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Social Tech Ecosystems in Sub-Saharan Africa

Rodrigues, Gemma; Mwesigwa, Daniel; Mukundane, Jude; Kasprzak, Michelle; Csíkszentmihályi, Christopher

Researcher(s)
Gianolla, Cristiano; Leclerc, Elise

This study presents the findings of a survey commissioned by three UK foundations on the ecosystems of ‘social technology’ (systems designed to promote social good) in sub-Saharan Africa. It paints a ‘broad brush’ picture of the ecosystems for technology innovation across the region, highlighting those ecosystem characteristics present in multiple national contexts. These include the arrival and spread of tech hubs; interactions with Silicon Valley models of innovation on; the outsize influence of telcos; the advent of social media bundles and absence of net neutrality; and implicit bias against Africans and racism in funding. The study draws upon a combination of desk research, participant observation and semi-structured interviews with 116 individuals in 32 countries in English, French or Portuguese.

This research was commissioned by Nominet Trust, Comic Relief and Indigo Trust. It is independent research and thus its views do not necessarily always reflect those of the commissioners. They feel, however, that this is a challenging, useful and timely addition to the discussion around social tech in sub-Saharan Africa, with findings that need to be considered.
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