infoDev, CommGap, and the Africa Region's Governance & Anti-Corruption Projects Team hosted a lecture on “Africa’s Emerging Infosystems: A Pathway to Security and Development,” featuring the work of Dr. Steven Livingston (George Washington University). Following his lecture, a discussion panel was held that was moderated by Sahr Kpundeh (Africa Public Sector & Capacity Unit, World Bank) and included Eric Chinje (The World Bank Institute) and Dr. Brett Berlin (George Mason University).
The role of technology has been stressed in recent global events, with Twitter and Facebook being labeled as agents of change. However in his lecture, Dr. Livingston suggested that calling something the "Twitter Revolution" over simplifies the situation and results in a misperception about the force behind new collective action.
There is an important fundamental distinction to be made between a technology inspiring individuals to action and individuals using technologies in innovative ways to meet a local need. For Dr. Livingston, the technology is dispassionate while the people are the real innovators.
To read Dr. Livingston's full report, please see the Africa Center for Strategic Studies.
Also for more information and other perspectives on the presentation, please see Which Came First the ICT or Collective Action? by Gayatri Murthy, AudienceScapes and CommGap's official blog.