Journal of
Geography and Regional Planning

  • Abbreviation: J. Geogr. Reg. Plann.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2070-1845
  • DOI: 10.5897/JGRP
  • Start Year: 2008
  • Published Articles: 391

Full Length Research Paper

Is trading in used computers creating a digital dump? Reflections from tertiary institutions in Ghana

  Martin Oteng-Ababio  
Department of Geography and Resource Development, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana. 
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 08 February 2012
  •  Published: 18 April 2012



The proliferation of computers has made them more accessible, yet there are many more who cannot afford them, and this seems to have created a digital divide which touches economies and threatens to slow progress towards an all-inclusive information society. The divide in the developed world appears much less severe due partly to higher income levels. However, in developing countries the situation is more complex and calls for a range of policies in order to expand access. Of these tools, regulatory reforms have been very prominent. In Ghana, the government zero-rated the importation of used computers as a way of making them easily accessible and affordable. Using a stratified sampling technique and exploratory factor analysis, the study examines the effect of the policy base on data collected from four tertiary institutions. The result shows uneven access to computers along familiar lines of social inequality such as economic status and gender. This paper establishes the need to re-examine the independent use of regulatory policies, as a cost-effective way to ensure optimum computer usage especially among the “poor”. The Author considers such reforms as necessary but not sufficient condition to overcome the digital divide and argues for a targeted intervention such as the Ministry of Education’s Basic School Computerization Project.


Key words: Digital divide, used computers, tertiary institutions, Ghana.