Type: Public event

Digital Development: Governance, the State, and Information Technology in East Africa

Professor Warigia Bowman, University of Arkansas

Date & time

Mar 19, 2018, 4:00-5:30 pm EDT


Weill Hall, Betty Ford Classroom
735 S. State Street Ann Arbor, MI 48109-3091

In this talk, Professor Warigia Bowman examines the policymaking and implementation processes for information and communication technologies (“ICT”) in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda from 1990 to 2015.  The efforts to write ICT policies in four East African nations have brought to the fore issues of modernization and distribution in each nation. These efforts have forced researchers in the ICT arena to pay attention to issues of agenda setting, interest group interaction and negotiation between the government and other policy actors. The actors and stakeholders include local as well as international participants.  This policy process has engaged governments, domestic civil society, multilateral organizations, donors, indigenous private sector organizations as well as multinationals in dialogue as well as conflict.

The central purpose of this talk is to consider the nature of changing East African politics in relation to an important and dramatic technological change. This research examines three important areas relevant to policy, political economy and science and technology studies: first, how have matters of political and economic liberalization, including new markets and innovation affected ICT diffusion? Second, how have key ICT related technologies, including hardware, and human resources been diffused in East Africa. Finally, this book considers how policies related to ICTs were promoted, developed and implemented, considering issues of networking, organizational innovation, and institutional practices along the way. Given that the period of 1990 to 2015 has been a period of significant change in these four countries, both politically and technologically, this time frame represents a key period for examination developments in this emerging policy sector. Because of the recent nature of this sector, studying ICT in East Africa provides an unusual opportunity to examine a discrete policy area from its emergence through its institutional stabilization.

About the speaker

Dr. Warigia M. Bowman is an Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service where she teaches Field Research Methods and Theory and Practice of Global Development. Previously, she served as Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the University of Mississippi and Visiting Assistant Professor at American University in Cairo, Egypt. Bowman earned her doctorate from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University where she was the Hauser Fellow for Nonprofit Management and the Oppenheimer Scholar for African Studies. Bowman holds two degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. She earned her master’s degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and her Juris Doctor from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. She holds an undergraduate degree in history from Columbia College of Columbia University in New York, where she was the Harry S. Truman Scholar for Public Service. Bowman brings significant international experience to the Clinton School. She is currently working on a book manuscript about the role of the state in diffusing information technology in four different nations in East Africa: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda. In 2013, she served as an accredited elections observer for the Kenyan General Election. She has consulted for several African NGOs, including the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis, the African Technology Policy Studies Network, the New Economic Partnership for African Development, and the United Nations. Her articles have been published in The Journal of Modern African Studies, The Innovation Journal, and The William and Mary Policy Review. From a domestic standpoint, Bowman also has an array of public sector experience at the federal, state, and local levels. Before becoming an academic, Bowman served as an honors trial attorney in the environmental division of the U.S. Department of Justice during the Clinton Administration and as a briefing attorney for the Texas Supreme Court. She currently serves as associate faculty at the UA Little Rock Institute for Race and Ethnicity. In addition, in 2016 she was named the Chair of the Arkansas State Advisory Committee for the United States Civil Rights Commission. She has been an invited lecturer at the University of Washington, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the National Intelligence University.


This event is hosted by the Science, Technology, and Public Policy program, and is co-sponsored by the African Studies Center and the Program in International and Comparative Studies.