NSD-S Hub: Social Media Revolution in Africa

NSD-S Hub: Social Media Revolution in Africa
Oct 11, 2018

Beginning at the turn of the century and gathering force in the last decade, an information and communication technology (ICT) revolution has swept across Africa. Fueled by the expansion of wireless networks, submarine cable connections, and mobile broadband services, this revolution has afforded access to the internet and social media to the majority of Africans. The lives of Africans have been changed in many ways, including in the political sphere. In Tunisia and The Gambia, use of the internet and social media by civil society groups led to the toppling of longtime authoritarian rulers. Elsewhere, the internet and social media gave Africans tools to monitor elections and challenge corruption. Many African governments have embraced the internet as a medium for improving government services, and they have applied a light regulatory touch. Several other governments have sought to limit access to the internet, especially in times of political tension, and a few have put laws and regulations in place that would inhibit free access to ICT. Extremist groups have also exploited the internet and social media, but the new communications technologies may have harmed those groups as much as helped them. It would be in the interest of the countries of NATO to promote the use of the internet and social media by African governments and civil society. There are several areas in which Western cooperation and assistance would be particularly helpful and mutually advantageous.

 

 



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