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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Industrial transformation or business as usual? Information and communication technologies and Africa's place in the global information economy
Authors:Murphy, James T.ISNI
Carmody, PádraigISNI
Surborg, BjörnISNI
Periodical:Review of African Political Economy (ISSN 0305-6244)
Geographic terms:South Africa
Subjects:information technology
small enterprises
wood industry
industrial development
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/03056244.2013.873024
Abstract:Many view information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as mobile phones, computers and the Internet as tools that can significantly strengthen the quality and depth of Africa's engagement with the world economy. This article interrogates the impacts of Africa's burgeoning ICT 'revolution' through an examination of their use among small, medium and micro-scale enterprises (SMMEs) in South Africa's and Tanzania's wood products and tourism sectors. The findings reveal that while new ICTs are being adopted rapidly, they are generally used for communication purposes, not deeper forms of information processing and management. This 'thintegration', while positive in many ways, has done little to stop a trend towards the devaluation of the goods and services provided by the SMMEs surveyed here. Moreover, ICTs are enabling new forms of outside intervention and intermediation into African markets, often further marginalizing local firms and industries. The article details these outcomes and demonstrates why 'thicker' and more transformative kinds of ICT integration will remain elusive in the absence of changes to non-ICT-specific structures and power relations that limit Africa's ability to participate in the global information economy. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]