clinical

tools are among the most important ICT applications. Knowledge

enrichment and practice administration systems are widely used, but the

adoption of clinical tools has been relatively slow because of the

complexity of such applications and a range of doctor concerns (eg.

patient privacy and security of patient records, the possibility that the tools

will generate activities that are not billable and/or reimbursable, the cost

of integrating clinical tools with current systems, the difficulty of use and

possible interruptions to workflow and doctor patient interactions, and the

time needed for training to effectively use the new tools). Nevertheless,

clinical tools hold significant promise, both in terms of direct efficiency and

cost savings and in terms of influencing the behaviour and practices of

doctors. Ultimately, Clinical Decision Support Systems (CDSS) will

provide a key component for evidence-based care. The use of CDSS in

prevention and monitoring has been shown to improve compliance with

guidelines in many clinical areas. CDSS drug prescribing is particularly

useful in such areas as drug selection, dosing calculations and

scheduling, screening for interactions and monitoring and documentation

of adverse reactions. Computer assisted diagnosis and management aids

are at an earlier stage of development, due to the complexities involved,

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but their potential to enhance healthcare outcomes is enormous. The

potential for such applications to enable a range of care management and

funding agencies to monitor and influence the behaviour of doctors at the

critical point of prescription and referral is of great significance for all


Patients: ICTs are altering the relationship and balance of power

between patients and providers, leading to more empowered consumers

and enhanced self, home and community care capabilities. Perhaps the

greatest change in the patient-provider relationship will be brought about

by the use of internet by patients. suggested that two types of information

will be particularly important – information about managing health and

chronic disease, and information about provider quality and cost.2 With

the rise of more informed consumers, there will be increasing scope for

stakeholders to influence healthcare behaviour, prescription, treatment

and referral decisions and compliance through patients, as well as

through doctors.


While it is clear that information communication technology plays important

roles in advancing and expanding economic opportunity of various countries,

information communication technology bring about new market, new products

and new services are being created which brings with them increase in the

sources of revenue of a country.

ICT create new market place by overcoming geographic boundaries, creating a

more efficient global market. According to (Onwe .O.J, 2005) “Buyers and

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sellers are increasingly able to share information on process specification and

delivery times, the production process can be spread across national boarder,

and comparative advantage can be more efficiently realized.

He further explained that ICT benefit productivity through the creation of models

for turning and services. As organizations learn and adapt new technologies,

labour can be redeployed to more efficient tasks.

ICT not only improve the ability of the poor to access financial services, but are

also central in attracting investment to the economies.


The advent of ICT into Financial Houses created what we know now as “E-


According to the Information development programme (2012) “E-banking refers

to the deployment of IT services by banks using the infrastructure of the digital

age which dramatically lowers transaction costs and creates new types of

banking opportunities that overcome barriers of time and distance. Banking

opportunities are local, global and immediate in E-banking.

The current web-based variant of electronic banking is the latest of several

generations of systems: Automated teller machines (ATMs) were the first well-

known machines to provide electronic access to customers of retail banks. Next

came phone banking where users call their bank’s computer system on their

ordinary phone and use the phone keypad to perform banking transactions. PC

banking superseded phone banking and allowed users to interact with their

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bank by means of a computer with a dial-up modem connection to the phone


For users, e-banking provides current information, 24-hours-a-day access to

banking services – in addition to the familiar browser interface. The primary

services provided by e-banks are transferring money among one’s own

accounts, paying bills, and checking account balances. Loans, brokering, share

trading, service bundling, and a host of other financial services are being added

to these primary services. Since the late 1990s e-banking has developed from

virtual insignificance to millions of users worldwide, and due to their high

penetration, e-banking systems accommodate a wide range of users. 

Online banking allows customers to get current account balances at any time

and if banking function does not require physical interaction, which should be

ideal for countries with a poor financial and postal infrastructure.

Technology offers the potential to dramatically decrease operational costs,

improves the quality of financial information and makes banking for the poor

more profitable and less risky for mainstream financial institutions.  


ICT does not only collect, store, process and diffuse enormous quantity of

information, it enhances the creation of a global village. The advent of ICT

brought about new techniques like the internet which changes how people

communicate and disseminate information speedily and effective globally. With

the aid of the internet, financial houses, business men and women, healthcare

professional, educator, etc. need not to travel long distance to attend to their

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various businesses. The internet offer services like E-mail, File transfer protocol

(ftp), Newsgroups, Teleconferencing, Telnet, Internet conference, Internet

telephony, Internet fax, Listserv, Gopher etc,

Most recent growth involves mobile phone which now outnumbered fixed ones.

Mobile phones have an especially dramatic impact in developing countries for

scarce fixed connections, increasing mobility, reducing transaction cost,

broadening trade networks and facilitating searches for employment.


Information and communication technology has played obvious roles in global

development process by making the world a potential and continual emerging

global village for business and social interactions. The challenges of the

dynamic nature of ICT which sometimes makes it difficult to have more

accurate data on its impact on global development, remain to be contended

with, however, the obvious positive impact of ICT on development process,

even in developing economies cannot be denied.


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Annan, K. (2002). Information and communication development:

Information society submit. P.7

Adegbola A.E.(2009). Information Communication Technology.

National Open University. Pp. 18-3

Iloveindia. (2010) Importance of ICT

htt:// 11664.html

Information for development programme. (2012). e-Banking

Ndukwe, E. (2002). Application of information technology. The

Pointer, 28 October, P.16.

Otabor, L.N. (2006). The significance of information technology in the

Making of a healthy information society: A survey of Delta state. (An

Unpublished project work).

