Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

The Impacts of Digital Infrastructure Transformation on Livestock System Sustainability in Rural Communities

Version 1 : Received: 26 June 2020 / Approved: 28 June 2020 / Online: 28 June 2020 (09:34:50 CEST)

How to cite: Gwaka, L.; May, J.; Tucker, W. The Impacts of Digital Infrastructure Transformation on Livestock System Sustainability in Rural Communities. Preprints 2020, 2020060332 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202006.0332.v1). Gwaka, L.; May, J.; Tucker, W. The Impacts of Digital Infrastructure Transformation on Livestock System Sustainability in Rural Communities. Preprints 2020, 2020060332 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202006.0332.v1).

Abstract

Investments in digital infrastructure in marginalised communities are set to increase in the next decade. These are premised on the potential of digital technologies to contribute towards solving societal problems, including the fragility of food value chains in rural areas. Although there are mixed empirical findings on the impact of these digital infrastructure investments, huge investments are continuing amid changing ICT policies in most developing countries. This paper, using a case study of a local livestock value chain in a rural community in Zimbabwe, argues for the application of non-conventional approaches towards digital infrastructure transformation impact assessment. Using selected theories and frameworks (socio-ecological systems framework, choice framework and technology affordances theory) as well as empirical data from a project in a rural community, the paper shows that real-time impact assessment using context-specific metrics may reveal hidden digital infrastructure transformation impacts, positive and negative, that are often overlooked when traditional impact assessment approaches are employed. The findings of this study contribute towards improving approaches towards ICT impact assessment. Practitioners engaging in impact assessment are challenged to move beyond dependence on traditional metrics (e.g. access) to the adoption of participatory processes to decipher context-appropriate metrics.

Subject Areas

social context; food value chains; impact assessment; Zimbabwe

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