Research ICT Africa conducts surveys to collect ICT indicators that would otherwise not be available for policy makers and regulators. In order to be used for official purposes the indicator data needs to be representative and compliant with national statistical frameworks.
This study included Household, Individual and Informal Business Surveys across 12 African countries, which examined fixed, mobile and Internet access and use. This is used to undertake demand side analyses of what is happening in each country, which is triangulated with supply-side analyses and a regulatory perception survey. The representativeness requires that the selection probability of all the target subjects needs to be known. For a household survey it means that every single household in a country has a chance of being selected and that this chance (probability) is known. The standard process for sampling households and individuals is to use the census sample frame and randomly select Enumerator Areas (EAs) for each of the desired stratifications separately, such as rural and urban areas.
The following table reports on the specifications of the RIA 2015 Household, Individual and informal sector survey.
|ICT Indicators for Africa (I4A)
|To pool public, private and donor resources to undertake resource-intensive national representative household surveys to produce the information communication technology (ICT) indicators and analysis required for evidence based policy and regulation on the African continent and to hereby avoid duplication, proprietary research that could serve the public interest and form part of a wider information and policy commons for the continent.
|Research ICT Africa (RIA)
(ZA non-profit 2009/017831/08)
|With the support of Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC) nationally representative surveys have been run three times in countries across the continent over the last decade. RIA data is the only demand-side data systematically collected in Sub-Saharan Africa that is capable of providing actual affordability data and allowing estimation of unmet demand (non-users’ willingness to pay). As such, it is referenced in evidence-based public policy debates and by multilateral organisations such as the International Telecommunications Union, UNCTAD and the World Bank. Examples include:
ITU: Chapter 5 – Increasing Internet use: the role of education, income, gender, age, and location, in Measuring the Information Society 2011, International Telecommunications Union. http://www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/backgrounders/general/pdf/5.pdf. UNCTAD: ICTs, Enterprises and Poverty Alleciation in Information Economy Report 2010 http://unctad.org/en/docs/ier2010_embargo2010_en.pdf.
|Advocates of increasing research for development policy make a mistake when they take for granted the availability of hard data as the foundation of policy advice. Most African countries suffer a severe shortage of basic ICT statistical data and analysis fundamental to correctly identifying the points for policy and regulatory interventions.
National statistics offices and regulators generally do not collect demand-side data needed to measure ICT access and use to determine current policy and regulatory outcomes and identify points of policy intervention to meet public interest objectives. They are therefore unable to report to international and multilateral agencies (ITU, WB, etc.) for them to accurately reflect on the position of Africa in global indices. While the ITU collects supply-side (subscribers/pricing) statistics, which are also drawn on by WB, OECD, WEF for comparative evidence-based telecom policy discussions, no organisation collects corresponding demand-side (usage/spending) statistics across Sub-Saharan Africa. For this reason, one can talk about service prices but not actual affordability of services, except in broad terms (estimating affordability by fraction of income – where the fraction considered affordable is extrapolated from OECD survey numbers). Similarly, service uptake statistics (Internet use, mobile subscriptions and non-usage rates, etc.) are very dated, unreliable and unsystematic and profoundly inaccurate. Disaggregation of supply-side data by income level, gender, age and urban rural divide is not possible with supply-side data.
|To collect a range of household and individual ICT indicators (including access to and use of fixed, mobile and internet services, ICT spend, non-users’ willingness to pay) that meet the threshold compliance of the WSIS-initiated Partnership for Measuring ICT for Development by running nationally representative household and individual surveys (with NSO or NRA where possible) in order to build a national and regional evidence base to inform policy and regulation.
|Gather, analyse, and publicise demand-side (non users and users) data in Africa in 2015-2016 through nationally representative sampling (census sample frame) enabling disaggregation of data to understand ICT access and use by urban poor, rural inhabitants, youth, women, bottom of the pyramid and other potentially marginalised groups.
|Nationally representative surveys, based on national statistical office (NSO) census sample frames of households and individuals aged 15yrs+; focus groups and/or ethnographic research to support the quantitative data analysis.
