An Informationalised Economy in Africa? The Impact of New ICT on the Wood Products Industry in Durban, South Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) experienced a process of marginalization in the global economy in the 1980s and 1990s. Some now assert this is being reversed by an information technology revolution on the sub-continent. SSA now has the fastest growing mobile phone penetration rates in the world and most people there now live under the "footprint" of mobile phones. However, while many claims are made for the poverty reduction potential of new ICTs, very little research has been done on how access affects firm strategies, and innovation and consequently may contribute to broader economic transformation; vital to sustainable poverty reduction. This paper contextualises the adoption of new ICTs and then examines evidence of the uses and impacts of new ICTs in the wood products industry in Durban, South Africa and its surrounding region. It finds that while ICT usage is being routinised in the sector, their impacts are incremental than transformative. Consequently while these technologies are being absorbed into the socio-technical regime, their overall economic impact is limited.
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