Use of Information and Communication Technologies byWomen Hawkers and Vendors in South Africa

  • V Jiyane
  • J Mostert
Keywords: Information and communications technology, informal sector, women, hawkers and vendors, South Africa.

Abstract

South Africa’s informal sector is growing, but the majority of the entrepreneurs in this sector earn low incomes. It is widely acknowledged that the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) by informal sector workers can help them improve their productivity and incomes. The aim of the study, therefore, was to determine the role of ICT in business communications among rural women entrepreneurs in South Africa. Forty-two women were sampled from two local municipalities, using purposive sampling, and information was gathered through observation  and interviews. The study found that the majority of women possessed mobile phones, and other ICT used included landlines, radio and television. Computer technology, however, was absent, although the sampled women displayed a keen interest in its use. All of the surveyed women used radio and TV to listen to and watch business-related programmes, and almost all of them used cell and land phones to make and receive calls to and from business partners, retail stores, product suppliers and distributors. However, none used ICT to search for businessrelated information. It is recommended that Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) classes to improve literacy rates be introduced, while skills training in a variety of ICT, including computers and access to tools for digital communication, be made more accessible to these women near their work environments.                                                                      

Keywords: Information and communications technology, informal sector, women, hawkers and vendors, South Africa.

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eISSN: 0795-4778