This paper considers recent field evidence to analyse what online public services citizens need, explores potential citizen subsidy of these specific services and investigates where resources should be invested in terms of media accessibility. We explore these from a citizen-centric affordability perspective within three ‘exemplar’ developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The World Bank and United Nations in particular promote initiatives under the ‘Information and Communication Technologies for Development’ (ICT4D) to stress the relevance of e-Government as a way to ensure development and reduce poverty. We adopt a ‘Contingency Value’ method to conceptually outline reported citizens willingness to pay for digital public services. Hence, our focus is mainly upon an empirical investigation through extensive fieldwork in the context of sub-Sahara Africa. A substantive survey was conducted in the respective cities of Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Lagos (Nigeria) and Johannesburg (South Africa). The sample of citizens was drawn from each respective Chamber of Commerce database for Ethiopia and South Africa, and for Nigeria a purchased database of businesses, based on stratified random sampling. These were randomly identified from both sectors ensuring all locations were covered with a total sample size of 1,297 respondents. It was found, in particular, that citizens were willing to pay to be able to access digital public services and that amounts of fees they were willing to pay varied depending on what services they wish to access and what devices they use (PCs or mobile phones).
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