Digital New Deal for Africa – Governance in the Age of Digitalisation and Datafication

Project Duration

April 2020 – October 2022

Project Description

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
2. Data Protection
3. Digital Economy
4. Innovation
5. Gender

Funded by