April 2020 – October 2022
The primary objective of the Africa Digital Policy Project’s research, phase 2 of the IDRC-funded cyberpolicy think tank, is to understand the nature and scale of digitalisation and datafication and the associated impacts. On this basis, the project aims to support the development of governance frameworks to harness the benefits associated with global public good (such as Internet, cybersecurity and data) while preventing harms and mitigating the associated 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 global governance. This will provide the rational for global solidarity on the realisation of these digital public goods at the national level and in the global governance necessary to prevents harms.
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;
- support the development of regional and continental digital policy and governance 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;
- develop alternative and effective 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 the demand-side valuation of digital public goods and not only the commercial supply side value which is used in the allocation of resources (such as spectrum or data);
- 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;
- 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; and
- the nature of digitisation and datafication in national public information systems, the potential for enhanced efficiency and trust, particularly in the context of taxation and social protection.
Advisory Panel Members
Dr. Nicholas Federici (HHI), Dr. Gus Hosein (Privacy International), Prof. Caroline Ncube (UCT), Dr. Elizabeth Stuart (Oxford, Blavatnik School of Government) and Dr. Linnet Taylor (Tilburg University).
1. Open data – Indicators and measurement
- 2020 Policy brief: Temporary COVID-19 spectrum – a missed opportunity for some regulatory innovation?
- Policy Brief: Despite reduction in mobile data tariffs, data still expensive in South Africa
- Policy brief: OTT tax and data prices during Covid-19 in Cameroon
- Policy brief: Covid-19, pricing regulation and big player profitability
- Policy brief: COVID-19 exposes the contradictions of social media taxes in Africa
- Concept Note: Internet Performance Measurement
- Policy Brief: Internet performance measurement – South Africa
- Working Paper: African Data Trusts: New Tools Towards Collective Data Governance?
2. Data Protection
- Blog: Digital Hegemonies For COVID-19
- Concept Note: Understanding the Theory of Collective Rights: Redefining the Privacy Paradox
- Podcast: South Africa’s new Covid-19 contact tracing app
- Policy Paper: Digital identification and rights realisation in South Africa
- Policy brief: Contact Tracing in South Africa
3. Digital Economy
- RIA’s panel for African Internet Governance on digital taxation in Africa, at AIGF2020.
- Policy brief: Multifaceted challenges of digital taxation in Africa
- Research paper: Digital Taxation: can it contribute to more just resource mobilisation in post-pandemic reconstruction?
- Presentation “Platform Cooperatives: Democratising Ownership for an Inclusive Digital Economy”. It can be downloaded here: https://researchictafrica.net/presentation/
- Two RIA podcasts informing critical issues covered by the report were also produced as part of this study. The podcasts are: “Alternative models for the digital economy – Social impact tech start-ups and platform co-operatives“; and “The platform economy: Flexibility or race to the bottom?”.
- Research paper: In Search of Platform Cooperativism in South Africa
- Research paper: Future of Work in the global South (FOWIGS): Digital Labour, New Opportunities and Challenges
- Op-Ed: Africa must move now to ensure it is not left out of the AI agenda conversation.
- Blog: The African Continental Free Trade Agreement offers a chance for digital technologies to reduce inequality – or to exacerbate it
- The RIA Podcast: ‘Smart’ Cities in the Global South