n Commonwealth Youth and Development - ICTs, e-commerce and rural development : the case of arts and crafts SMEs in rural KwaZulu-Natal




The lack of engagement in e-business by small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), important contributors to economic activity, is of increasing concern to researchers and policy makers. This article explores the current situation of electronic commerce (e-commerce) in the South African arts and crafts sector. The empirical evidence draws on 77 enterprise-level interviews. The research findings reveal that e-commerce has not yet developed among the rural SME operators with socio-technical factors and current business practices heavily influencing the situation.

This article uses a conceptual framework that includes theoretical contributions from information and communication technology (ICT) adoption by SMEs, and e-business literature in an industry-specific context, the South African arts and crafts sector. Current levels of e-business adoption are considered through the use of survey research. The sector is investigated within the conceptual framework, resulting in recommendations that include training on ICT applications and benefits of e-commerce through social mobilisation strategies such as infomobilisation.


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