1st Edition

ICT and Rural Development in the Global South

By Willem van Eekelen Copyright 2024
    226 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    226 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book dives into the achievements, opportunities, risks and dangers of ICT in the rural Global South, and takes a look at the likely future.

    Drawing on years of experience across 45 counties, as well as extensive original academic research, Willem van Eekelen situates the evolving role of ICT in wider development patterns in the Global South. He discusses the effects of ICT on agriculture, trade, financial flows, resource management and governmental performance. He then considers the associated risks of financial insecurity, online gambling, exclusion, misinformation and the effects of ICT on people’s freedom. The book concludes with six recommendations to maximise the usefulness of rural ICT investments and minimise the risk of them causing harm.

    This engaging and authoritative account of ICT and rural development will help students, academics, governmental policymakers, donors and investors wishing to support socio-economic development in the Global South.





    Chapter 1: Agricultural production processes

    Chapter 2: Trade

    Chapter 3: Diversified livelihoods

    Chapter 4: Microfinance

    Chapter 5: Remittances and social assistance

    Chapter 6: E-government

    Chapter 7: Climate change and natural resource management

    Chapter 8: The spread of ICT products and services




    Chapter 9: Farming and rural employment

    Chapter 10: Financial safety and security

    Chapter 11: Gambling

    Chapter 12: The digital divide and its effects

    Chapter 13: Misinformation

    Chapter 14: Inclusivity and civic space








    Dr Willem van Eekelen is an economist who worked for a range of companies, donors, UN agencies and non-governmental organisations – always in the broad field of international development. Until 2010, Willem mostly held policy and programme positions. Since then, he has worked as an independent evaluator in the humanitarian and development sectors. In parallel, Willem supports organisations with their strategy development, holds occasional trusteeships and teaches at the University of Birmingham. Willem co-owns Green Visions, a rural adventure tourism company. His previous publications include academic works (including Routledge’s Rural Development in Practice) as well as a few tourist guides and Bloomsbury’s 100 ideas for Dads who love their kids but find them exhausting.

    [This] is a wonderfully crafted book that demonstrates a versatile understanding of the nature of human relationships in the real word of rural communities. As an extension of the author’s earlier work, Rural Development in Practice (also worth reading), this new volume focuses on the importance of the application of information and communications technology on the multifarious aspects of rural development. It is predominantly structured and informed by the author’s extensive experiences of working in “the Global South” [...] This is a much more penetrating and deeply nuanced treatment that attempts to balance opportunities and successes with the risks and dangers inherent in the substantial investments (both financial and cultural) required for mainstreaming technological innovation. It is, in fact, a breath of fresh air to read.

    Frank RennieProfessor of Sustainable Rural Development and Head of Research and Postgraduate Development, University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland, UK, in a book review published in Development in Practice, February 2024. 

    The book provides a fresh and exciting view of how technology is used in rural areas in the Deep South. I enjoyed reading the examples and feedback as well as the opportunities, future, and challenges experienced in their own contexts. I think a tremendous amount of knowledge is shared that can assist similar future projects in knowing how to approach ICT in rural contexts and what the pitfalls and dangers to be aware of. 

    M. E. HerselmanCouncil for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), CSIR, Pretoria Campus, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa, in a book review published in EJISDC, in November 2023.

    Willem van Eekelen, in ICT and Rural Development in the Global South, provides an open and honest review of ICT4D in the Global South. Van Eekelen's experience is clear to anyone who has worked in this field, and his knowledge of the benefits and risks is reflected on each page. Not only does he debunk many myths of ICT for development, but he also provides insight into where ICT can be beneficial, what risks ICT4D faces, and how to mitigate them. [...] ICT and Rural Development in the Global South is a must-read for anyone involved in ICT4D wanting to make a noticeable difference to livelihoods in the Global South.

    Malcolm GarbuttUniversity of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa, in a book review published in EJISDC, in November 2023.

    This remarkably up-to-date monograph covers a complex subject in an engaging and accessible manner, making it a good text for students, academics, policymakers and donors alike. Indeed, it is rare to find a book like this that is so well written that even the footnotes are exciting. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the current state of rural development in the Global South.

    Stephanie MattiUniversity of Iceland, Sæmundargata 2, Reykjavik, Iceland, in a book review published in Progress in Development Studies, in April 2024.