Founder and President, International Institute for ICT Journalism, Ghana
Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow,National Endowment for Democracy, Washington, D.C., Spring 2013
In recent years, most of the 15 member countries of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) have enjoyed expanded political freedoms and have passed a variety of reform measures to combat corruption, including the establishment of a regional anti-corruption institution. Despite this progress, however, the region still confronts instability, limited transparency, and weak democratic governance.
In response to these ongoing challenges, countries across West Africa have begun to harness the power of information communication technologies (ICT), primarily as a tool to run elections. Beyond their application in electoral environments, however, the full potential of new technologies to enable transparency, fight corruption, and monitor public service delivery has yet to be fully realized.
This exploratory study looks at how new digital technologies—including online platforms, mobile apps, SMS, and social media—are being used to promote democratic governance and economic transparency in the 15 ECOWAS member states. The report assesses relevant projects, identifies gaps in project deployment, and offers recommendations for the effective use of technology to strengthen democratic governance in West Africa. The results of the study show that although ICT is still in its infancy in West Africa, it is becoming an increasingly important tool in fighting corruption and monitoring public service delivery in the region.
Based at NED's International Forum for Democratic Studies, the Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program enables activists, practitioners, scholars, and journalists from around the world to deepen their understanding of democracy and enhance their ability to promote democratic change. During their time in residence, Fellows reflect on their experiences and consider best practices; conduct independent research and writing; engage with colleagues in the United States; and build ties with a global network of democracy advocates. For more information, visit www.ned.org/fellowships.