Bridging the Digital Divide in Africa: A Case-Based Reasoning Framework

Abstract. The rapid growth and use of the Internet and supporting technologies like Mobile and Wireless Broadband in recent years have created opportunities as well as threats in the global economic landscape, particularly for least developed countries (LDCs). Despite the success and consolidation of some initiatives in East Asia, Europe and the U.S. as best practices, the replication of these best practices in some Sub-Sahara African countries have failed to yield the expected results. This study therefore draws on Case-Based Reasoning, a concept with roots in Cognitive Psychology and which has been successfully applied in the legal domain and the Artificial Intelligence research community, to propose a Case-Based Reasoning (CBR) Framework for bridging the digital divide in Sub-Sahara Africa. To evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of the framework, a field study will be carried out in selected Sub-Saharan African countries. The study contributes to the literature on digital divide in two ways: first, by synthesizing best practice solutions aimed at narrowing the divide and secondly, by calling for alignment of these solutions with local contextual situations. In the light of the CBR Framework, and lessons learnt from some best practice solutions vis-à-vis local initiatives, the study suggests policy directions to governments of Sub-Saharan African countries.

 Keywords: Case-Based Reasoning, Context Sensitive Initiative, Digital Bridge Initiatives, Digital Divide, Digital Inclusion, Social Inclusion