ICTs for Democracy: Information and Communication Technologies for the Enhancement of Democracy - with a Focus on Empowerment

This report examines the potential of information and communications technologies (ICTs) for advancing democracy and empowerment, with a special focus on Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Conducted by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) in coordination with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the study documents evidence indicating that access to and the strategic use of ICTs help bring about economic development, poverty reduction, and democratization - including freedom of speech, the free flow of information, and the promotion of human rights.

The report is composed of 2 distinct parts: a theoretical overview and three studies discussing the possibilities and challenges of ICTs in advancing democracy in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. The theoretical overview conceptualizes democracy, notes it various forms and processes in relation to media and ICTs, and couches this analysis into the global project of democratization in Africa. The theoretical framework is then applied to an analysis of access to ICTs in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania, and how such access shapes group participation in each country’s political, and socio-economic systems. The report then turns to a discussion of the opportunities and risks of utilizing ICTs for democratization, and concludes with recommendations and strategies to advance democracy through the use of ICTs.

© Sida, 2009