The diffusion of digital information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the Global South is proceeding at a high speed. The development in sub-Saharan Africa is particularly dynamic, where more and more people have access to ICTs, with smart phones being on the increase. However, so far the main body of research on the impact of ICT use has been conducted in western or industrialized nations, such as the USA, European or East Asian countries. The theoretical approaches, which were developed in a western setting to describe and explain digital media use and effects, cannot be easily applied to the specific economic, political and social conditions in sub-Saharan Africa.
With a range of projects, the research initiative „Digital Africa“ aims to make a contribution to the closure of the research gap, by drawing a comprehensive picture of the usage of ICTs by sub-Saharan African citizens. For this purpose several projects, applying both quantitative and qualitative methods, have been carried out or are currently running or projected. The aim is not only to gain insight into the media usage in this region, but also to enhance the theoretical knowledge of the potential of ICTs for society and of the factors influencing the use of digital media in general.