In Search of Local Knowledge on ICTs in Africa
Stability: Interntional Journal of Security & Development
abstract
This article explores whether, and to what extent, local knowledge features in research on the role of ICTs in statebuilding and peacebuilding in Africa, with a par- ticular focus on neighboring Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia. We question whether the claims of the transformative power of ICTs are backed by 'evidence' and whether local knowledge ‰ÛÒ e.g., traditional mechanisms for conflict resolution ‰ÛÒ is taken into consideration by ICT-based development initiatives. To assess this, we systematically reviewed literature in the region, focusing on academic outputs as well as research published by non-governmental and governmental organizations. Several key findings emerged, including: 1) empirical evidence on the successful use of ICTs to promote peacebuilding and statebuilding is thin; 2) few differences exist between scholar- ship emanating from the Global North and from Africa; and 3) overall, the literature exhibits a simplistic assumption that ICTs will drive democratic development with- out sufficient consideration of how ICTs are actually used by the public. Introduction