2018: Conference Program

Call for Submission of Policy-Relevant Research


Communication Policy Research South (CPRsouth) Conference 2018

September 3-5, 2018 (Monday-Wednesday)

Polana Serena Hotel, Maputo, Mozambique


Neither national governments nor development practitioners, scholars and donors have seen information and communication technologies (ICT) as ends in themselves.  They have been seen as means to achieve development objectives such as elimination of extreme poverty, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and employment.  Now that a majority of the World’s population has access to voice communication, attention has shifted to what people use ICT for beyond talking on the phone and the barriers that preclude them from making full use of the potential of ICT.  This is why “After Access” is the theme of the 2018 conference.

After Access (AA) is also a major initiative funded by IDRC and partners, which is being implemented by DIRSI in Latin America, by LIRNEasia in South and Southeast Asia and by RIA in Africa.  Nationwide sample surveys which adhere to a common methodology address critical questions of public policy relevant to the promotion and regulation of ICTs and their use in various “verticals” such as finance and commerce in the developing world.  Even if not all the papers that are produced neatly fit into the themes covered by AA, it would be useful to have an engagement with the AA research as a central element of the conference.

Agenda with session descriptions, curators and contacts

  Day 1  
1330-1430 1. Inaugural session: Mozambique’s ICT achievements and challenges Moderator:  TBC

INCM and MZ govt

Media invited

1430-1500 Break  
1500-1600 2. Thematic session: AfterAccess

The vision and the overall design of the multi-country AA project and the challenges of execution will be discussed.  The possibilities that exist for CPRsouth members to work on papers using the data will be described.  The process of taking the AA research to various policy audiences will be the focus.  The findings that had the greatest resonance with specific audiences will be discussed.

Aileen Aguero, Helani Galpaya, Alison Gillwald


Media invited

1600-1730 3. What is the impact of national broadband plans, policies or strategies on ICT access? Curator: Timothy Mwolo Waema
  Here, evidence on progress or lack thereof in connecting more people in developing Africa and Asia to the Internet will be presented, ideally using AA data and possibly related research from Myanmar and Nepal, among others.  This could be achieved through perhaps the first two invited papers, which will most likely have to be from RIA and LIRNEasia.  The remaining two slots would be for other research on the impact of national broadband plans, policies or strategies. Media invited


Flexible time for media interactions  
1900- Welcome dinner, preceded by speech Media invited
  Day 2
0830-1000 4. What comes after access: hate, harassment and manipulation? Curator: Pirongrong Ramasoota
  Controversies around social media’s role in disseminating hate speech and manipulation have flared in 2018.  Do we have the tools and the data to make evidence-based contributions to these debates?  It appears that some of the voter profiling methods using, among others, Facebook data, may have been tried out in developing-country elections.  What light can be shed by the AA findings?  Are there qualitative studies such as those done by LIRNEasia in Myanmar that can be added to the mix?  
1000-1030 Break  
1030-1200 5. Digital literacy as the next big challenge Curator: Wallace Chigona
  Problems of hate speech, harassment, privacy, extortion, etc. have given rise a strong interest in how we can make users knowledgeable and discerning.  AA research as well as qualitative research done in multiple locations have a bearing on the challenges of developing digital literacy.  Critiques of conventional computer literacy, extensions of thinking and practice associated with the well-established field of media literacy may also come within scope.  Reflections on the practice of making users digitally literate as well as evaluation studies are welcome.


1200-1330 6. Gender at the intersection of other divides Curator: Alison Gillwald
  Gender in the context of intersectionality is a topic rising in salience, partly as a result of the work of researchers associated with AA.  Is poverty more important than gender in determining access to ICTs?  How does the urban-rural divide intersect with the male-female divide?  
1330-1430 Lunch
1430- Free time for participants / Board Meeting +
  Day 3  
0830-1000 7. Platforms, livelihoods, and consumer benefits Curator: Helani Galpaya & Payal Malik
  Policy issues pertaining to platforms such as Fiverr for online work, Grab for transportation, and various e commerce marketplaces are rising in salience.  Do platforms allow those excluded from the 9-5 workplace, such as the disabled or women with family responsibilities, to pursue a livelihood?  Do they cause damage the livelihoods of those currently working?  How do enabling factors such as broadband coverage, payment mechanisms and electricity affect platforms?  How can market power that may arise because of network externalities be regulated?  
1000-1030 Break  
1030-1200 8.  Are ICTs contributing to financial inclusion? Curator: Supriya Singh
  Much research has been done on various aspects of ICTs and financial services, so much that many policy papers and even a systematic review have been produced. But what has been the effect on empowerment of women and movement of people out of poverty?  This session will seek to answer the questions of what has been learned and what further research needs to be done.  
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1410 9. E government and “smart” cities  (3 papers) Curator: Erwin Alampay
  Enormous resources have been expended on e government projects in the past decade, intending to improve the delivery of government services to the public and to business, and also to reengineer government processes and make them more efficient.  AA contains a module on e government that is likely to shed new light on the progress that has been made.  Many countries in the South have begun to talk about, if not implement, smart city initiatives.  This session will pull together research in both these areas.  
1410-1520 10. Cyber policy: Scanning the horizon from the Global South (3 papers) Curator: Rohan Samarajiva & Sriganesh Lokanathan
  Cyber policy broadly includes issues such as privacy, cyber security, marginalization, and network shut downs.  While there has not been much activity by CPRsouth paper givers in this space (with the exception of privacy and other issues related to big data), there is value in opening up this front, especially now that cyber policy from a Global South perspective are being addressed through multiple IDRC-funded networks.  
1520-1600 Break & group photograph
1600-1730 11. Presentation of certificates and awards; discussion of topics for next conference TBC