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Cloud computing adoption by SMEs in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Abubakar, Dahiru Abubakar


Dahiru Abubakar Abubakar


Julian M. Bass

Ian K. Allison


This research contributes to the growing body of research on cloud computing and addresses the paucity of research on cloud computing adoption, as well as information systems (IS) and information communication technologies (ICTs) adoption in sub-Saharan Africa. The research addresses the current state of cloud computing adoption in addition to the issues that can encourage or preclude its use by SMEs in sub-Saharan Africa. Further, the research establishes the extent to which cloud computing adoption stimulates small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in sub-Saharan Africa to contribute to development. A qualitative research methodology with an interpretive viewpoint is adopted for this research comprising of two major phases that involved a total of eighteen small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria. A pilot exploratory study using grounded theory was conducted in the initial phase and the development and refinement of a conceptual framework for analysis and evaluation was carried out in the second phase. The framework is theoretically grounded in the integration of two distinct theoretical traditions, i.e. institutions theory and the capability approach. This is the first research study that employs such a combination to examine cloud computing adoption. This research examines the expectations of cloud users against their fears together with other related influences to draw conclusions regarding the future of cloud computing usage in sub-Saharan Africa. The research found that SMEs considered issues like security, privacy and trust as playing a role in enabling adoption of cloud computing. This is in contrast with SMEs in the global north where these specific issues are discouraging adoption. The research recommends to policy makers and stakeholders interested in developing the cloud infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa, that there is the need to be cautious in drafting policies (which are non-existent at present). This is in order not to draft policies and regulations with regard to cloud computing usage that will inhibit adoption. Finally, this research presents an incremental model that is used to analyse how cloud service provision was introduced in sub-Saharan Africa. The novel three-stage maturity model identified the incremental approach to the delivery of cloud services in sub-Saharan Africa which started from (i) no local provision, (ii) cloud brokers promoting foreign cloud service provision and (iii) locally-available cloud service provision over a period of three to four years. This research envisages that, with further development of the cloud infrastructure especially in terms of internet connectivity, and improved awareness, more SMEs will adopt cloud computing as part of their IS/ICT strategy.


ABUBAKAR, D.A. 2016. Cloud computing adoption by SMEs in Sub-Saharan Africa. Robert Gordon University, PhD thesis.

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Aug 17, 2016
Publicly Available Date Aug 17, 2016
Keywords Cloud computing; Sub Saharan Africa; Information technologies adoption; Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs)
Public URL
Award Date Jan 31, 2016


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