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Research project

Negotiating Africa’s digital partnerships is a 2-year policy research project that will examine the politics of Africa’s relations with rising partners among which China in the digital economy with a view to generating valuable empirical insights and informing academics and policymakers.

The project is led by the Blavatnik School of Government at University of Oxford (UK) with financial support from the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) (Canada). Partnerships will be established with Africa-based research centers. 

Negotiating in a context of global rivalry

The project aims to look specifically at how African governmental actors negotiate and manage partnerships in the digital sector with new and rising partners (digital connectivity, infrastructure, positions on digital governance in multilateral organisations, establishing digital norms domestically and regionally) in a context of great power rivalries especially US-China rivalry.

Project objectives

The research will center on African actors, and their variable interests, shedding valuable insights into these digital partnerships from the vantage point of African governments. It will build on scholarship on negotiation, bureaucratic politics and governance studies and the study of (African) agency in global affairs. The project aims to connect extensively with senior African policymakers and ministers in charge of building and maintaining these strategic partnerships both in francophone and anglophone Africa and will act as an incubator to develop sound policies to strengthen their negotiation capacities and strategies of engagement with rising partners in the digital sector.


An interview series led by Dr Folashade Soule with African senior policymakers, ministers, private and civic actors aims to shed a light on how African actors build, negotiate and manage strategic partnerships in the digital sector in a context of geopolitical rivalry.

Policy brief

Navigating Africa’s digital partnerships in a context of global rivalry,
Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI),
Policy brief n°180,
October 2023
Download the policy brief at CIGI


Rivalités géopolitiques et partenariats numériques en Afrique. Stratégies d’adaptation et défis
Etudes de l’IFRI
December 2023
Download the report at IFRI

Project team

Folashadé Soulé, Blavatnik School of Government, Principal Investigator

Emily Jones, Blavatnik School of Government, Principal Investigator

Leslie Mills, Research Assistant


Interview series