Digital technology and development

Policy brief
Cyber  Globalisation  Development policy  Africa
Written by

Erik Kursetgjerde

Former employee

Niels Nagelhus Schia

Senior Research Fellow, Head of the Research group on security and defense, Head of NUPI's Research Centere on New Technology



Increasingly, the global challenges posed by digitalization and cybersecurity are emerging as central to the organization of development assistance – with consequences for billions of people in the developing world. The distribution of digital technology and connectivity is occurring at an unprecedented pace, offering new opportunities and contributing to economic growth across the world. While development agencies and donor countries are utilizing such opportunities as a vehicle for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), new societal vulnerabilities are arising alongside them. These vulnerabilities have significant implications in terms of – among other things – freedom of speech, human rights, and modern forms of slavery. This is especially the case in those countries currently making the leap into the digital age, where there is a pressing need for knowledge, education, institution building and experience sharing. Sustainable growth through digital technology is dependent on analogue foundations, with donor countries having an important role to play through development assistance and capacity-building mechanisms. With this in mind, this article looks at the rapid growth in internet usage in sub-Saharan Africa and its implications for governance, cybersecurity and development in the region.