Research sprint participants explore an African narrative on digital sovereignty

The DSI/NRF South African Research Chair in Industrial Development (SARChI-ID), in collaboration with Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, with funding from the Mercator Foundation, is hosting an eight-week "Research Sprint" with a cohort of fellows from various African countries. The Research Sprint is hosted within the framework of the Ethics of Digitalization project run by the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, the Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut, the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, and the Global Network of Internet and Society Research Centers (NoC), under the auspices of the Federal President of Germany and with funding from the Mercator Foundation. The project advances dialogue and action at the intersection of science, politics, digital economy, and civil society broadly. The Research Sprint hosted by SARChI-ID explores specific questions related to data colonialism, striking a balance between use of digital technologies and guarding against data commodification, and digital surveillance. This Research Sprint is one in a series that will take place over the next year and follows a Sprint hosted by the Berkman Klein Center on digital self-determination.

This Research Sprint focuses on digital sovereignty in Africa to look at what solutions can help realize national and individual interests of citizens in the digital economy across Africa, and assist African countries leverage their own unique advantages. During the eight weeks, fellows will explore important questions and solutions - including technology tools - from the perspective of users, technologists and policy makers in Africa. They will get the chance to articulate an internal African vision for development in the digital age.

For more information, contact the Sprint Project Team through the Sprint Chair: Padmashree Gehl Sampath and Regional Partner: Fiona Tregenna

Our Regional Team from SARChI-ID, University of Johannesburg includes: Phumzile Ncube, Koketso Manyane-Dlangamandla, Nicola King and Alexis Habiyaremye, as supported by the HIIG Project Team: Nadine Birner and Matthias C. Kettemann

In response to our Call for Applications, we received an overwhelming number of outstanding applications. We are proud to announce and recognise our 25 participants, a mix of academics and practitioners from 14 African countries, across a wide range of disciplines and focus areas.


The Sprint is a collaborative, open environment during which participants are expected to work with peers and experts from around Africa and beyond to produce evidence-based reflections on the digital economy and its implications particularly for Africa. We are pleased to introduce our fellows cohort that will take part in the endeavour:

Adio-Adet Dinika

Affiliation: University of Bremen

Areas of focus: Digitisation, digital labour rights, digital economy

Aminata Kidiera

Affiliation: Gaston Berger University

Areas of focus: Digital law, AI Ethics

Ayça Atabey

Affiliation: University of Edinburgh

Areas of focus: Data protection, information privacy, human rights

Bendjedid Rachad Sanoussi

Affiliation: Internet Society;KNUST

Areas of focus: Network & telecommunications engineering

Benjamin Akinmoyeje

Affiliation: Namibia University of Science and Technology

Areas of focus: Digital health applications

Blaise Bayuo

Affiliation: Tony Blair Institute for Global Change

Areas of focus: Technology & financial access, health technology


Bridget Boakye

Affiliation: Tony Blair Institute for Global Change

Areas of focus: Internet policy, AI ethics

Emma Ruiters

Affiliation: Genesis Analytics

Areas of focus: Digital economy, ICT policy

Faith Obafemi

Affiliation: Future Proof Intelligence

Areas of focus: Technology law, blockchain, cryptocurrency


Halefom Abraha

Affiliation: University of Malta

Areas of focus: Cross-border data & jurisdiction, internet governance

Ibtissam Chafia

Affiliation: Mohammed 6 Polytechnic University; OCP Group

Areas of focus: Data science, machine-learning


Jacquelene Mwangi

Affiliation: Harvard Law School

Areas of focus: Law, technology, innovation

Julius Mboizi

Affiliation: Uganda Communications Commission

Areas of focus: Technology policy & regulation

Lydia Namugabo

Affiliation: University of South Africa

Areas of focus: Information Systems

Michael Asiedu

Affiliation: University of St. Gallen

Areas of focus: Digital censorship

Ngwinui Azenui

Affiliation: Denison University

Areas of focus: Economics, structural change

Oarabile Mudongo

Affiliation: Research ICT Africa; University of the Witwatersrand

Areas of focus: AI surveillance, facial recognition

Odilile Ayodele

Affiliation: Independent

Areas of focus: International relations, digital transformation

Olusesan Awoleye

Affiliation: Obafemi Awolowo University

Areas of focus: Technology management, information engineering, machine learning

Peace Amuge

Affiliation: Women of Uganda Network

Areas of focus: Digital human rights, internet governance

Peter Mmbando

Affiliation: Southern Africa Youth Forum

Areas of focus: Digital rights & inclusion

Sadrag Shihomeka

Affiliation: University of Namibia

Areas of focus: Educational technologies; digital literacy

Sylvia Mutua

Affiliation: Communication University of China;Technical University of Mombasa

Areas of focus: Content governance, digital literacy


Tarirayi Machiwenyika-Mukabeta

Affiliation: Bindura University of Science Education

Areas of focus: Educational technology, computer science

Winnie Kamau

Affiliation: Talk Africa

Areas of focus: Data journalism, data visualisation