An empirical study on the effects of mobile telephony usage on livelihoods in Brong Ahafo region of Ghana

  • Stephen Bekoe Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Ghana
  • Daniel Azerikatoa Ayoung Bolgatanga Polytechnic
  • Paul Boadu CSIR - Science and Technology Policy Research Institute
  • Benjamin Folitse CSIR - Institute for Scientific and Technological information
Keywords: Livelihoods, Community Information, Mobile Telephony


Meaningful use of mobile telephony can enhance human development and capabilities thereby empowering people to lead lives they value. They are enabling technologies to deliver human-centred development. This article explores the effects of mobile phone use on livelihoods of users in eight districts in Brong Ahafo region of Ghana. A mixed method approach was employed and qualitative research was used as a dominant paradigm. Interview questionnaires, focus group discussions and observation were used.  The study showed that mobile phone ownership was high and their uses were characterised by greater uniformity across socio-economic groups and gender. Mobile phones enhanced traditional structures, facilitated business links, and face-to-face interactions as well as strengthening community ties. Users acknowledged the impact of mobile phones in their ability to deal with family emergencies. Poor network connectivity and power outages were major obstacles to mobile phone usage. The study makes original contributions to the knowledge of practical relevance in the ICT4D field as well as with respect to these under-researched Ghanaian regions and provides evidence for policy formulation to improve quality of services in Ghana and elsewhere. The participatory Field Research also provided space for in-depth engagement with local people to understand the technology in social and development contexts.

Author Biography

Stephen Bekoe, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Ghana
Stephen is Research Scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Accra, Ghana. I had my bachelors degree in Ghana, Masters degree in Singaore and PhD in England.
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