John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Showing posts for "ICT"

Communications Further Cut in Northeastern Nigeria

by John Campbell
A woman tries to get reception on her mobile phone in Maiduguri, after the military declared a 24-hour curfew over large parts of the city in Borno State May 19, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) A woman tries to get reception on her mobile phone in Maiduguri, after the military declared a 24-hour curfew over large parts of the city in Borno State May 19, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

When President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states in response to a radical Islamist insurgency, the Nigerian government banned the use of cell phones. Earlier, the Islamists had destroyed many or most of the cell phone towers. A result has been little telephone communication between the northeast and the rest of the world. This is in addition to existing restrictions on the operations of the press in the affected region. A consequence is that the outside world knows little about what is actually going on in northeast Nigeria independent of government sources. Read more »

Mapping Mogadishu and the Problem of Warlord Politicians

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
People stand in front of a building destroyed during a fight between al Shabaab militants against African Union and Somali Government forces in Mogadishu June 26, 2012. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters) People stand in front of a building destroyed during a fight between al Shabaab militants against African Union and Somali Government forces in Mogadishu June 26, 2012. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Jim Sanders, a career, now retired, West Africa watcher for various federal agencies. The views expressed below are his personal views and do not reflect those of his former employers.

Somalia is clawing its way out of twenty years of war-torn chaos. Some are proposing initiatives that use innovative technology to assist in state building and recovery, but they face a struggle against Somalia’s warlord-dominated past. Many former warlords remain in power at various levels of government and civil society. This dynamic of warlord versus technology is therefore becoming a lively discussion. Read more »

Guest Post: ICT, Africa, and the 90/10 Rule

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A technician repairs cell phones in his store in Khartoum December 21, 2011. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Courtesy Reuters) A technician repairs cell phones in his store in Khartoum December 21, 2011. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Courtesy Reuters)

Asch Harwood is the Africa program research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Last week, SAIS hosted a conference on information and communication technology (ICT) and political participation in Africa. Participants explored the potential of ICT to improve governance in Africa by promoting dissent, organizing opposition, enabling large groups to express shared concerns, and reducing communication transaction costs; as well as improving government effectiveness by streamlining administrative functions (bureaucratic listservs or mobile courts for example), opening channels of communication with constituents, and improving service delivery. Read more »

Guest Post: Is Boko Haram Middle Class?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A view of the scene of a bomb blast is seen in Nigeria's northern city of Kaduna April 8, 2012. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) A view of the scene of a bomb blast is seen in Nigeria's northern city of Kaduna April 8, 2012. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Jim Sanders, a career, now retired, West Africa watcher for various federal agencies. The views expressed below are his personal views and do not reflect those of his former employers.

In his informative Financial Times piece, “BlackBerrys flourish in the malls of Lagos,” Xan Rice focuses mainly on blackberry manufacturer Research In Motion, the firm’s market outlook for Nigeria, and about what this tells us about Nigeria’s emerging middle class. Read more »