Virtual Research Sprint 2021

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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.

Participants 1

OUTCOMES OF THE RESEARCH SPRINT

The Research Sprint was a collaborative, open environment during which participants worked with peers and experts from around Africa and beyond to produce evidence-based reflections on the digital economy and its implications particularly for Africa. The Sprint culminated in a series of articles authored by the fellows covering various issues related to digital transformation and digital sovereignty in an African context, with topics such as digital infrastructure development, the management of health data, and also the use of artificial intelligence in content governance.

The articles appear as part of two separate outlets, and the sprint syllabus is now also available online.

I. Digital Sovereignty: African Perspectives

This is a compilation of articles, edited by Professors Gehl Sampath and Tregenna, highlighting how digitization is unfolding in Africa, with concrete examples and perspectives that are relevant for scholars, policy makers and civil society engaging on these issues. This edited publication can be accessed here.

KEYWORDS

Digital Economy, Digital Sovereignty, Africa, Development, Transformation, Social Change, Economic Growth, Governance, Artificial Intelligence, Platforms

II. Digital Sovereignty: A Blog Series

This blog series, also edited by Professors Gehl Sampath and Tregenna, contains a compilation of articles that discuss roles and responsibilities of actors in various areas to mitigate the fallouts of digitization in Africa, ranging from e-learning to promote inclusion of those with disabilities, to e-solutions to gender inequality, to e-mourning and the loss of culture. The blogs focus on regaining digital sovereignty by devising local solutions. The blog series can be accessed here.

KEYWORDS

Digital economy, Digital Economy, Digital Sovereignty, Africa, Digital Governance, E-learning, Gender Equality, Social Development, Inclusion, Cultural erosion.

III. Wikivarsity Syllabus

A full syllabus of the Sprint that can be used for teaching and training purposes is now available on Wikivarsity and can be accessed here.

For more details on each of our fellows, see below:

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Adio Adet Dinika

Adio-Adet Dinika

Affiliation: University of Bremen
Areas of focus: Digitisation, digital labour rights, digital economy

Aminata Kidiera

Aminata Kidiera

Affiliation: Gaston Berger University
Areas of focus: Digital law, AI Ethics

Ayça Atabey

Ayça Atabey

Affiliation: University of Edinburgh
Areas of focus: Data protection, information privacy, human rights

Bendjedid Rachad Sanoussi

Bendjedid Rachad Sanoussi

Affiliation: Internet Society;KNUST
Areas of focus: Network & telecommunications engineering

Benjamin Akinmoyeje

Benjamin Akinmoyeje

Affiliation: Namibia University of Science and Technology
Areas of focus: Digital health applications

Blaise Bayuo

Blaise Bayuo

Affiliation: Tony Blair Institute for Global Change
Areas of focus: Technology & financial access, health technology

Bridget Boakye

Bridget Boakye

Affiliation: Tony Blair Institute for Global Change
Areas of focus: Internet policy, AI ethics

Emma Ruiters

Emma Ruiters

Affiliation: Genesis Analytics
Areas of focus: Digital economy, ICT policy

Faith Obafemi

Faith Obafemi

Affiliation: Future Proof Intelligence
Areas of focus: Technology law, blockchain, cryptocurrency

Halefom Abraha 1

Halefom Abraha

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

Ibtissam Chafia

Ibtissam Chafia

Affiliation: Mohammed 6 Polytechnic University; OCP Group
Areas of focus: Data science, machine-learning

Jacquelene Mwangi

Jacquelene Mwangi

Affiliation: Harvard Law School
Areas of focus: Law, technology, innovation

Julius Mboizi

Julius Mboizi

Affiliation: Uganda Communications Commission
Areas of focus: Technology policy & regulation

Lydia Namugabo

Lydia Namugabo

Affiliation: University of South Africa
Areas of focus: Information Systems

Michael Asiedu

Michael Asiedu

Affiliation: University of St. Gallen
Areas of focus: Digital censorship

Ngwinui Azenui

Ngwinui Azenui

Affiliation: Denison University
Areas of focus: Economics, structural change

Oarabile Mudongo

Oarabile Mudongo

Affiliation: Research ICT Africa; University of the Witwatersrand
Areas of focus: AI surveillance, facial recognition

Odilile Ayodele

Odilile Ayodele

Affiliation: Independent
Areas of focus: International relations, digital transformation

Olusesan Ayodele

Olusesan Awoleye

Affiliation: Obafemi Awolowo University
Areas of focus: Technology management, information engineering, machine learning

Peace Amuge

Peace Amuge

Affiliation: Women of Uganda Network
Areas of focus: Digital human rights, internet governance

Peter Mmbando

Peter Mmbando

Affiliation: Southern Africa Youth Forum
Areas of focus: Digital rights & inclusion

Sadrag Shihomeka

Sadrag Shihomeka

Affiliation: University of Namibia
Areas of focus: Educational technologies; digital literacy

Sylvia Mutua

Sylvia Mutua

Affiliation: Communication University of China;Technical University of Mombasa
Areas of focus: Content governance, digital literacy

Tarirayi Machiwenyika Mukabeta

Tarirayi Machiwenyika-Mukabeta

Affiliation: Bindura University of Science Education
Areas of focus: Educational technology, computer science

Winnie Kamau

Winnie Kamau

Affiliation: Talk Africa
Areas of focus: Data journalism, data visualisation

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