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ICTD Research by Africans: Origins, Interests, and Impact

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Abstract—The ICTs and Development (ICTD) field refers to numerous case studies on the African continent. These stories are, however, often told by Western scholars. This gap between researcher and reality can affect the success of ICT programs in African countries, but also reflects a more serious dependence of Africa on foreign scholarly direction. This paper therefore seeks to better understand what role African researchers have played in the ICTD field, and suggest a way forward that will advance the role of ICTs in the continent’s development. We present findings on the participation of African researchers in ICTD through academic publications across four subdisciplines. The findings highlight emerging thematic areas of concern to African researchers and their almost negligible representation in formal academic publications. We therefore suggest that key theories in ICTD are being formed without significant influence by African scholars and identify mechanisms to enhance their contribution.

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ICTD Research by Africans: Origins, Interests, and Impact

  1. 1. ICTD Research by Africans: Origins, Interests, and ImpactShikoh GitauPaul PlantingaKathleen Diga
  2. 2. African ICTD research What are the academic contributions from Africans to the ICTD field? Exploratory study Publication % and issues/ topics Two parts: quant (1990-2009) and qual (2007- 2009) (Why) Is this a problem? What to do about it?
  3. 3. African ICTD research - macro Part 1: Quant. Thomson ISI WoS (1990-2009) 9% from African institutions 37% South Africa 17% Nigeria 14% Botswana 12% Info. Science 8% Health IS 5% Telecoms Policy*1,633 articles on ICT for/ and development topics
  4. 4. African ICTD research - mesoPart 2: Qual. ICTD journals/conf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
  5. 5. African ICTD research - overview K$&*5(#!3%#)&*P4)*%#! O.--!)<(#!ND!*#!ZH(&6!Z!"3;/!;%2*5-@!3+J!7.)8%&9*#: *#!"#).&#()*%#(1! M2!)%!BND!!*#!Z+%$).&Z!"3;/!;%2*5-@!=%1*5,F!"+!3%4#*5()*%# KP%4)!NCD!!*#!1%8.&!&(#9*#:!24P1*5()*%#-!*#!1%8.&!&(#9*#:!24P1*5()*%#- =4P1*5()*%#-! [16.&@!O*P&(&,!+5*.#5.F!H.(1)<!"#$%&()*%#!+,-).-F!;.1.5%4#*5()*%#!=%1*5, 7.8.&@!Q?:%0.&#(#5.F!Q#).&2&*-.!"3;F!!H.(1)<!3%4#*5()*%# ;%2*5-!%$!"#).&.-) +9.8.6!)%!+%4)<V.&#Y!K$&*5( /*-)&*P4)*%# 7%#?Q#:1*-<!24P1*5()*%#-!#.:1*:*P1. !!
  6. 6. Is this a Problem B?BND!=4P1*5()*%# .2&.-.#)()*%#! BAD!%$!8%&16!2%241()*%#!*#!K$&*5( BGD!!%$!!6.0.1%2*#:!5%4#)&,!! 2%241()*%#!(&.!*#!!K$&*5( "3;/!!*-!2&.-4.6!)%!<(0.!-)&%#:! I(1*6*), 2(&)*5*2()%&,!&%%)- O(59!%$!!K$&*5(#!5%#)&*P4)*%#-! 4#6.&*#.-!)<*-!51(*- K$&*5(!#%)!-<(2*#:!Z<(&6Z!).5<#%1%:, +<(2*#:! ;.#6.#5,!)%!Z54-)%*-()*%#Z!%&! 5%#).T)4(1*-()*%#!$%&!K$&*5( .(5)*0.!0-!2&%(5)*0. QT%:.#%4-!&.-.(&5<!1(59-!1.:*)*(5,! O.:*)*(5,! 8*)<!K$&*5(#!2%1*5,(9.&-! .-2.5*(11,! !
  7. 7. Roots of the problem O(59!%$!5%#$.&.#5.!()).#6(#5. "#-)*)4)*%#(1!$(5)%&- K55.--!)%!*#$%&()*%# =4P1*-<*#:!541)4&. =%1*)*5(1!(#6!1(#:4(:.!P*(- .-.(&5<!5%4#*),! !!!
  8. 8. Proposals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
  9. 9. Conclusions .5%:#*-.!)<()!)<*-!*-!%&.!)<(#!(#!.)<*5(1! :(2F!P4)!(1-%!($$.5)-!)<.!)<.%&.)*5(1! 3(11!%#!"3;/! 6.0.1%2.#)!%$!)<.!$*.16 3%#)*#4.!*#!(66&.--*#:!&.-%4&5.!(#6! *#-)*)4)*%#(1!*--4.- 5%4#*),! =&*%&*)*-.!6*0.&-*),!(-!(!&.-.(&5<!*#6*5()%& "##%0().!*#!(66&.--*#:!*#$&(-)&45)4&(1! 3(11!%#! *--4.-!(#6!.T21%&.!(1).&#()*0.!&.-.(&5<! -)&().:*.- K$&*5(#! &.-.(&5< &.-.(&5<.&-! V*#51E!*#$%&(1!&.-.(&5<Y!*#!<%.!5%4#)&*.- !
  10. 10. Thank you@shikohtwit, @pplantinga, @kdiga

Abstract—The ICTs and Development (ICTD) field refers to numerous case studies on the African continent. These stories are, however, often told by Western scholars. This gap between researcher and reality can affect the success of ICT programs in African countries, but also reflects a more serious dependence of Africa on foreign scholarly direction. This paper therefore seeks to better understand what role African researchers have played in the ICTD field, and suggest a way forward that will advance the role of ICTs in the continent’s development. We present findings on the participation of African researchers in ICTD through academic publications across four subdisciplines. The findings highlight emerging thematic areas of concern to African researchers and their almost negligible representation in formal academic publications. We therefore suggest that key theories in ICTD are being formed without significant influence by African scholars and identify mechanisms to enhance their contribution.

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