A new junior fellows policy brief issued by The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) recommends that international donors support the development of information and communication technology (ICT) in Libya.

In Furthering Democracy in Libya with Information Technology: Opportunities for the International Donor Community, CIGI Junior Fellows Chris Jones, Sharon Kennedy, Siobhan Kerr, Joseph Mitchell and Daniel Safayeni argue that civilian use of ICT could further Libya’s democratic political transformation that began with the Arab Spring. More specifically, ICT could supplement the achievements made so far by “making more information available online, increasing online services and expanding avenues for participation in democracy and civic affairs that would otherwise be limited by factors such as the geographic distance between communities, inadequate information and cultural hierarchies.”

Unlike the monopolized environment under Colonel Gaddafi prior to the Arab Spring, Libya is now in a position to liberalize its media regulatory landscape and further utilize the Internet’s pro-democratic capabilities. To do this Libya will have to expand its broadband access currently pursued by the National Transition Council’s “e-Libya” or “e-government” initiative.

The international donor community can have a role to play in supporting Libya’s ICT development and “e-government” through the following measures:

  • Partnering  with local NGOs to implement an SMS election monitoring campaign for the upcoming elections;
  • Co-funding the purchase of low-cost computers and software to facilitate the integration of ICT training into the national curriculum;
  • Providing technical assistance to assess the current e-government system and identify opportunities to improve online services. Support the expansion of existing ICT training programs among government employees and civil servants

To read more on how the international community can support Libya’s democratic process through ICT, please click here to download a copy of Furthering Democracy in Libya with Information Technology: Opportunities for the International Donor Community. The CIGI Junior Fellows Policy Brief Series highlights the work of Master’s level students from the Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA). The junior fellowship program based at the BSIA provides mentorship opportunities from CIGI’s senior scholars and policy researchers. Students are offered research assistantships, policy brief writing workshops, interactive learning sessions and publication opportunities.

About the Authors:

Chris Jones graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2011 with a B.A. in political science and business. He has recently completed the Wilfrid Laurier University Master’s program in International Public Policy based at the BSIA, focusing on international economics and financial regulation.

Sharon Kennedy is currently completing the University of Waterloo M.A. program in Global Governance based at the BSIA. Her research interests include the informal economy, population dynamics, and pro-poor growth. She also works for the Youth Employment Network, which is a project of the ILO that provides research and technical assistance on youth employment issues.

Siobhan Kerr recently completed the Wilfrid Laurier University Master’s program in International Public Policy based at the BSIA, with a focus on international economic relations and environmental policy. Prior to that, she graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Political Science and English Language and Literature.

Joseph Mitchell recently completed the University of Waterloo M.A. program in Global Governance based at the BSIA. He also has law degrees from the Universities of Oxford and London. He has worked in various fields including activism, politics and media. Most recently he worked as a communications strategist for the UK Government. He hopes to continue to work with digital technology to increase openness and democratic accountability in global governance.

Daniel Safayeni graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with an B.B.A. (Honours) and a minor in political science. He has recently completed the Wilfrid Laurier University Master’s program in International Public Policy, concentrating in international political economy and environmental economics. Daniel is working towards a career in foreign policy with a particular focus on the Middle East.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Kevin Dias, Communications Specialist, CIGI
Tel: 519.885.2444, ext. 7238, Email: [email protected]

The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is an independent, non-partisan think tank on international governance. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements. Conducting an active agenda of research, events and publications, CIGI’s interdisciplinary work includes collaboration with policy, business and academic communities around the world. CIGI was founded in 2001 by Jim Balsillie, then co-CEO of Research In Motion, and collaborates with and gratefully acknowledges support from a number of strategic partners, in particular the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. For more information, please visit www.cigionline.org.

The Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA) was launched in 2007 to offer graduate programs in global governance and international public policy. The Balsillie School is a collaborative initiative of The Centre for International Governance Innovation, the University of Waterloo (UW), and Wilfrid Laurier University (Laurier). With over 60 affiliated faculty teaching in the three programs, the Balsillie School will build on the current programming of the PhD in Global Governance (joint UW/Laurier), the MA in Global Governance (UW), and the Master’s in International Public Policy (Laurier). For more information please visit www.balsillieschool.ca.

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The opinions expressed in this article/multimedia are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of CIGI or its Board of Directors.