Over the past decade there has been a phenomenal growth in mobile phone and internet usage in Africa which has attracted substantial media and academic interest. However questions remain about the economically transformative nature and potential of this diffusion of communication infrastructures and artefacts. Based on over two hundred firm level interviews in Tanzania and South Africa this paper explores the impacts of the “information revolution” on small and medium enterprise development. Contrary to perceptions it finds evidence of thin integration, devaluation and neo, rather than disintermediation. The implications of this for African development are then explored.

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