ICT and environmental quality in Sub-Saharan Africa: Effects and transmission channels
This paper contributes to the literature on the relationship between information and communication technologies (ICT) and environmental quality. Despite a growing attention on the topic, existing studies have not yet investigated the channels through which ICT affects the environment. We use an extended Stochastic Impact by Regression on Population, Affluence and Technology model to estimate both the effect and the transmission channels of ICT on CO2 emissions in 21Sub-Saharan African countries from 1996 to 2014. The empirical results show that ICT use - measured by mobile phone and internet penetrations - significantly stimulates CO2 emissions. Moreover, the mediation analysis reveals that ICT does not only have a direct positive effect on CO2 emissions, but also an indirect positive effect through its effect on energy consumption and financial development and an indirect negative effect through trade openness. However, the total effect is positive and indicates that ICT worsens environmental quality in SSA. Finally, we find an environmental Kuznets curve between economic growth and CO2 emissions. To mitigate the adverse effects of ICT on environmental quality, governments should design policies to improve energy efficiency, promote the use of renewable energy and provide financial incentives for green technology development.
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