The rapid expansion of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Sub-Saharan Africa is generating significant changes in the ways in which both States and citizens articulate democracy, shape society or reorganize the economy through through the creation, use and exchange of information and knowledge. These transformations, which materialize very differently depending on the country and even within national environments, have the capacity to improve people’s lives by facilitating access to information, increasing the possibilities of political and economic participation or making governments are more transparent and effective. However, there are also risks such as a growing digital divide marked by the availability and access to technology, threats to privacy, the instrumentalization of the Internet for social control, digital colonialism, the revitalization of extractivist logics or the environmental costs of digitization, among others. Technological development, by itself, will not generate greater well-being, nor will it facilitate the achievement of Agenda 2030 or Agenda 2063 of the African Union if it does not respond to the needs of the countries and their citizens and address the challenges they face. is faced, such as poverty, access to energy, education, improvement of the infrastructure necessary for ICT, technological sovereignty, etc. As well as a regulation aimed at a fair technological transformation, which ensures the rights of citizens in the new digital environment and promotes new technological solutions from the continent.
This panel aims to reflect and discuss the various ways in which digital technologies are expanding on the continent, what changes they are generating and how they can contribute to development programs; which actors are leading the digital push (civil society, governments, companies, transnationals) and what are their interests; What opportunities, challenges and threats exist and what decisions and public policies linked to the digital and cooperation agenda are required to achieve a positive impact of digitalization on social and economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa.