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  • Author: Adedeji Adeniran, Idris Ademuyiwa
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The growth of digitalization and digital technology adoption in Africa holds the key to strengthening and diversifying economies across the continent. Although these developments offer potentially life-changing benefits for consumers, businesses and governments, the inherent flaws in the digital market mean these benefits are not guaranteed. As most gains from the digital economy are largely concentrated in the United States and China, the digital divide may widen the gap between the Global North and the Global South.
  • Topic: Economics, Governance, Digital Economy, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Africa, Global South
  • Author: Matthias Krönke
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Afrobarometer
  • Abstract: According to UNESCO (2020), approximately 1.2 billion students and youth worldwide are affected by school and university closures because of the COVID-19 pandemic. To adjust to these new circumstances, governments must develop innovative solutions to ensure inclusive learning opportunities during this period of unprecedented educational disruption. This is especially true in African countries, where despite recent progress traditional education has faced infrastructural challenges and struggled to develop the human resources necessary to address students’ educational needs (Krönke & Olan’g, 2020; United Nations, 2019; UNESCO Institute of Statistics, 2016. This policy paper uses Afrobarometer survey data to look at digital infrastructure, the availability of digital devices at the household level, and digital literacy among African adults. While rates of digital literacy among children are likely to differ, it is important to understand these dynamics among adults for at least two reasons. First, adults are likely to shape children’s access to and experience with technology. Second, understanding current levels of access to devices and levels of digital literacy among adults provides a baseline against which future assessments can measure progress over time. Survey findings from Afrobarometer Round 7 (2016/2018) show a substantial digital divide both across and within countries, reflected in uneven access to resources such as electricity and unequal access to and use of smartphones and computers. The results suggest that government efforts to redress widespread inequalities need to be increased drastically to avoid the widening of an education gap among their citizens. The paper also discusses the potential benefits of providing smartphones and computers to those who currently do not have access to such devices.
  • Topic: Education, Infrastructure, Inequality, Digital Economy, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Alan Gelb, Anit Mukherjee
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Reforming inefficient and inequitable energy subsidies continues to be an important priority for policymakers as does instituting “green taxes” to reduce carbon emissions. Simply increasing energy prices will have adverse impact on poorer consumers, who may spend substantial budget shares on energy and energy-intensive products even though the rich typically appropriate more of the price subsidy. Equitable pricing reforms therefore need to be accompanied by programs to transfer compensation: depending on the situation, this can be targeted or universal. Successful reforms require measures to raise awareness-of the subsidies and the problems they cause, effective dissemination of the reform to the population, and rapid feedback loops to facilitate mid-course corrections. Digital technology, including for unique identification and payments, as well as general communications, can help build government capacity to undertake such reforms and respond to changes in fuel markets. The paper outlines the use of digital technology, drawing on four country cases. The technology is only a mechanism; it does not, in itself, create the political drive and constituency to push reform forward. However, it can be employed in a number of ways to increase the prospects for successful and sustainable reform.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Science and Technology, Reform, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, India, Latin America