Deployment of appropriate modelling techniques (fixed effect and instrumental variable models) to measure impacts of policy and regulatory interventions.
|Expected Project Outcomes
|Delivery of demand-side indicators and analysis essential to informed evidence-based policy that is more accurate and timely, and which will create the data (time-series and cross-sectional) to enable in-depth analysis of policy outcomes and points of intervention. The data will allow regulators and policy makers to measure the impact of policies and regulation. International organisations (ITU, UNCTAD) would receive the only demand-side data in the public domain to verify supply-side data and enable the inclusion of Africa into comparative demand-side studies and analyses. The data would be made publicly available for further use by governments, research institutions, NGOs, industry and trade unions to enable more informed participation in public policy processes and to complement, and be informed by, other pricing, quality of services and institutional analysis research projects that collectively can provide a better evidence base.
|Dr. Dr. Alison Gillwald. Executive Director of RIA since 2002. Adjunct professor at Graduate School of Business University of Cape Town. Former ZA regulator (set up Policy Department at Independent Broadcasting Authority, founding Council member of Telecom Regulatory Authority – the predecessors to the merged national regulator (ICASA). Author of current National Planning Commission ICT plans for South Africa and current i-Mauritius national ICT strategy (2011- 2013), South African Broadband Policy and Plan, SA Connect, and SA deputy chairperson of Broadband Council.
Dr. Christoph Stork, Senior Research Fellow, and survey project leader. 14 years of research experience in Africa leading continent-wide household and small business surveys, providing the only multi-country demand-side data and analysis of ICT access and use on the continent, for use by regulators, policy makers and multilateral agencies such as the OECD and the ITU. This research has informed policies, laws and regulations in the ICT field in many of the countries in which studies were conducted
Field work: Historically, RIA has contracted network partners (other research organisations in the17 countries comprising the RIA network) to conduct fieldwork for the surveys in addition to the analysis and report writing. Nielsen has proven to be a reliable and cost-effective partner in eight of the countries surveyed in 2012. The Nielsen teams were trained by RIA to conduct census-style surveys as opposed to market research surveys. The existing co-operation with Nielsen may be extended for this project, or local academic or research entities may be engaged instead.
|In 2012 RRIA collected survey data in 12 countries (Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda). In 2008 the surveys also included Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Zambia. The number of countries that can be covered in 2015 will depend on the success of pooled funding approach.
The RIA network headquarters are located in Cape Town, South Africa.
|Current commitments for country studies
|Nigeria (confirmed by the Minister of Information Communication Technology).
South Africa (awaiting confirmation from the Director-General of the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services.)
Kenya (awaiting confirmation from the Kenya ICT Authority and Communications Authority of Kenya).
Mozambique (awaiting confirmation from the University of Eduardo Mondlane).
Namibia (awaiting confirmation from the Namibian regulator, CRAN).
|Risks & Mitigation
|Since 2002 RIA has built up a cross-continent network that can conduct demand-side surveys with academic/census-grade methodology. Sensitive information such as household income, household membership/gender, willingness to pay, etc. have been captured along with ICT access and use data in a nationally representative way by an independent, public interested third party. Government and industry have very low levels of trust and credibility in many countries so it is important that metrics for the consumer impact of access initiatives across Sub-Saharan Africa be captured by a reputable, impartial, and credible entity.
|Survey costs range from USD80,000 for Namibia or Botswana, USD104,000 for Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique and Rwanda, and USD130,000 for Nigeria, South Africa and Ethiopia. The cost differences are based on sample size. RIA is seeking contributions of USD100 000 (average cost of a generic country) so additional countries could be added to the pool of surveys being funded in 2015. Obviously the benefits extend beyond the single country contribution as the pool of countries increases, enhancing the comparative analytical value of the study.
|Utility of research and policy influence
|See 10 year evaluation of RIA and its impact on policy influence on the continent at www.researchICTafrica.net/ibook.