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Is #DIYAfrica the future?

- Geci Karuri-Sebina and Amy Mutu

There are several initiatives across sub-Saharan Africa in which citizen-driven technology is used to improve public governance.

In 2021, the Civic Tech Innovation Forum ‘21 chose as its headline theme - #DIYAfrica. This theme explored questions of what a hyper-democratised society may have to look like in an age where governments seemed to be flailing, exacerbated by the impacts of Covid-19.

What if Africans on the ground had to get on with building their own futures, where technology might enable empowerment, participation, critique, and even resistance? This theme seemed to resonate with the spirit of the times, and leveraged a similar narrative from the European Union (EU) Future of Government 2030+ scenarios (EU, 2019), which had posited a scenario entitled "DIY Democracy". This DIY scenario was characterised by decentralising power and self-organised communities, with the civic rising as a key governance actor. It was a story of the co-creation of public services enabled by grassroots participation, digitalisation and the democratisation of tech. Could this be the emerging African story, the conference was asking?

If a bit dramatic, this #DIYAfrica scenario does raise an interesting question about the capability of African states and the necessary and/or desirable roles of civil society.

Read on the full analysis as it appears on News24.