Ownership Structures and Managerial Challenges in the African Media and Telecommunications Sectors

8-9 November 2018, University of Neuchâtel, Enterprise Institute


The second conference on media development and sustainability was part of a project conducted in collaboration with the University of St. Gallen and funded by the Swiss Network for International Studies

Building on the first conference on media development and sustainability that took place in 2015, this 2nd edition of the conference addressed media development by focusing on the enabling technologies such as telecommunications and Internet access.

The conference aimed at investigating the impact of varying foreign ownership structures and managerial practices on (a) media and telecommunications policies, and (b) democratic and economic development in African countries.

Free and independent information media are fundamental for both the economic and democratic development of societies. However, how can free and independent information be ensured? Media are being shaped by internet-based and mobile communications technologies, which allow a dramatic reduction of content production and distribution costs. On one hand, this helps media outlets to overcome financial constraints, develop and thus improve access to information, on the other hand, internet service providers and mobile operators have become the true gatekeepers of information.

Considering the importance of of the free flow of information for democracy but also for economic development, through the conference we seeked to understand how and under which conditions foreign investors can contribute to the African telecommunication sector as well as to media and telecom policies, beyond the mere financing of communication infrastructure. Further, we aimed at shedding light on how foreign investment can help to achieve the related UN sustainable development goals, thus contribute to the democratic and economic development of the African continent.

In order to advance research in the field but also to stimulate a constructive dialogue between practitioners and academics, this conference dedicated one day to an academic workshop & one day to professional contributions. Prominent academic researchers, professionals, journalists and representatives of nongovernmental organizations coming from Africa and other parts of the world gathered and discussed the topic in different panels.

This conference was further sponsored by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the University of Neuchâtel


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