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The multi-dimensional digital divide: Perspectives from an e-government portal in Nigeria

Okunola, OM, Rowley, J and Johnson, F (2017) The multi-dimensional digital divide: Perspectives from an e-government portal in Nigeria. Government Information Quarterly. ISSN 0740-624X


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© 2017 Elsevier Inc.There is a widespread recognition that a digital divide exists between countries and individuals, and that understanding and addressing that divide is pivotal to the empowerment of citizens. Furthermore, although governments have often seen e-government services as one means of eroding the digital divide, prior research into the digital divide in the e-government context is limited. Hence, this research seeks to contribute to understanding of the nature of the digital divide as it affects Nigerian citizens, specifically users of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) web portal. The NIS portal is a rich context in which to study the digital divide: it is the most well-developed e-government service in Nigeria; its use is compulsory for citizens seeking to travel outside of Nigeria; and, its users reside within both Nigeria (a developing country) and in more developed countries, such as the US and the UK. Using an online survey, and snowball sampling, 351 completed questionnaires were collected and analysed using t-tests and Anova. The digital divide was represented in terms of the three dimensions: previous Internet experience, access to computing facilities, and previous e-government experience. Analysis demonstrated a multi-dimensional digital divide with demographic, social-economic, and locational factors affecting e-government users' Internet experience, their access to computing facilities and their e-government experience. Overall, this research offers insights into the complexity of the digital divide.

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