AfNET Conference – 8 May 2017  

The impact of digital media and new technologies on the African continent are challenging our conceptions of time and space. Refuting the narrative of underdevelopment which has long characterized Africa in the West, communities across the continent are deploying recent technological developments in order to construct local solutions, foster communication between nationals and diaspora, and inform cultural expression. In the past decade, technology in Africa has not just become a transformed sector but has been transformative, buoyed on by the African spirit of entrepreneurship and creativity. Increased use of mobile money in both rural and urban areas demonstrates the power of ICTs to change the face of African development. Government led projects like Kenya’s Konzo City seek to capitalize on technology in order to boost employment and economic growth. The use of drones to transport medical equipment is being pioneered in Rwanda, and social media has played a critical role in revolutionary movements across North Africa and beyond.

Yet technology is not incorruptible. Nor does its use necessarily render wholesale positive results. Critical discussion of technology’s role in Africa, considering aspirations of Western modernity for example, needs to be undergone. Such conversations need to be inclusive of local identities, historical perspective, and discourse analysis.  

In light of this, questions considered may include:

  • How has technology allowed for interconnectedness in terms of ideas, political movements, and diasporic engagement?
  • What role has technology played in the process of state-building?   
  • How are identities being re-negotiated in such a rapid fast-paced technological environment?   
  • What impact is technology and digital media having in re-imagining our conceptions of boundaries in Africa, especially in regards to managing the rural-urban divide?
  • How have governments approached technology in securing both their states and their citizens?
  • What implications does technology have for academic study of, and in, Africa?

Find out more.