Although the use of Information and Communication Technologies by citizens and governments in Africa is growing exponentially, there is limited evidence of how these technologies are affecting statebuilding and peace building on the continent. Where such evidence exists, it is often in diverse locations and hard to reach for researchers, practitioners, the media and government bodies.
In order to increase access to information on ICTs in Africa, the Centre for Global Communications Studies (CGCS) at the University of Pennsylvania has launched a new website that offers news and updates on research and events related to ICTs, peace building and governance. The portal features a repository of reports and articles with empirical evidence on the role of ICTs in peace building and governance.
In addition, the website offers access to articles typically blocked by journal paywalls by obtaining pre-print versions of articles from authors.
As a partner in CGCS’s project titled “Reframing Local Knowledge: ICTs, State building, and Peace building in Eastern Africa”, CIPESA undertook a review of literature on the role of ICTs in governance, peace-building and state-building in Africa, with a focus on three neighbouring countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.
An increasing number of Africa’s estimated one billion people are accessing modern communication technologies. According to the International Telecommunications Union, as of 2013, internet penetration stood at 16% and mobile access at 63% of Africa’s population.
It follows that online service provision, placing a wide array of information in the public domain, an empowered citizenry that holds leaders to account and smartly embrace ICT, could potentially catalyse peace, democracy and good governance in Africa.
There is a considerable amount of research by scholars, government agencies, civil society, development partners and many more on the use of ICTs in governance in Africa, covering a broad range of definitions and dimensions. A central place to find this research has hitherto been lacking, which is why scholars, practitioners and public officials will find the new portal a vital resource.
The work for the project is being carried out in collaboration with the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy (PCMLP) at the University of Oxford, the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology at Strathmore University (Kenya), the School of Journalism and Communication at Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia), CIPESA, The Heritage Institute for Policy Studies and SIMAD University (Somalia).
Read more about the project here.