Technology Could Empower Africans To Hold Their Governments To Account

Loren Treisman | The Guardian | October 15, 2013

Mobile phones are almost ubiquitous across Africa but can citizens use this technology to better participate in democracy?

Next year, South African citizens will take part in their fifth democratic election. While the African National Congress will undoubtedly triumph, it can no longer rest on its laurels.

In a country with a long history of civil action, people are getting tired of waiting for the improved living conditions they've long been promised. The massacre of 34 miners protesting over pay and working conditions last year shows how bad things can get when frustrations escalate. The Democratic Alliance, the ANC's strongest opposition, is gaining strength.

Sub-Saharan Africa is now home to more than 650 million mobile phone subscribers and 50 million Facebook users, enabling critical information to reach citizens at scale and at a relatively low cost.