Building emerging leaders in communications policy in Africa and Asia
In Africa and Asia, regulations governing communications are not designed to facilitate poverty reduction and economic growth. This is due in part to the shortage of locally-based policy and regulatory capacity within government, academia, and civil society, which has led to a lack of public interest policy research to support evidence-based policymaking. Building a local human resource base in different areas of the network economy is critical to developing and sustaining information and communications technology sectors that are responsive to socio-economic development goals.
Over the last ten years, the Communication for Policy Research South (CPRsouth) program has fostered the emergence of policy leaders with the skills and experience to engage in public interest research to inform policy. From 2015–2016, the program experimented with and contributed to a new local cadre of networked economy policy leaders across Asia and Africa.
Unlike privately funded research capacity programs designed primarily around returns on investment in infrastructure development, CPRsouth focuses on public interest research. It has the latitude to focus on issues such as pro-poor access to the Internet and mobiles, the protection of consumer rights, and governance of these technologies for the benefit of vulnerable and underserved populations.
This phase of the program will support increased efforts to evaluate the program’s contribution to leadership building and policy impacts. Support will allow the CPRsouth secretariat to document comprehensively how and to what extent the program is successful at producing next generation policy leaders. The project will produce an end-line tracer study on the efficacy of the program, as well as policy contributions by CPRsouth scholars in their respective countries. Among the activities supported will be tutorials, conferences, development of a social media-based platform for practitioners, and organization of a workshop on big data and development. The project is expected to build a new cohort of communications policy leaders and provide a nuanced understanding of how to contribute to building communication policy capacities.