Debates Conférences
from 14:30 to 17:45
This event is public
Le continent numérique depuis l'espace
Le continent numérique depuis l'espace

Digitization of Africa: International Power Plays Conférence hybride

Over the past two decades, increasing attention has been paid to digital infrastructure development and funding on the African continent. Whereas massive infrastructure gaps in funding persist, especially in rapidly growing urban areas, investments in telecom and digital infrastructure have been increasing.

Geopolitical competition in Africa between major digital players, such as China, the U.S. and the EU also unfolds in these sectors. Yet, it is crucial to consider and understand the agency, strategies and interests that the many African players involved pursue during the negotiation of contracts, as well as the design and implementation of projects. The conference brings together experts who will shed light on the geopolitics of digital infrastructure funding in Africa and the way it feeds into local and national politics.


This conference will take place in English, with French interpreters, in a hybrid format (in-person at Ifri, and online).
All times are listed in Paris time (CEST).




Panel 1: Digital Infrastructure Partnerships: Geopolitical Competition and Local Strategy (14:30 – 16:00 CEST) 


  • David Ringrose, Head of Division, European External Action Service

  • Folashade Soulé-Kohndou, Co-principal investigator of the ‘Negotiating Africa’s digital partnerships’ project, University of Oxford

  • Henry Tugendhat, Economist, United States Institute of Peace

  • Fabrice André, Senior Vice President Orange operations in Central & Southern Africa and Indian Ocean

Chair: Alice PANNIER, Research Fellow and Head of the Geopolitics of Technology Program, Ifri 



Panel 2: Negotiating Digital Partnerships to Build “Smart” African Cities (16:15 – 17:45 CEST) 


  • Andrea Pollio, Researcher, Polytechnic University of Turin/African Centre for Cities/University of Cape Town 

  • Raymond Mendy, Former Director Texaf Digitial Kinshasa

  • Alice Higiro, Smart Cities Project Director, Rwandan Ministry of ICT and Innovation

  • Charlotte Escorne, PhD candidate, Institut français de géopolitique, Université Paris 8  

Chair : Sina SCHLIMMER, Research Fellow and Coordinator of the Governing the Urban Transition in Africa research program, Ifri 



Video of Andrea Pollio, Second panel speaker, Researcher at Polytechnic University of Turin/African Centre for Cities/University of Cape Town, talking about Konza Technopolis Project in Kenya:


Following the conference, a cocktail reception will be offered to participants.

27 rue de la Procession, 75015 Paris
Contact the organizers: 

For more information or to sign up, please contact afrique@ifri.org. When registering, please specify whether you wish to participate in a face-to-face or virtual format.

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