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Information Systems and Technology in South Africa

Information Systems and Technology in South Africa
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Author(s): Anesh Maniraj Singh (University of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa)
Copyright: 2005
Pages: 6
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, First Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-553-5.ch263

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Abstract

South Africa, like most of its African neighbors, has a dual economy that sees formal and informal trading taking place side by side. Walking down many of the main streets of South African cities, one can immediately see the informal traders conducting their trade on the doorsteps of established retailers. Many of the formal traders complain about the informal activity and its impact on their businesses. However, there seems to be a symbiotic relationship that ensures their peaceful coexistence. For many foreigners, there is the perception that South Africa is a jungle with lions and tigers running around the streets and wind-up telephones as a means of communication. This is, however, far from the reality. Technology in the formal economy is almost as good as and sometimes better than it is in the United States and other first-world countries. Cellular telephone technology is one generation ahead of the United States. However, like the economy, a technology divide exists, where some parts of the population have access to technology, while others do not. This article will examine the trends in technology, outlining the use of technology in South African industry. The digital divide will also be discussed, looking at the problems and how the State in partnership with the private sector can bridge the gap.

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