Technology transformation and changing demographic patterns: perspectives for Africa

SOURCE: International Journal of African Renaissance Studies
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2017
TITLE AUTHOR(S): S.S.Mutanga
KEYWORDS: AFRICA, DEMOCRACY, ELECTIONS, INNOVATION, TECHNOLOGY, TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER
DEPARTMENT: African Institute of South Africa (AISA)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 9883

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Abstract

The last decade of the 21st century has so far seen many important elections on the African continent. These elections offer windows for the development of democracy and freedom throughout the continent. The same period has been characterised by a burgeoning population, estimated to be over one billion. The rapid growth in population has fuelled a quick growth in the number of eligible voters. Around the same period, another increase has been under way: evolving new technology penetration in electoral management systems. The introduction of innovative technologies into the electoral management systems (prior, during and post-election) has raised both interest and concerns. This review article provides insights into, and a critique of the role of emerging technologies in Africa's electoral managements systems. The article taps on some of the best practices of modern technology applications in the electoral process. Some of the areas of focus in this article include constituency delimitation, political party registration, voter registration, voting operations and stakeholder engagements. The discussion denotes a rising recognition and use of new technologies in these areas to improve efficiency, ensure credibility of democratic processes and reliability of election results. The literature engages with a mixture of successes and failures, improvements and challenges, innovations and obstacles in the context of country specific electoral systems technological applications.