Media and Communication Ph.D. Dissertations


Internet Technology Use and Economic Development: A Case Study of the Rural Population of Ihiala Village in Southeastern Nigeria

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Communication Studies

First Advisor

Louisa Ha (Committee Chair)

Second Advisor

Frank Goza (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Oliver Boyd-Barrett (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Canchu Lin (Committee Member)


There are mixed opinions about the role of Information communication Technology (ICT) in general and the Internet in particular in promoting development. While Internet has been viewed as contributing to the ever-changing information dissemination across urban and rural spaces, others argue that the Internet does not always bring drastic social and economic advances as scholars and pundits have made us to believe. However, in rural areas such as China where websites have been set up to market goods, attract investments and enlarge business scale (Zhao, 2008), it is the view that Internet has impacted lives and rural development.

In Nigeria, despite its headquarters and leadership role in the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the African region’s headquarters of United Nation Millennium Goals (MDGs), an initiative that is geared to reduce poverty, improve health care and education, and ensure productivity in poor countries around the world, it remains to be seen how the Internet could be utilized for development and add into the equation in economic improvement of lives in the rural villages. The MDGs goals set 2015 as deadline.

The basic purpose of this study is to explore demographic characteristics of the Internet users – individuals in a rural population such as Ihiala in South eastern Nigeria that could be the end-users of innovation technology. The study also examined the innovation attributes of the Internet that are likely to make the technology adoptable and facilitate economic development. And finally, it examined the different purposes for which they use the Internet that included financial and business activities.

The study findings were analyzed using Rogers (1995, Davis (1994), Technology Adoption Model (TAM). A total of 270 respondents (out of 300 people sampled) completed the questionnaire, achieving a 90% response rate. The study found that there is no significant difference between the genders in their internet use. Internet users are likely to be well educated, but both the rich and poor use the Internet. An analysis of the activities and the users’ impetus shows that Internet is used primarily for activities related to economic development, especially conducting business and financial transactions, although many began with just communicating by e-mails with friends and family.