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Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa



CODESRIA Democratic Governance Institute (Session 2015): Topic: Cybersecurity, Sovereignty and Democratic Governance in Africa

Deadline: 30th April 2015

Topic: Cybersecurity, Sovereignty and Democratic Governance in Africa
Date: 27 July – 7 August 2015
Venue: Dakar, Senegal

Call for applications: Session 2015

The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) is pleased to announce the 2015 session of its annual Democratic Governance Institute. It therefore invites researchers to submit their applications for participation in this Institute to be held from 27th July to 7th August, 2015 in Dakar, Senegal.

The Democratic Governance Institute, launched in 1992 by CODESRIA, is an interdisciplinary forum which every year brings together about fifteen researchers from various parts of the continent and the Diaspora, as well as some non-African scholars who are undertaking innovative research on topics related to the general theme of governance.


The sessions are led by a scientific director who, with the support of the selected resource persons, ensures that the laureates are exposed to a wide range of research and policy issues. Each laureate is required to prepare a research paper to be presented during the session. The revised versions of such papers will undergo a peer review for publication by CODESRIA. The CODESRIA Documentation and Information Centre (CODICE) will provide participants with a comprehensive bibliography on the theme of the Institute. Access to a number of documentation centers in and around Dakar will also be also facilitated.


The CODESRIA Democratic Governance Institute will be held in French and in English through simultaneous translation.

Cybersecurity, Sovereignty and Democratic Governance in Africa

Cybersecurity is the emerging face of security in both the information society and the knowledge economy. As such, it sheds light on one of the major phenomena in the digital age, which is our strong dependence on information systems in our lifestyles, living conditions and security. Cybersecurity is a phenomenon tied closely to the rapid expansion of information and communication technologies and the blurring lines between the public and private spheres. It has taken global proportions and occurs across the world such that no society, organisation and individual can disregard it. This need for security is inherent in cyberspace, this environment for communication formed thanks to the global interconnectivity of digital data processing equipment. But apart from its technological component, cybersecurity also dovetails permanently with our reality, both in its material and virtual forms.

Today, cybersecurity places us before a huge challenge that analysts have termed “the horsemen of the apocalypse” in the digital era: cybercrime, cyber terrorism, cyber fraud, cyberattacks and cyber warfare. These cyber threats do not only constitute challenges to humanity and its governance mechanisms, but they also show us beyond doubt that our policies, institutions, infrastructure and our defence and security systems are all fragile in nature. Those who use these threats can continue their malicious pursuits for spying, destabilizing people and organisations, perpetrating sabotage or destroying information systems, and provoking fear psychosis. Fortunately though, cybersecurity resonates also with our legitimate needs for protection when we use information and communication technologies to explore, learn, communicate, play or do business. This year, 2015, kicked off with news of cyberattacks and acts of terrorism perpetrated with information and communication technologies, thereby highlighting the shortcomings and weaknesses of security governance systems.

In this environment of growing insecurity, the digital divide is widening to Africa’s detriment and getting trivialized in the same way as poverty. The continent is still not enjoying all the dividends of digital technology, yet it suffers all the disadvantages more than any other. As consumers and not producers of technology and content, some African countries and organisations are excluded from the information society that is supposed to be inclusive, and they participate only marginally in the knowledge economy.

It comes therefore as no surprise that Africa is experiencing a dearth of adequate solutions for its cybersecurity needs, this places a considerable part of the continent in what is termed criminal havens or cybercrime zones. However, although Africa is lagging behind in technology, efforts are being made to pave new inroads to the digital world, as well as to define an intervention framework for all stakeholders. It is in this respect that a Convention on Cybercrime and the protection of personal data was adopted on 27 June 2014 in Malabo.

Without disputing the utility and need for a legal framework in this area, more has to be done to complement this instrument with strategic thinking and forward planning so that it comes into force (after fifteen States parties have signed it) and is operationalized effectively, efficiently and sustainably.

What is the state of governance in Africa in the face of cybersecurity requirements? How do cyberattacks affect the digital sovereignty of African organisations, whether these operate in the public, private or social spheres? Is Africa in a position to develop the capacity for response and resilience to cyber threats? Does Africa have the resources to frame its own vision of cybersecurity and sustain the tenets of said vision in cyberspace?

All these questions are going to be addressed by the participants in the 2015 session of CODESRIA’s Governance Institute, which shall dwell on: “Cybersecurity, Sovereignty and Governance in Africa”.

The overall goal of the 2015 session is to anticipate and analyse governance trends in the face of Africa’s cybersecurity and sovereignty issues and challenges.

To do so, the 2015 session will offer a space for dialogue conducive to the creation of an African research network that can pave the way for the emergence of African responses to the challenges posed by cybersecurity. The session will accordingly pursue several specific objectives, including:

  • To identify the barriers to digital sovereignty by securing the digital and technological sovereignty of States, individuals and organisations (economic dependence, lack of national initiatives, lack of national infrastructure…),and by proposing ways and means to achieve this digital sovereignty;
  • To raise awareness onthe need to preserve fundamental rights and civil liberties especially by protecting personal data (defining an appropriate legal framework, promoting social and State-run initiatives to achieve this…);
  • To propose the areas where Africa needs to refine its cyber legislation (freedom of speech, intellectual property, child protection and security…) so as to deepen trust in the information society.

The 2015 Governance Institute will cover a wide range of topics under these five areas:

1. The state of the art and popular beliefs on cybersecurity in Africa

  • The conceptual universe: the concept of cybersecurity and neighbouring and related concepts (cyber terrorism, cyberattacks, cybercrime, cyber warfare, cyber threats, etc.);
  • African frames of reference on cybersecurity;
  • The state of cybersecurity governance (policies and strategies; economic and financial; social and cultural; technological, environmental and legal);
  • Digital sovereignty and cybersecurity;
  • Cybersecurity and control of trans-boundary flows;
  • Cybersecurity and tourism;
  • The economics of cybersecurity;
  • The culture of cybersecurity in social settings (schools, associations, families, etc.);
  • Cybersecurity and traceability in social networks.

