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Doctoral defence of Joel Rumanyika, MSc, 30.11.2023: Mobile technology in the informal economy: prototypes for market access and product promotion

The doctoral dissertation in the field of Computer Science will be examined at the Faculty of Science, Forestry and Technology, online.

What is the topic of your doctoral research? Why is it important to study the topic?

My topic is Mobile Technology in the Informal Economy: Prototypes for Market Access and Product Promotion. The essence of this topic is that it contributes in the field of ICT4D by designing the mobile artefact which operates in street trading environment to alleviate the challenge of limited market information access among the marginalized group of street traders.

What are the key findings or observations of your doctoral research?

The key findings in this doctoral research are divided into two main group. The first group is the designed, developed, demonstrated and evaluated ICT novel solution known as "Machinga Prototype" and the second is the knowledge contribution offered by the researcher through showing the multi-stakeholders and policy makers the power of ICT in disseminating information and thus, bridging the gap between the haves and have not. 

The implementation of the finding is new in the sense that, the research design that is design science research (DSR) that was adopted permitted the infusion of other mixed research approaches to support the design and development of the artefact which alleviates the problem of market information access and product promotion among the marginalized group of street traders. Similarly, it is interesting because the design novel solution is comprises some features which are essential in supporting the mobile street traders to expand their market niche and sales volume

How can the results of your doctoral research be utilised in practice?

The results of doctoral research are of two categories. One designed, developed, demonstrated and evaluated prototype which operates in the street vending environment. This prototype comprises features which help the marginalized group of street traders to; Find a shortest route, understand the real-time, market demand, to use the database for further transactions, to avoid depending on estimates for traffic jam, and to use it as the promotion tools instead of using conventional promotion tools which survive shortly. 

Secondly, is the contributed body of knowledge in by informing the multi-stakeholders the usefulness of ICT in improving the livelihoods of marginalized groups. This has been disseminated through the published academic articles and conference papers which are open access to allow the young generation to read and extract knowledge on how to ICT to remove the gap between the haves and have not.

What are the key research methods and materials used in your doctoral research?

The main research methods included (i) qualitative and (ii) quantitative. The qualitative research method was used to explore the information and non-numerical data while the quantitative research method was applied to collect statistical data. These two methods were infused in the DSR methodology which adopted the five stages of DSR framework by Johannesson & Perjons (2014) to support the design, development, testing and evaluation process to carried linearly or iteratively depending on the existed situation. The materials used in the doctoral research included:-(i) Documentary review e.g., journal articles, conference papers, books, magazines, internet, computers, scanners, pictures, photos,(ii) The materials which were collected during the research period e.g., audios. video, text, drawings, (iii) The material which were collected during evaluation e.g., mobile phones, APK,

there something else about your doctoral dissertation you would like to share in the press release?

Despite the presence of numerous ICTs still mobile technology main mobile commerce currently remains to be the platform that provide opportunities for micro-traders to compete with registered firms on a more equal basis. They help close the digital divide between the haves and have-nots, which remains a major issue in developing countries. These is because mobile technology mainly mobile phone is endowed with the features which include:(i) Ubiquity(ii) Personalization(iii) Accessible and affordable(iv) Available anytime anywhere(v) Location-based

The doctoral dissertation of Joel Rumanyika, MSc, entitled Mobile Technology in the Informal Economy: Prototypes for Market Access and Product Promotion  will be examined at the Faculty of Science, Forestry and Technology, online. The opponent will be Professor, Deputy Dean for Research Shaun Pather, University of the Western Cape, South Africa,  and the custos will be Professor Matti Tedre, University of Eastern Finland. Language of the public defence is English.

For more information, please contact: 

Joel Rumanyika,, tel. +255 714 043 423