The Democratic Impact of ICT in Africa

Alexandra Dobra


This paper takes a critical look at the view that the Internet can serve as a laboratory of political experimentation for reconfiguring the repertories of political actions. The overall discourses on information and communications technology (ICT) are too often focused on technology and infrastructure, when the question of its use should be central. In order to comprehend how ICT can serve as a democratic enhancer, this paper critically examines the African anthropology of the state and of the public sphere. It captures the African endogenous productions of political modernity and the subsequent way ICT is appropriated and indigenized by African local instances. African states and civil societies do not fit into prescriptive Western paradigms. In order to encourage the effective use of new technologies, this paper has developed the so-called “African model of ICT practice”, which proposes a set of hypotheses that aim to enable the effective usage and integration of ICT within the democratic process in the context of an African self-defined political reality.

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