MOBILE PHONE USAGE AMONG WOMEN TRADERS IN TANZANIA: A CASE OF WOMEN TRADERS AT KARIAKOO AREA, DAR-ES-SALAAM

Mazana Mzomwe Yahya, Pelagia Apolinali Mutarubukwa

Abstract


The evolution and growth of mobile phones has a huge impact on social interactions and on economic progress worldwide .Tanzania, like any other developing country, has incorporated mobile technologies in its Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as a facilitating agent for development. However, despite an increasing research on the importance of mobile technologies for SMEs development, there is still lack of studies on women’s use of mobile phones for entrepreneurship activities in Tanzania. Therefore, the study aimed at exploring the nature of mobile phone usage among women traders, benefits, as well as challenges that prevent them from using mobile phones for their advantage. This paper applies the theory of emancipation to understand the usage of mobile phones among women traders at the Kariakoo area in Tanzania that is grounded on Critical Social Theory (CST). The study employed qualitative techniques where, purposive sampling technique was used. Data were collected using in-depth interviews and analyzed by being transcribed, coded and presented based on categories and emerged major themes. The results reveal that, women entrepreneurs use mobile phones in communicating with suppliers and customers, receiving orders and payments, procuring products from suppliers and in enhancing social cohesion. Benefits of mobile phones usage include creating wealth, expanding market, increasing sales, improving efficiency and customer relationship management; and entertainment.  However, the mobile phone usage by women traders are adversely affected by; network failure, expensive airtime, transactions delivered to a wrong number, delay of clients to respond to calls, some customers lack mobile phones with modern applications, and customers feeling that the products are not in their taste. It was suggested from the studies that, the cost of airtime and internet bundles are to be reduced, improve connectivity, provide reliable mobile services so as to reach the community at grassroot level.

Keywords


entrepreneurship, mobile phone usage, women entrepreneurs, women traders, Tanzania

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