2. Transformations and innovations in Cybersecurity

  • Cybersecurity and emerging technologies;
  • Cybersecurity and critical infrastructure;
  • Cybersecurity and the protection of digital identity;
  • Cybersecurity and the protection of personal data;
  • Cybersecurity and civil liberties;
  • Cybersecurity and the protection of users of social networking sites;
  • Cybersecurity and technological risks;
  • Cyber terrorism and social networks;
  • Cybersecurity and e-governance;
  • Cybersecurity and e-commerce.

3. Future scenarios on Cybersecurity in Africa

  • Cybersecurity and passive governance;
  • Cybersecurity and reactive governance;
  • Cybersecurity and preactive governance;
  • Cybersecurity and proactive governance.

4. Stakeholders in the Cybersecurity ecosystem

  • State actors (States, public structures);
  • Private sector actors (hardware manufacturers, content producers, dealers, payment institutions, money transfer outlets, etc.);
  • Civil society actors (individuals, associations, networks, schools, universities, faith-based groups, opinion leaders, etc.);
  • CERTs (computer emergency response teams) and cybersecurity taskforces;
  • Certification and standardization authorities;
  • Legal provisions on cybercrime;
  • Law enforcement and security officers dealing with cybercrime;
  • Media and treatment of cybersecurity;
  • Cyber regulation and cybersecurity authorities;
  • International cooperation on cybersecurity;
  • Cybersecurity and work conditions and relations.

5. Towards an African vision of Cybersecurity governance

  • African vision statement on cybersecurity governance;
  • The ethical grounds for promoting cybersecurity in Africa;
  • The strategic goals for promoting cybersecurity;
  • Africa’s contribution to the fight against cyber crime;
  • Africa’s contribution to the fight against cyber terrorism;
  • Establishing a research network on cybersecurity and governance in Africa.

The Director

Professor Abdoullah Cissé, expert on cyberlaw and cybersecurity, will lead the 2015 session of the Governance Institute. As the Director of the Institute, he will carry out the following tasks:

  • Participate in the selection of laureates and the identification of appropriate resource persons;
  • Interact with resource persons and laureates towards adequate preparation for the Institute;
  • Design the courses for the session, including the specification of sub-themes;
  • Deliver a set of lectures and conduct a critical analysis of the papers presented by resource persons and laureates;
  • Submit a written scientific report on the session;
  • The Director will edit the revised versions of the papers presented by the resource persons with a view to submitting them for publication in one of CODESRIA’s collections. He will also assist CODESRIA in assessing the papers presented by laureates during the Institute for publication.

Resource Persons

Lectures to be delivered during the session are intended to offer laureates an opportunity to advance their reflections on the theme of the Institute. Resource persons should therefore be senior scholars or researchers who have published extensively on the theme, and who have significant contributions to make to the debates on it. They will be expected to produce lecture materials which would stimulate laureates to engage in discussion and debate around their respective lectures and the general body of literature available on the theme.
Once selected, resource persons must:

  • Interact with the Director of the Institute and the laureates to help the latter readjust their research questions and their methodological approaches;
  • Submit a copy of their course materials for reproduction and distribution to participants no later than one week before they deliver their lectures;
  • Deliver their lectures, participate in debates and comment on the research proposals and the papers of the laureates;
  • Review and submit the revised version of their lecture notes or research papers for publication by CODESRIA not later than two months following their presentation at the Institute.


Applicants should be PhD candidates or scholars in their early career with a proven capacity to conduct research on the theme of the Institute. Intellectuals active in the policy process and/or social movements and civil society organizations are also encouraged to apply. The number of places offered by CODESRIA at each session is limited to fifteen (15). Non-African scholars who are able to raise funds for their participation may also apply for a limited number of places.

Application for resource persons

Applications for the position of resource person should include:
1. An application letter;
2. A curriculum vitae;
3. Two (2) published papers
4. A proposal of not more than five (5) pages in length, outlining the issues to be covered in their three (3) proposed lectures, including one on methodological issues.

Applications for laureates

Applications for the position of laureate should include:
1. One duly completed application form;
2. An application letter;
3. A letter indicating institutional or organizational affiliation;
4. A curriculum vitae;
5. A research proposal not more than ten (10) pages including a descriptive analysis of the work the applicant intends to undertake, an outline of the theoretical interest of the topic chosen by the applicant, the relationship of the topic to the problematic and concerns of the theme of the 2015 Institute ;
6. Two (2) reference letters from scholars or researchers known for their competence and expertise in the candidate’s research area (geographic and disciplinary), including their names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses;
7. A copy of the passport.

Applications Deadline

The deadline for the submission of applications is 30th April, 2015. Selected applicants will be notified in the last week of May 2015. Laureates are expected to use the month of June to carry out their fieldwork or collect information to prepare a draft research paper to be presented during the Institute. This draft research paper should be submitted to CODESRIA not later than 15th July, 2015. Laureates will be expected to work on this document (and not on the abstract of the proposal) and prepare it for publication during the Institute.

Submission of Applications

All applications or requests for additional information should be sent electronically to: governance.institute@codesria.sn.

For specific questions, please contact:

Avenue Cheikh Anta Diop x Canal IV
BP 3304, CP 18524, Dakar, Senegal
Tel.: (221) 33 825 98 21/22/23
Fax: (221) 33 824 12 89
Email: governance.institute@codesria.sn
Website: https://codesria.org/

Application Form

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