Inclusive Capitalism and Development: Case Studies of Telecenters Fostering Inclusion Through ICTs in Bangladesh
Lack of sustainable approaches for public access venues like telecentres have led to the emergence of several entrepreneurial and market-driven models of telecentres in developing countries that are driven by multinational corporations, governments and social enterprises. This phenomenon falls under the rubric of inclusive capitalism which argues that in the contemporary socioeconomic context, private investment and entrepreneurial activities are crucial for economic growth and job creation in developing countries. In this paper, I undertake three case studies of telecentres in Bangladesh: a private sector enterprise developed and operated by a multinational corporation, a social enterprise, and a public-private partnership. The case studies combine review of organizational documents as well as analysis of survey data from the ‘Global Impact Study of Public Access to Information & Communication Technologies’. While a common feature in all three of the cases is the reliance on market mechanisms to provide affordable ICT services to the poor, the findings highlight how in some cases the initiatives approach the issue of ‘inclusion’ differently. The paper illustrates the convergence in thinking among various institutional domains of development about the indispensability of inclusive capitalism approaches to bring about socioeconomic development through ICTs.