Digital contact-tracing and pandemics : Institutional and technological preparedness in Africa

Arakpogun, Emmanuel Ogiemwonyi and Elsahn, Ziad and Prime, Karla Simone and Gerli, Paolo and Olan, Femi (2020) Digital contact-tracing and pandemics : Institutional and technological preparedness in Africa. World Development, 136: 105105. ISSN 0305-750X

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Several countries in Africa have either deployed or considering using digital contact-tracing (DCT) as part of their Covid-19 containment strategy, amidst calls for the use of technology to improve the efficiency of traditional contact-tracing. We discuss some of the complexities entailed in using DCT in Africa. Adopting a socio-technical perspective, we argue that if DCT design and deployment are not well thought out, it can lead to unintended consequences, particularly in a continent like Africa with disproportionate levels of digital divides and other structural inequalities. We suggest that any adoption of DCT by African countries must take account of their compatibility with local resources, values, social structure, and domestic political factors. Accordingly, we propose a process of translation whereby DCT adaptation is made to accommodate the unique institutional and technological characteristics of African countries by leveraging local practices learned from previous pandemics like Ebola to develop a blended epidemiological approach to (digital) contact-tracing.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
World Development
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Publisher Copyright: © 2020
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Research Output Funding/no_not_funded
?? africacontact-tracingcovid-19institutions, pandemicsocio-technical perspectiveno - not fundedgeography, planning and developmentbuilding and constructiondevelopmentsociology and political scienceeconomics and econometrics ??
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05 Jun 2024 15:35
Last Modified:
06 Jun 2024 01:26