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Study on mobile use by the BOP in Africa

Two new infoDev-led studies provide insight into the use of mobile phones at the BOP in Kenya and another in 12 countries in Africa including South Africa

The Kenya study (carried out by iHub Research and Research Solutions Africa) found that over 60% of the Kenyan BOP owns a mobile phone. However only 25% of them use Internet on their mobile phone. This is quite high in comparison to LIRNEasia’s 2011 Asian study where less than 4% of the South Asian BOP surfed the Internet via the mobile with Java been the exception where 10% accessed internet via the phone.

Further more it was found that at least 20 per cent of the Kenyan BOP respondents felt it was necessary to make real sacrifices to recharge their mobile credit. The estimated value of the sacrifice  the respondent was willing to make, in foregoing other activities, was an average of  84 US cents.  This meant buying less food, at least once a week.

The 12-country study conducted by Research ICT Africa and Intelecon, showed that more than 75% of the BOP owns a mobile but do not use applications with MXit a social networking platform been the exception.  High cost of SMS and smart phones, suspicion of technology were said to be some of the reasons for low use.

The two publications can be downloaded on infoDev’s publications web page.

For a direct download of the Kenya study (pdf), click here.

For a direct download of the South Africa study (pdf), click here.

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