n Mousaion - The diffusion of information and communication technologies in the informal sector in Kenya

Volume 32, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0027-2639



The informal sector plays a key role in the economies of developing countries, through the creation of jobs; the production of affordable goods and services; and poverty reduction. However, the sector faces many challenges which include limited access to markets, lack of finance, and lack of access to new and changing technology. The purpose of this article is to report on the current diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the informal sector in Kenya by showing the current access, use, impact and its potential. This study used a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches. The survey research method was used to collect data by using structured and unstructured questionnaires from a sample of 390 micro and small enterprises (MSEs) participants. Data was obtained from different clusters of MSEs in Nairobi Province and Central Province in Kenya. The study found that over 70 per cent of the MSEs studied had between one and five employees, and mainly relied on themselves and fellow traders for business information. Their use of computer-based ICTs was found to be low with the majority of those studied using relatively inexpensive mobile phone technology. The researchers observed that government involvement in making the ICTs more accessible to the MSEs is yet to be felt, and more needs to be done in promoting their use and providing infrastructure that can support the use of ICTs.

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