by Indra De Lanerolle
South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) Policy Briefing, May 2017
Expanding mobile networks and falling costs could transform communication between African citizens and governments. So far, however, attempts to harness new technologies to improve transparency and accountability in Africa and elsewhere have had disappointing results. What is going wrong? Research suggests that an important reason for this failure is a poor understanding of technologies and limited skills in developing and using them. It seems that civil society organisations (CSOs) and governments often ‘re-invent the flat tyre’: experimenting with new tools without finding out what has been tried (often unsuccessfully) before.