Digitisation and Population Surveillance after Covid-19

ROAPE is hosting a webinar which is being jointly organised with Third World Network-Africa on the long-term implications of increasing digitisation and population surveillance in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The panel is part of a series that ROAPE and TWN have been organising, aimed at bringing more radical analysis to the long-term consequences of the pandemic on social, economic and political life in African countries.

This panel will focus on the long-term consequences of increasing levels of digitised cash transfers, digitised cash payment systems and digital health tracking. We are asking several interrelated questions about what kinds of new ‘visibility’ are being created in this moment of crisis. Are poorer members of society likely to become more visible? How is risk being understood and addressed? Do these new infrastructures better equip societies to address systematic forms of health and economic vulnerability and exclusion? How is the push for digital solutions injecting new actors into existing social policy and industrial policy debates? And what does this moment of crisis reveal about the relationship between ‘disintermediated’ tech solutions and state power?

Our panellist will be:

Anita Gurumurthy is a founding member and executive director of IT for Change, where she leads research collaborations and projects in relation to the network society, with a focus on democracy and gender justice.

Nanjira Sambuli is a researcher, policy analyst and advocacy strategist working on understanding the unfolding impacts of ICT adoption and how those impact power, media and culture, with a keen focus on gender implications.

Jìmí O. Adésínà is Professor and Chair in Social Policy at the University of South Africa. He has published widely on labour, development studies and social theory and is a member of ROAPE.

The webinar will be chaired by Yao Graham of TWN and take place on 15 July at 1 pm Ghana, 3 pm South Africa, 4 pm Kenya and 6:30 pm India (and 2 pm London). If you would like to attend please email website.editor@roape.net from Monday 13 July for the log-in details.


  1. The role of new forms of IT in the contemporary world is becoming ever more important. I hope that the discussion will consider the contradictory potential of these new forms of IT, both for popular emancipation and improved well-being, but also for increased state control. As with ALL new technologies, it is how they are used and who has control over their use – and their production and management – that matters. As always, its a matter of struggle.


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