With the rapid increase of ICT4D-related research, interfacing can enable or constrain lines of communication. As such academic researchers in Africa enjoy an important responsibility in directing the flows of novel research in ICT4D. Both Africanisation and the decolonial turn point to the importance of developing knowledge from African contexts. This can be interpreted as an extension of information that encapsulates relevance and context for the benefit of all its citizenry.

The development of local knowledge requires an understanding of the context in which ICT solutions are to be applied by incorporating the four dimensions of ICT (computing, connectivity, content and capacity). Researchers in Africa enjoy special opportunities for interfacing with a diverse range of perspectives and realities by engaging these four dimensions and closing related gaps in literature. Such research may develop into unique contributions that range from developing novel theoretical knowledge to trialling ICT innovations. In contrast, local researchers might also face severe constraints that mitigate against interfacing outside the dominant academic understanding of the Global North or the needs of “universal” software development and its users.

Interfacing with Digital Africa seeks to address how the work of computer science and information technology researchers interfaces with unique opportunities and challenges on the continent. It also aims to spotlight the gaps and challenges for our research community’s exploration of under-resourced settings and marginalised communities outside the defaults of “standard” computing and information technology environments.

Topical questions to address may include:
  1. What progress are software developers making in Southern Africa to interface with African contexts and users?
  2. How is computer science and information technology research responding to African realities more broadly?
  3. What are the gaps in African CS and IT research and what constraints do these suggest?
  4. How are African solutions for African problems meeting the world?
  5. What are the enablers and constraints that influence interface design for Africans?
  6. How are developers catering for previously neglected communities through custom interfaces and African language libraries?
  7. How might software development for marginalised, African communities be developed as sustainable projects?
  8. Among many African IT start-ups, could any grow into high performing technology companies like the FAANGs?
  9. How is African computer science and information technology research rebalancing “global” understandings developed in very different settings?
  10. How can transdisciplinary research contribute to understanding of IT and CS dynamics in African contexts?
  11. What are the underlying theories and philosophies of Africanisation in the technology domain?
  12. How can we ensure that women are better represented in African IT education, software development and research?
Please read our call for papers to learn about submitting your research contribution to SAICSIT2020.

Graphic design credits

Illustration and logo design by Janine Venter, sponsored by Create With. Graphics © 2020, Create With, Cape Town.