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.
For more information or to sign up, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. When registering, please specify whether you wish to participate in a face-to-face or virtual format.
Digital technology is an element of power in the international system as well as an area for competition among countries. The study provides a qualitative comparison of the technology policies of nine of the digital middle powers: Brazil, India, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Nigeria, Russia,...
The Politics of New Cities: Diversification of Actors and Recentralization of State Power in the Case of Diamniadio Études de l’Ifri, January 2023
The construction of new cities on the African continent is in vogue. From multifunctional urban hubs to eco-districts, the images that accompany the announcement of these projects promote an African urban future based on modernity and technology.
Neither Surveillance nor Algorithm-driven Consumerism. Toward an Alternative European Model for Smart Cities Etudes de l'Ifri, November 2022
Numerous smart city projects are emerging, guided by objectives of efficiency and improvement of public policies. All of them are based on intensive use of data and digital tools, but their concrete achievements take various forms. Some models are being exported and are becoming levers of...