Tim Kelly (2006). ICT in health: the role of ICT in the health sector in

developing countries

Thioune, R.M.C. (2003). Information and communication technologies

for Development in Africa: Opportunities and challenges for

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community development. Volume 1. Ottawa: IDRC. Available:

Tiemo, P.A. (2006). Impact of global system of mobile (GSM)

communication services on rural communities in Delta State. In Iyoha,

C. C. (Ed.). Mobile telephony: Leveraging strengths and opportunities

for socio-economic transformation in Nigeria. Lagos: Ezcell

Communications Ltd. Pp.90-99.

Tollerman, P. et al (2001) A Revolution in R&D: Part II The Impact of

Genetics, BostonConsulting Group. Available

Tollerman, P. et al (2001) A Revolution in R&D: The Impact of

Genomics, Boston Consulting Group. Available

UNDP (2001). World report on human development 2001. United

Nations Development Programme. DeBoeck University for UNDP,

Brussels, Belgium

Wiki educator (2009) Need and importance of Information Technology

in Education.

Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia (2005)



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World Health Organization (2009) Integrated Management of

Childhood Illness (IMCI). Geneva. Posted at:


In this age of technology it is very difficult to compete in any form of business undertaking if one is not up to date with technological advancement.

Agriculture in Africa if revitalized properly can drive the wheels of rural economy and to some extent even the urban economy as the urban dwellers depend on rural farmers for food.

Rural farmers whom the majority is small-scale farmers contribute about 80% to the region’s food basket. However these farmers are faced with constrained market access, which includes physical access to markets and lack of information.

Small-scale farmers usually have little ability to effectively or favorably compete in agriculture input and output due mainly to insufficient information about the markets, lack of business skills & high transaction costs.

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It is difficult for the farmers to market and achieve commodity exchanges if communication is encumbered. Limited access to market due to lack of information on available market is retarding development in rural areas.

Other impending factors are barriers created by the international communities. For example the United States of America provide subsidies to its farmers; by doing so the production costs are low, allowing the farmers sell at a competitive price.

Therefore it becomes very difficult for small-scale farmers in developing countries to penetrate the international markets. In short the big markets determine the price without considering the high production costs incurred by the less advantaged subsistence farmers in developing countries.

 The Role of Information Communications Technologies (ICTs)

Africa has always lagged behind in terms of technological advancement. Communication technologies such as Internet and mobile communications are just slightly a decade old in the region.  It is expensive for those living in rural areas to connect to Internet for they are required to use a dial up system, which is equivalent to a trunk call.

On the other hand most African countries for a long time have not had an ICT policy in place to guide them. However to address this concern most African countries have an ICT policy undergoing development. Information technology devices such as computers and mobile phones are so expensive for an average African Youth. However most countries’ decision to cut tax on computers is going to enable many African Youth own computers.

While the advantaged few are enjoying the fruits of technological advancement and globalization process, the rural majority continues to be marginalized.

The Governments of most African countries  like many other governments of  developing countries  are working towards reducing poverty amongst its citizens by implementing partnership strategies like the Agriculture for Youth empowerment (AYE) programs.

The immediate objectives of these programs should be  to  improve livelihoods and  increased income (through sale of farm produce) among the rural population through high agricultural productivity, agribusiness, on farm employment. However improved access to markets is crucial, hence the need of ICTs.

In Uganda for example, farming has never been considered as a business but growing just enough to feed the family. On the other hand young people benefit very little from farming activities as most of them work on their parents or guardians farms where they are not remunerated for their labour.

To empower young people economically there is need to support young people in agriculture through capacity building, easy access to financial services (such as loans) to enable them procure farming inputs such as seed, draft power, fertilizer etc.

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But the aforementioned support is incomplete without modalities put in place to facilitate easy communication and market accessibility among young farmers, hence the need of ICTs. Rural youth also need entrepreneurship skills to enable them run their own enterprises in areas such as agro-processing.

For example instead of selling unprocessed groundnuts you could further add value to it by further processing the nuts into peanut butter and cooking oil. This again will be incomplete without proper communication tools to facilitate marketing of the finished products. ICTs would therefore play a very critical and complimentary role in improving the livelihoods of rural youth engaged in agriculture and agribusiness. CTs are a critical tool in rural development.

The strategic use of ICTs for poverty reduction will depend on the appropriate economic undertaking, for social and human development to occur, hence the great emphasis on agriculture in this paper.

The rural poor depend primarily on agriculture and related activities for their livelihood. Agriculture does not only provide the source of nutrition but the bulk of their income.

Improved systems for the management and communication of agricultural information can help poor farmers make informed choices about the opportunities and constraints associated with agricultural development strategies.While the assertion that information is an important focus for the future rural development strategies is not particularly contentious, defining the role that information should play is somewhat more challenging.

Therefore the presence of ICTs in rural areas will therefore assist rural youth access, store and share information with other people using multiple devices and multiple media for purpose of ; accessing information on potential buyers for their farm produce: ICTs could link farmer groups or agricultural cooperatives to larger markets and it would assist the rural youth in agriculture to standardise their prices.

Therefore the potential of using ICTs to promote rural development through agriculture lies largely in increasing market efficiency through addressing information gaps and blockages.

Access to markets and market information will help to improve choices for the sale goods both on local and international markets according to enhanced information on prices, comparative supply and demand for products. In the longer-term new markets, techniques and processes for production, processing and marketing of products, both farm and non-farm can be explored.

Accessing information on economic trends in terms of prices and demand for a particular farm produce. Now that markets are liberalized in Uganda this will save the farmers from being exploited by unscrupulous dealers.  Accessing information on weather projections- this will assist the farmers plan well for the season, taking in consideration external factors such as weather conditions.

The appropriate knowledge on weather conditions for a particular season will enable them know exactly the suitable seed to plant. Accessing information on farm implements (of which they can also order online). Accessing information on how to grow certain crops and post germination management. This will compliment the current agricultural extension systems.

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