04-801-D3   IT Innovation and Business in Africa

Location: Africa

Units: 6

Semester Offered: Spring

Course description

Africa is often called the global economy’s last frontier. Although Africa remains by far the poorest continent, in recent years several African countries have enjoyed sustained political stability and economic growth. Information technology (IT) is playing a significant role in the development of these economies. This course will explore the underpinnings and prospects for the future of IT and its applications in sub-Saharan Africa. Focusing on the most recent literature and reports on economic and technology development in Africa, the aim will be to understand the critical factors that will determine how technology will develop in Africa and what business models are likely to succeed in creating economically viable IT enterprises in this rapidly changing part of the world. Student assignments will include readings, presentations, and projects on selected topics of relevance to the course goals and objectives. The course is intended for graduate students familiar with information technology and its current applications who are interested in Africa as a prospective place of employment and entrepreneurship in IT and its applications.

Learning objectives

This course aims to provide students with an understanding of the current context and future prospects for IT enterprises in Africa. Students will also be introduced to resources for ongoing learning about the opportunities and challenges in Africa’s rapidly evolving markets. Students will learn strategies for developing and adapting technologies and enterprises that will be relevant and sustainable in sub-Saharan Africa.


After completing this course, students should be able to:

  • Identify and articulate the fundamental issues and trends influencing the future prospects for IT enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Perform research to assess opportunities and challenges for IT enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Create strategies for assessing the relevance and sustainability of IT initiatives in emerging markets in sub-Saharan Africa

Content details

  • Week 1: Financial, economic, and social overview - Bézy
  • Week 2: Critical infrastructures for IT enterprises - Krogh
  • Week 3: Applications of IT in critical sectors - Krogh
  • Week 4: Business models for IT enterprises - Bézy
  • Week 5: Challenges for IT enterprises - Bézy
  • Week 6: Strategies for establishing relevance and sustainability - Krogh
  • Week 7: Student project presentations

There will be two two-hour sessions each week. In general, the first session will be a lecture on the topic for the week and the second session will be devoted to student-led discussions on readings for the week.

Student assessment

  • Class participation: 10%
  • Leading reading discussion: 10%
  • Written responses for readings: 30%
  • Project:
    • Proposal: 5%
    • Literature review: 10%
    • Detailed outline: 5%
    • Presentation: 10%
    • Final report: 20%
  • Total: 100%


Graduate standing in CIT