Intercultural Information Ethics and the Digitalization of Africa

Ms. Laura Schelenz, M.A.

The lecture on “Intercultural Information Ethics and the Digitalization of Africa”, brought by both the SDAC program and the FAU Gender and Diversity Office, took place on November 14th, 2018 at the International Consortium for Research in the Humanities (IKGF). The lecture was given by Ms. Laura Schelenz M.A, who is a research associate in the project “Ethical Implications of ICT Export to Sub-Saharan Africa (ELISA)” at the International Centre for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities (IZEW) at Tübingen University.

Sub-Saharan Africa still has the lowest level of internet connectivity worldwide. However, in recent years, multinational IT corporations from Western countries and China have invested in IT-Infrastructure in Africa.  These initiatives are not only driven by the idea of bridging the so-called “digital divide” between the Global North and the Global South in terms of access to Information and Communication Technologies. Some critics regard these digitalization initiatives as a new form of colonialization under the guise of development aid. In her presentation, Ms. Schelenz provided the audience with a critical and balanced evaluation of the ethical implications of IT-exports to African countries. The lecture was very well perceived by students and faculty members and concluded with a lively discussion on how digital technologies can influence economic and political decision-making processes.

The SDAC Lecture Series provides insight on decision-making practices from experts and scholars from different fields of study. The topic of the next public SDAC Lecture is “Decision-Making and Justice”. Mr. Armin, who is a Ph.D. Candidate from Hamburg University will analyze the relationship between Islam and the law of nations on December 5th (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm) in the seminar room of the IKGF.

Press release and photos by Sven Grundmann, M.A.