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Small islands and the adoption of ICTs: comparative study of SMEs in Jamaica and Mauritius

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The aim of this study was to analyse the intensity of the adoption of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Mauritius and Jamaica. It particularly focused on the identification of enabling factors and impediments that are specific to small islands in the diffusion of ICTs. Discriminant analysis was used to analyse the data collected from small firms in both islands. The results show that, despite the liberalisation and privatisation of the communication sectors in these island economies, cost of communication remained one of the major impediments to the adoption of e-business technologies. This could be attributed to the lack of minimum economies of scale in communication sectors. Enterprise-specific factors such as education and knowledge base of owners and firm size emerged as significant discriminants for advanced users of ICTs. Country-specific factors such as openness of economy and human resource development infrastructure emerged as important factors in discriminating varying levels of ICT-using firms.

Keywords: information technology, communications technology, ICT, small and medium-sized enterprises, SMEs, small islands, discriminant analysis, globalisation, Mauritius, Jamaica, liberalisation, privatisation, e-business, electronic business, open economy, human resource development, HRD

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