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The communication for influence – linking advocacy, dissemination and research by building ICTD networks in Central, East and West Africa project, or CICEWA, evolved from a discussion between the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and the Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet). Both organisations wanted to continue the research, dissemination and advocacy work in Africa that they have been involved in over the last few years.
All the other developing countries have substantially lower costs than African countries to access the internet. When this is coupled to the low level of broadband access to the internet in Africa as compared to the rest of the world, the picture that emerges is one in which Africa is becoming more isolated from the global information and communications network on which the global economy is running and falling further behind in terms of social and economic development.
CICEWA sought to identify the political obstacles to extending affordable access to ICT infrastructure in Africa and to advocate for their removal in order to create a sound platform for sub-regional connectivity in East, West and Central Africa, providing a base for the effective use of ICTs in development processes.
Running from 2008 to 2010, CICEWA was an ambitious project, but benefited from the concrete experience in African policy environments developed through the APC Africa ICT Policy Monitor project and the Catalysing Access to ICTs in Africa (CATIA) programme. APC and KICTANet draw on the experience of their successes with the policy monitor and CATIA projects to bring an integrated approach to ICT policy research, dissemination and advocacy through the building of sub-regional networks. They operate using the principle of multi-stakeholder partnerships developed through the CATIA experience to engage in evidence-based policy change.
The final evaluation report identifies key challenges and successes of the advocacy phase, and highlights the importance of networks in regional ICT advocacy. Individual country reports and country-specific articles highlight the key issues and “policy knots” in each participating country.
Photo by Whiteafrican used with permission under Creative Content licensing.