Journal of the Knowledge Economy

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 145-171

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

South Africa’s e-Development Still a Futuristic Task

  • Lucienne AbrahamsAffiliated withLINK Centre, Graduate School of Public and Development Management, University of the Witwatersrand Email author 


The slow pace of e-development in South Africa can be traced to a series of poor telecoms policy choices and a vacuum with respect to broader policy for framing transitions to an information society. This article traces the evolution of e-development in South Africa, analysing policy leadership, information infrastructure ecology, information and communication technology (ICT) industry formation, human resources capacity and ICT applications in business, society and government. It argues that it is possible that e-development will push through the barriers of bad policy, tepid regulation and national governance in those parts of the country where the infrastructure and services has become a necessity to the operation of firms and the lifestyles of households, making for perhaps six ‘connected cities’. It proposes that future-oriented policy for information society evolution will need to adopt a paradigm that incorporates and integrates the elements of rapid diffusion and increasing sophistication of information infrastructure, alongside multiple factors in e-development from ICT R&D to promoting a powerful online-content industry, in order to have greater influence in creating economic value and socioeconomic impact.


e-Development Information society evolution Telecommunications ICT Policy design Leadership