This paper presents an empirical assessment of the impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on political development in sub-Saharan Africa. The analysis, based on the Mo Ibrahim indicators of democracy in Africa for 2008, reveals a close alignment between ICTs in Sub-Saharan Africa and democratization – or political development broadly defined.
Our examination of the data demonstrates that elevated levels of phone, computer, and Internet diffusion are associated with political development, although only the effect of the phone remains once other variables are specified. The phone is the most robust of all individual factors explaining variations in political development. This may be explained by the fact that all strata of society can use cell phones, while the Internet is primarily used by the elite.
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