How African Governments Can Use Technology to Empower and Connect with Their Citizens

6 January 2023

5 minutes read

Technology has revolutionized the way people interact and do business on a global scale. As the world becomes increasingly digital, African governments have a huge opportunity to leverage technology to empower their citizens and create a more connected society. By incorporating cutting-edge technology into their policies and strategies, African governments have the potential to promote economic growth, strengthen government-citizen relations, and create a more equitable and prosperous future for their people. By utilizing the advancements in technology, African governments can ensure that their citizens have access to modern services, such as online banking, telemedicine, and government services, which can ultimately lead to increased economic and social development. Technology can also be used to create more efficient and transparent systems of governance, and to ensure that the needs of all citizens are met. African governments must take advantage of the potential of technology to create a more equitable and prosperous future for their citizens.

Examples of How African Governments Can Leverage Technology

In Kenya, the Ministry of Health partnered with the Gates Foundation and Ibadan University to launch mPedigree, an innovative, blockchain-based solution that enables consumers to verify the authenticity of essential oils and other associated products. Blockchain ensures that the product is authentic and hasn’t been laundered or adulterated with other substances. mPedigree is also integrated with a smartphone app that allows users to scan a product’s QR code to verify its authenticity. In Nigeria, the Central Bank developed a blockchain-based payment system to facilitate domestic and international remittance payments. The system, known as Remita, allows Nigerians to send money home to family and friends by only providing the name and phone number of the recipient. In addition, the blockchain-based Remita platform can be used to make other types of payments, such as utility bills.

Technology for Improved Governance and Citizen Engagement

In 2016, South African President Jacob Zuma launched an initiative to create a government-controlled social network called MyGov. The platform enables citizens to engage with government officials, share their ideas, and provide feedback to help shape South Africa’s policy and legislative agenda. MyGov also allows users to access government services online and track their application status. Since its launch, MyGov has registered over 4.5 million users in South Africa, making it one of the country’s most popular social networks. In Kenya, the government also developed an online engagement platform called Mabanga to promote open communication and collaboration among citizens and government officials. The Mabanga platform can be used to report issues such as poor road conditions and uncollected garbage, to connect with local health care providers to receive guidance on how to manage a chronic condition, and to find nearby educational resources. Mabanga has been used by over 2 million people since its launch in 2015.

Technology for Economic Development

In Ethiopia, the government launched a program to provide cheap mobile data and internet access to citizens residing in rural areas. The initiative, known as Digital Towns, aims to bridge the digital divide by providing digital access to people in rural areas who have limited or no access to the internet. Digital Towns has connected over 80,000 people to the internet, and has created more than 12,000 jobs across the country. In Nigeria, the government is working with innovation hubs and incubators such as Co-Creation Hub, iROKOtv, and HiveColab to foster the growth of the nation’s technology sector. The hubs provide funding, resources, and mentorship to technology startups and entrepreneurs to help them take their ideas to the next level. They also provide training for individuals to become developers and engage in blockchain and artificial intelligence initiatives.

Technology for Social Development

In Nigeria, the government is partnering with telecommunications companies to provide free access to the internet in public places, such as parks and libraries. The initiative, known as the Free Internet for All program, also allows low-income individuals to obtain free internet access through a government-subsidized internet subscription. In South Africa, the government is working with the telecom sector to collaborate on initiatives such as the rollout of the National Health Insurance Fund, an integrated health care system that will provide free access to public health care services.

Challenges for African Governments in Adopting Technology

Governments are often slow to adopt new technologies, and many African governments have limited financial and technical resources to invest in new technologies. In addition, many governments are not equipped with the right talent to effectively implement new technologies, or to determine how technology can be used to improve governance and serve the needs of citizens. Furthermore, governments must ensure that they are prioritizing the use of technology to benefit their citizens, instead of adopting new technologies to strengthen their own operations. By investing in new technologies, African governments have the potential to create fairer systems of governance, and to provide all citizens with equal access to essential public services.


Technology has transformed the way people interact and do business, and the next generation of tools will have even more impact. African governments must take advantage of new technologies to create a more connected society, one that is more equitable and prosperous for all citizens. By incorporating new technologies into their policies and strategies, African governments have the potential to promote economic growth, strengthen government-citizen relations, and create a more connected society.


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