Trish's comment: Given my interest in mobile payments and mobile banking, both in developed an developing countries, I found this article, and the comments below, very interesting.
Although mobile payments is basically an IT technology built on a complex mix of partnerships and systems, it is meant to facilitate day-to-day physical transactions around all the industries Ekekwe lists as critical and fundamental - agriculture, manufacturing, services... It support the real economy but it does not, in it self, generate goods and services. It feels a bit like the app he describes that allows farmers to simulate outcome of crops - great app but it still does not provide food.
Clearly the focus needs to be on having food, energy and services to pay for. This technology is, as all other types of IT technologies, easy to adopt and easily scalable, it is an enabler of the real economy. It is a means to an end - a more vibrant and better served economy - not an end in itself. At the same time, I do think it is a particularly useful piece of IT technology. Finding a safe and easy way of exchanging money is key to the development of a nation. The impact of easy-to-use remittances, P2P payments, easy micro-lending and even a way to save in a society can be great. It doesn't just impact one area or one group within the nation but everybody at all levels.
Could mobile payments and mobile banking be the one IT technology that governments need to nurture even more?