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Call for Proposals: Regulation of Digital Platforms in sub-Saharan Africa

05 April 2022

Due to unforeseen changes in the project schedule, the dates for the multi-stakeholder dialogue and the times and criteria for the application and selection process have changed. Please find details below.

As part of the Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Global Digital Transformation (SET) research, the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) will commission a study to identify challenges and potential solutions of (de)regulation in order to enable a socially just gig economy. The initial perspective on digital platform regulation is broad, potentially covering areas of labour, e-commerce and innovation, and including aspects of market power regulation, workers’ rights or copyright protection. However, the authors may specify the focus of the study in light of the availability of materials and after having received input from a research sprint, that will take place until mid July.

About the Project 

Funded by the Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Global Digital Transformation (SET) research project has the goal of addressing issues relating to digitalisation, particularly in the Global South. With a focus on the topics of entrepreneurship, platform regulation, and the use of digitalisation for climate resiliency, the project works closely with local stakeholders to build application-oriented expertise and to create an international knowledge community.

About the Study 

Specifically, the study should provide an overview of existing policies and literature on different regulatory approaches to digital platforms in sub-Saharan Africa, with a local focus on Kenya. On this basis, the role that stakeholders from the respective countries play in academic studies and policy initiatives should be identified, as well as the particular challenges for digital platform regulation that sub-Saharan countries are facing. 

It is intended that the study will be initiated by a six-week research sprint aimed at facilitating applied research on current societal challenges in an international and interdisciplinary setting. The research sprint will be facilitated by the HIIG. Following the research sprint, the authors of the study are invited to present their preliminary findings at the stakeholder dialogue in Kenya. Responses and discussions from the dialogue should be integrated into the study, also highlighting the decisive elements of regional best-practices as guidelines for future regulatory approaches in the platform economy in Kenya and sub-Saharan Africa. 

The Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) kindly requests the submission of a proposal for an academic study with the following goals and objectives:

  • Identify the literature (both academic and policy-related) that assesses digital platform regulation (e.g., with regard to market power concentration, workers’ rights, copyright protection), with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa; 
  • Identify policy initiatives on digital platform regulation (e.g., with regard to market power concentration, workers’ rights, copyright protection) in sub-Saharan Africa; 
  • Investigate the role of stakeholders from respective countries in sub-Saharan Africa in academic studies and policy initiatives – to what extent have these efforts been driven by local researchers and policy makers? 
  • Summarise the review of literature and policy initiatives in terms of countries and regulatory areas (e.g., with regard to market power concentration, workers’ rights, copyright protection);
  • Guide one of the teams during the six-week research sprint in their explorative research. The results can be integrated in the study. Additional effort and time investment in the research sprint can be compensated.  
  • Present scope and design of the study at a multi-stakeholder dialogue in Kenya in July 2022 (onsite or online, travel grants are available); 
  • Incorporate the feedback from the multi-stakeholder dialogue into the further refinement of the study, with particular consideration of the following two questions: 
    • What are the specific challenges for digital platform regulation in the context of countries in sub-Saharan Africa?
    • Using existing literature or policy intervention as examples, what could be done to improve digital platform regulation/ what are best practices? 
  • Write a blogpost summarising the results for the HIIG’s Digital Society Blog

Eligibility and Requirements

Interested applicants must meet the following criteria: 

  • Appropriate academic qualifications
  • Excellent writing skills as evidenced by publications in academic journals 
  • Proven experience in the field of platform regulation 
  • Familiarity with the local context (ideally experience with conducting research in East Africa) 
  • Proficiency in the English language
  • Ability to attend the multi-stakeholder dialogue in Kenya in October 2022 (exact date to be confirmed)  

General Information 

  • Budget: EUR 16,000 (gross) + possible additional compensation depending on the involvement in the research sprint 
  • Scope of the study: maximum 15,000 words 
  • Timeframe for conducting the study: June to November 2022 
  • Mid-term report on the current state of research up to September 2022
  • Final feedback loop after editorial and academic review

 

All interested applicants are invited to submit their proposal (maximum two pages) and a short curriculum vitae with the form below by Sunday, 8 May 2022. For questions please contact Christian Grauvogel (christian.grauvogel@hiig.de). Applicants will be notified of the outcome of the selection process latest by mid May.

This post represents the view of the author and does not necessarily represent the view of the institute itself. For more information about the topics of these articles and associated research projects, please contact info@hiig.de.

Christian Grauvogel

Head of Dialogue & Knowledge Transfer | Project Coordinator SET

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