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.