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© 2015 The Author(s). This article explores whether, and to what extent, local knowledge features in research on the role of ICTs in statebuilding and peacebuilding in Africa, with a particular focus on neighboring Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia. We question whether the claims of the transformative power of ICTs are backed by ‘evidence’ and whether local knowledge – e.g., traditional mechanisms for conflict resolution – is taken into consideration by ICT-based development initiatives. To assess this, we systematically reviewed literature in the region, focusing on academic outputs as well as research published by non-governmental and governmental organizations. Several key findings emerged, including: 1) empirical evidence on the successful use of ICTs to promote peacebuilding and statebuilding is thin; 2) few differences exist between scholarship emanating from the Global North and from Africa; and 3) overall, the literature exhibits a simplistic assumption that ICTs will drive democratic development without sufficient consideration of how ICTs are actually used by the public.

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