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Title: Mobile-enabled payment methods and public service delivery in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Author: Krolikowski, Aaron Michael
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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Rapid expansions of mobile communication technologies across sub-Saharan Africa have generated considerable optimism regarding their impact on socioeconomic development outcomes. Key payment applications, such as mobile-enabled payment instruments (i.e. SMS-based mobile money and wireless pay point services) are experiencing substantial adoption in East Africa and Dar es Salaam was the first city in sub-Saharan Africa to integrate these payment instruments into the urban water sector in mid-2009. Tanzania's largest city is demonstrative of the potential of mobile communication technologies to overcome water provision challenges such as inefficient billing and collection systems and revenue under-collection. This thesis uses Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICTD) as an organising theoretical perspective to examine relationships between the use of mobile-enabled payment methods for water bill payments and customer payment behaviours, water utility performance, and access to water services. Data were collected using a survey methodology that tested hypotheses related to financial sustainability, petty corruption, satisfaction and service quality in payment practices, and neighbourhood resale in the informal water sector. Data sources include a survey administered to a stratified random sample of 1097 water utility customers; 42 semi-structured interviews with relevant stakeholders within the water sector and telecommunications industry; and a unique water payments database with information on approximately 1,000,000 water-related transactions made by over 106,000 customers. Qualitative and quantitative analyses provide evidence that the use of mobile-enabled payment methods can significantly improve customer payment behaviours (i.e. frequency of payment, annual revenue collection per customer), reduce opportunities for petty corruption (i.e. theft, bribery, and record-keeping), and support better access to improved water sources by unconnected households through neighbourhood resale practices. Implications for urban water provision in sub-Saharan Africa include higher collection efficiencies, more active customer bases, and wider direct and indirect reliance on utility-provided services. This thesis also contributes to ICTD scholarship by providing evidence that the use of mobile-enabled payment methods represents a disruptive transformation that enables more extensive and active citizen participation in the billing and payment processes of public service provision.
Supervisor: Hope, Rob Sponsor: Clarendon Fund ; Green Templeton College ; Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Geography ; Africa ; Human development ; Urban Studies ; Tanzania ; mobile ; water ; urban ; East Africa ; public services