International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss

The Impact of Mobile Technology on Economic Growth amongst ‘Survivalists’ in the Informal Sector in the Johannesburg CBD, South Africa
Nathalie Hyde-Clarke

At a time where the international system is largely affected by a global economic crisis, cellular/mobile technology offers those previously disempowered by lack of access to previously computer-based communication technologies, capitalist neoliberal market forces, and limited education opportunities, a potentially enhanced means of entering and operating in the marketplace. Several studies have shown mobile technology to have the most rapid deployment in international society of all available communication technologies and this is certainly supported by statistics that show that in 2011, more than two thirds of South African households had access to a mobile phone (Statistics South Africa, 2012) making it the most used Information Communication Technology (ICT) in the country. Through its use in a business setting, individuals are able to benefit financially, including those who operate on a self-sustainability basis. Mobile technology therefore offers an exciting field of investigation for communication researchers and economists. This research project explores mobile phone practices amongst ‘survivalists’ in the informal business sector in Johannesburg, South Africa. It relies on indepth interviews with select individuals (such as street vendors, casual labourers and self-employed sole traders) in order to identify and examine emerging trends. From this research, it is evident that mobile phones have become a vital component of everyday economic welfare amongst those operating small market enterprises in the city centre of Johannesburg.

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