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Role of internet cafes

October 8, 2010

Michael Best has written a very interesting article about internet cafes in the South.

– A public access internet facility,…  is a place open to the general public to use computers and the internet that is not home, the workplace, or school.

This could be for example a library, an NGO supported free drop-in center, or a commercial cybercafé. …

(A) survey of 280 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) conducted across 14 African nations, found that more than half of the respondents reported that the internet was either important or very important to their business but only 18.7 per cent of responding enterprises had direct access to the net.

This dramatic access gap among SMEs is closed in most cases through the use of cybercafés and other shared access facilities. Seventy-two percent of respondents that did not have direct access to the Internet where able to use cybercafés for some access. …

Haseloff (2005) examined Indian cybercafés which “can function as a center for support, education and learning about new tools and therefore could help people overcome skill deficits which would normally exclude them from access to new technologies.”

Researchers studying cybercafés in both Asia and Africa noted that many people gained IT knowledge there. In a cybercafé in Yogyakarta, Indonesia 66% percent of the guests stated that they learned IT skills from friends, while 23% learned from the café’s staff.

In a Tanzania study respondents tended to ask for help from the staff, altogether 44% learned IT skills from the staff while 29% asked for help from their friend (Furuholt & Kristiansen 2007).



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