Ict Investment in Africa: A Comparative Study of Ethiopia and Kenya Using a Political Economy Approach

No Thumbnail Available



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Addis Ababa University


Investing in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is becoming an integral part of political economic development of African countries. Given opportunities it provided for the holistic development, studies have investigated the role of ICT in the political economic development of the continent and regarded it as a means to catch up the developed nations. On the other hand, ICT is presupposed to be an instrument of the capitalist nations and even marked as it aggravates neocolonialism. As a consequence, the aim of this study is to examine political economy of ICT investment in Africa, with the especial consideration to comparative study of Ethiopia and Kenya. By using critical realism theoretical framework as a lens, the present study assessed the political, ideological and policy consideration of the respective countries in order to invest in ICT. This study is mainly descriptive qualitative research while quantitative method is used as supplementary to show the trends of ICT development. At the same time as secondary sources are exhaustively used, the primary data were also collected by in-depth interviews particularly for the case of Ethiopia. The findings of the study show that understanding the opportunities provided by ICT, many of African countries have developed ICT policy to promote investment in the sector, however, the level of ICT development in these countries varies. In view of that, compared to Ethiopia, the Kenya’s ICT development is by far better. State ownership of Ethio telecom, implementation of policy instruments, challenges related to institutional capability and absence of participations by different stakeholders in the sector are mentioned as the main factor for the low status of ICT development in Ethiopia. Unlike Ethiopia, the success story of Kenya’s ICT development is attributed to the country’s ICT policies and implementation strategies that allow participation of different stakeholders such as civil society organizations and private companies. In conclusion, potentials and opportunities provided by ICT investment is well acknowledged by African countries, but policy instruments, political and ideology considerations are highlighted as an obstacle to advance the development of the sector and further exploit the opportunities.



Ict Investment