Information and Communication Technology as well as its use, have become a crucial strategic instrument on resource management and decision making. Therefore, it has called various individual attentions, especially in research and management. The study current study attempts to examine efforts deployed on ICT by stakeholders towards rural resource management. The discussion is mainly involved on major outcome of ICT strategies to improve the rural life. For instance the government efforts through ICT policy implementation, strategies, level of infrastructure developed and their impact on rural resource management. The finding shows that despite the critical measures taken against ICT infrastructures and human resource development. But, the government including the rural stakeholders is still facing challenges on full utilization of ICT in resources management. Hence, in order to improve ICT infrastructures and enjoy the proper use of ICT services on resources management. It needs multidimensional approach towards ICT functions and user involvement to arrest the poor practices and failures on the technology. Therefore, the study recommended the use of education and training to achieve sustainability of ICT performance. This is to maintain the quality information supply chain in order to reduce management costs/risks related to failure on data/ information access.
Keywords : ICT infrastructures, rural resources, challenges, ICT identifiable indicators
This study focused on ICT as a tool to manage rural resources in order to achieve economic development. Generally, the evaluation involved facilities such as hardware, data and procedures. Others are software and the telecommunication systems available as well as the influence on rural resources management. The system have to support accessing data on how locate resources availability. Also it has to enhance the possible ways to distribute them for socio-economic development purposes. That means data collection, data processing, storage and retrieval of information. Rather, the study tries to determine how ITC resources managed to support the rural economy (Hill, 2008).
The available literatures for instance, ITU (2006) and Wahid, Furuholt, & Kristiansen (2004) identifies, some of the IT challenges facing the rural people. The challenges involve lack of connectivity, poor infrastructure development and high cost in IT management just to mention few. Further, Wahid et al (2004 ) clearly comments that, example in Sub-Saharan countries there is insignificant IT development. The IT users were increasing by less than 1 percent. The majority of users were students, youngsters and urban dwellers. The study accounts only 4 percents lives in the rural area.
So far the study conducted by UNESCO (2008) and compiled by Powers (2008) comments that, there is an increasing demand for IT infrastructures in rural area. But, the level of infrastructure development contrasts the demand level. The demand level is increasing geometrically while, IT development moving arithmetically.
The above reasons given above are among the threats that create failure to match the rural economy with global economy. There is a huge rural population locked out of the global market due to inadequacy exposure. For example, in Tanzania there more than 75 percent of the total population lives in rural areas. This population is employed by agriculture sector, which contribute 60 percent of GDP. Meanwhile, majority of farmers are still struggling for innovated farming inputs, market and weather updates. This problem led to poor improvement on agriculture inputs and production technology.
Hence, there is a need to introduce the rural people on the social networking at a lower cost. To make promotions and expose their rural investments into a global market to increase the market share (Rosen, 2007). The study by Strickland and Thompson (2003) clearly emphasize that, social networking deals with the social structure connecting people of the same specific behaviour to communicate. Likewise Dzidonu (2003) disclosed that, it is convenient for sharing of information about rural investments performance in the market. Providing a broader picture of the competition level and identifying the opportunities existing in the market.
Similarly Hills (2008) comments that, the use of ICT can help social networking connections and establish potential links to access market updates. Also other information related to rural investment trend or opportunities in global market. According to SIDA (2001) urged that it provides a guide line for decision making on price e.g. variables like demographic characteristics. It helps to capture critical information about the customers through integrated marketing. Rather, it indicates in which ways the costs can be reduced from value chain point of view. (Ifinedo, 2005)
On the view of recognition (e.g. Gajjala; 2007and Wahid, Fulholt & Kristansen; 2004) reported that, apart from other means of business communication. The rural economy can develop a good relationship through internet. UNC (2005) added that, it improves access to knowledge and result to intelligence. Relatively Hoffman (2000) consolidated that; communication can bring new design on agricultural outputs and enhanced customers’ relationship management from earned from feedback Gross and Aquisiti (2005)
However, none of the visited studies tried to quantify through evidence on how to eliminate the ITC challenges in rural areas. Though Gross (2005) and Gajjala, 2005) comments that, adequate ICT facilities utilization can reduce rural resources mismanagement threats in order to improved agriculture investment capability and economic diversity. But for ICT to become as one of core competence towards effective rural economic activities and resources management, both human resource and infrastructures investment is crucial. From which critical areas of resources management are examined such as resources/ labour mobility mechanism. Other critical areas include land management and weather updates as well as access to global opportunities. Rather, the skills and information acquired through data collected information systems are also used as tools to identify and meet customers’ requirements. Whereby the information accessed is used for decision purpose. Therefore, the social factors, demographic characteristics, psychographic and economic situation of people involved are examined through ICT (Wagner, 2005).
This current research attempts to assess the available literature (such as ECISM,2005; Fleming,2002; Hills,2008; Scwalbe,2000 and Tuburn et al ,2006) in order to determine the major findings related to the impact of ICT motivation towards rural resources management. The study assessed effort and attempts toward effective management of both ICT infrastructures and a family of rural resources. Either; infrastructures like people, physical device and software as well as information and procedures are components facilitating information process. The information process is undertaken through computers which execute specific tasks e.g. acquiring data, process and share information for various decisions. Hence, for resource managements purposes data acquired are used identify the need for resources, guiding critical location of resources and risk analysis. The main focus on this paper is to show how, the use of ICT facilities and the related strategies against resources. Also determine the significance impact of information and telecommunication cost efficiency to building economic capacity, motivation and confidence to capture global opportunities.
Hence, failure to identify the challenges and their consequence; which leading to poor tools on addressing the current situation existing in rural economy as the result of ICT failures. Consequently, this particular study tries to bridge the gap available in both literature and existing ICT policies. On the other hand, the study intended to raise rural economic profile. The study tries to examine how the ICT strategies can be used to build capacity on manpower and entrepreneurship ie promoting a culture of using ICT facilities for planning and knowledge searching purposes. Majority of literature surveyed (e.g. Albirin; 2006: 373-398, Naidu; 2006 and Albusaid & Alshihi, 2010) shows that, there is a huge gap on both knowledge and availability of services between the rural and urban based people.
There is a lesson to learn from how useful the ICT is in developed countries. ICT has bridged the gap defined by environment and geographic distance. The people are connected to social services and access to information. Economically, the use of ICT into business communication reduced the cost to minimum as compared to developing countries. Similarly, it has improved exposure through knowledge sharing and transparency.
Therefore, this particular study tends to examine how ICT can be used as an opportunity to bridge the gap available on both knowledge and services. From which the rural people are motivate to diversify agriculture, manage resources and improve their social as well as the economic status.