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The Missing Connection: ICTs and Democracy in Africa


The African state is increasingly becoming a network of mobile phone users, but does this aid democracy on the continent or enable authoritarian governments to repress their citizens? The continent has seen an explosion in the usage of ICTs, but little increase in democracy as measured by the World Governance Indicators. Through both quantitative and qualitative examinations, this paper shows why the increase in ICTs have not led to a more democratic African continent. By analyzing data between 2000 and 2010 in Sub-Saharan Africa, the results shed light on why the effects that ICTs have had in North Africa have not spread southward. Despite information and communication being hallmarks of democratic consolidation, the usage of ICTs on the continent have not always aligned with democratic frameworks that would best utilize the potential of these technologies.

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