The Economic and Social Impact of Electronic Commerce Preliminary

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Economic impact of the Internet: study of cybercafes in Gaborone, Â Botswana Tomas Mauta Sairosse and Stephen M. Mutula
The authors Tomas Mauta Sairosse is Director of Libraries, Universidade Catolica de Mocambique, Beira, Mozambique. Stephen M. Mutula is a Senior Lecturer, Department of Library and Information Studies, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana. Keywords Internet, Economic conditions, Botswana Abstract This paper discusses the findings of a study that was carried out to determine the economic impact of cybercafes in  Gaborone, Botswana. The research design was a survey. The results from the study showed that the cybercafe sector in  Gaborone, Botswana, has grown by 1,300 per cent since 2001. The sector is contributing to the gross domestic product of Botswana largely through employment, government taxation and earning the country foreign exchange through e-commerce and e-business transactions. However all was not going well for cybercafes as they were  faced with problems of competition, high tariffs, low bandwidth, and high equipment costs, among others. The study recommended the need for the coordination of cybercafe sector in order to make its growth less haphazard;  reduction of taxes on computers; enactment of cyber law, modernization and improvement of bandwidth. Electronic access The Emerald Research Register for this journal is available at http://www.emeraldinsight.com/researchregister The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at http://www.emeraldinsight.com/0737-8831.htm Library Hi Tech Volume 21 . Number 4 . 2003 . pp. 451-462 # MCB UP Limited . ISSN 0737-8831 DOI 10.1108/07378830310509754

Introduction
The Internet is one of the information systems much used in the world today. Modern organizations are increasingly using the Internet virtually in all aspects of society. The Internet consists of millions of interconnected computers scattered around the globe, all linked by fiber, phone lines or other cabling, using a common set of communications protocols that allow the computers to talk to each other (Bounds and Karl, 1996, p. 21). The Internet uses TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol), which provides a common language for interoperation between networks that use a variety of local protocols, such as Ethernet, NetWare, AppleTalk, Decnet and others. The Internet allows millions of people throughout the world to communicate with each other by transferring computer files, searching databases, exchanging electronic mail, and even chatting with other Internet users. However, due to the relatively small number of people who can afford a phone line, let alone a computer, Internet public access services are more widespread in the urban compared to rural areas in Africa (African Internet Connectivity, 2002). The imbalance in Internet access between rural and urban areas in Botswana, like the rest of Africa is skewed in favor of urban areas. Telecommunication infrastructure in Botswana A sound telecommunication infrastructure is critical for the development of Internet services. Botswana is regarded as having one of the most well developed telephone infrastructures on the Africa continent. And the government is committed to improving the sector further. The government of Botswana embarked on the liberalization of the telecommunication sector in 1996 when a Bill was enacted by Parliament which subsequently established an independent regulatory body, the Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA) (BTC, 2002). The liberalization of the telecommunication sector has spurred the growth of the Internet over the last four years, though the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation, remains the sole external gateway

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Economic impact of the Internet: study of cybercafes in Botswana Â

Tomas Mauta Sairosse and Stephen M. Mutula

Library Hi Tech Volume 21 . Number 4 . 2003 . 451-462
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bandwidth provider (Balancing Act, 2002a). Following...
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