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ICTs and the (Re)Production of Development Knowledge in Africa

ICTs and the (Re)Production of Development Knowledge in Africa
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Author(s): Lord C. Mawuko-Yevugah (International Institute of Social History, The Netherlands)
Copyright: 2014
Pages: 19
Source title: Impacts of the Knowledge Society on Economic and Social Growth in Africa
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Lloyd G. Adu Amoah (Ashesi University, Ghana & Strategy3, Ghana)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5844-8.ch003

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Abstract

Over the past few years, Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) have been promoted by Western development agencies in Africa and other regions of the developing world. There are legion of intellectual (theoretical) and practical policy-oriented arguments advanced by the proponents of an ICT-driven agenda and to justify why this paradigm offers an effective pathway out of poverty and under-development in the global South. This chapter proposes a critical theoretical approach for analyzing and interpreting the implications and impacts of this ICT-driven development agenda for Africa and other regions striving for home-grown and locally-driven development agenda. Drawing on aspects of critical theoretical lenses including Foucault's knowledge-power dynamics and neo-Gramscian concept of hegemony, the chapter explores how the ICT-driven development paradigm being championed by key international development agencies may in fact,help to perpetuate unequal power relations in the production of development knowledge whereby ideas and practices of the “developed” and “advanced” West are privileged and imposed on the “less developed” and “backward” regions such as Africa. The chapter provides a historical overview on development theory in the African context from the era of modernization theory to the neo-liberal turn in order to examine if and how the ICT-driven paradigm offers any departures from the path-dependency model embedded in earlier theoretical and policy interventions.

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