Digital new deal for Africa – Governance in the age of digitalisation and datafication

Project Duration

April 2020 – October 2022

Project Description

Funded by IDRC, the primary objective of Phase II of the Africa Digital Policy Project’s research is to understand the nature and scale of digitalisation and datafication and the associated impacts. On this basis, the Project aims to develop governance frameworks to harness the benefits associated with global public good dimensions while mitigating accompanying risks. By developing a much-needed evidence base, RIA will provide technical assistance and support to state and regional institutions, but also to other stakeholders, including civil society and the private sector, who are engaging in public interest international governance. Phase II will continue to design a conceptual framework that develops the notions of the Internet and data as (impure) public goods.

Specific objectives of this focal area will be to develop

  • policy suggestions that focus on the realisation of public goods at a national level for developing countries;
  • strategies that effectively leverage existing frameworks to mitigate risks, especially as large numbers of potentially marginalised people come online, which can be incorporated by both government and non-government implementers;
  • alternative regulatory mechanisms that enable the private delivery of public goods within our programmatic focal areas, and which can be implemented by states and the private sector. These should include the consideration of resource obligations and governance stakeholder roles;
  • policy interventions that could more equitably allocate resources (from spectrum to data) to ensure meaningful access to quality global public goods in the digital era at a national level; and
  • discourse on the Internet and data as global public goods that can support sustainable development and enable informed choices pertaining to meaningful digital inclusion and use for all Africans.
  • national frameworks necessary to mitigate risks associated with privatised biometric civil registration and other identification systems
  • the nature of digitisation and datafication in national public information systems, the potential for enhanced efficiency and trust, particularly in context of taxation and social protection.”

Project Team

Alison Gillwald, Araba Sey, Naila Govan – Vassen, Alex Comninos, Gabriella Razzano, Shamira Ahmed, Andrew Rens, Tapiwa Chinembiri, Fazila Farouk