Araba Sey

Araba Sey

Research Assistant Professor
Senior Research Fellow, Research ICT Africa in Cape Town
(206) 685-3724

Araba Sey is a Principal Research Scientist at the University of Washington Information School, and a Research Fellow at the Ocean Nexus Center. She is also a Senior Research Fellow at Research ICT Africa in Cape Town. Her research examines the intersection of digital and social inequalities and explores ways to foster diversity and inclusion in the socio-economic, political, and scientific processes that feed digital development. Areas of interest include gender digital equality in global, regional, and national contexts; trends in the deployment of artificial intelligence for development in Africa; misinformation and disinformation in Africa; and approaches to democratizing knowledge creation through inclusive research design and decision-making processes. She has authored or co-authored books, journal articles and policy papers on the impacts of digital technologies on socio-economic development and gender equality. Recent publications include Taking stock: Gender equality in digital access, skills and leadership; Case studies on AI skills capacity-building and AI in workforce development in Africa and a contribution to the 2020 Government AI Readiness Index report. She is currently developing a training resource on inclusive marine decision-making for community organizations.

Research Areas

Impact Assessment
Information Technology in Developing Countries
Technology and Social Change


Ph D, University of California, Los Angeles, 2008
MA, University of Southern California, 2004
MSC, University of Stirling, 2000
Mphil, University of Ghana, 1999
BSC, University of Ghana, 1991
Coding Bootcamps: A Strategy for Youth Employment (2016)Authors: Maria Garrido, Araba Sey
There when you need it: The multiple dimensions of public access ICT uses and impacts (2015)Information Technology & International Development, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 71-86Authors: Araba Sey, F Bar, Christopher Coward, Lucas Koepke, Chris Rothschild, G Sciadas
The Impact of Public Access Venue Information and Communication Technologies in Botswana Public Libraries (2015)Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 64-84Authors: Angelina Totolo, Jaco Renken, Araba Sey
The Big Question: Have social media and/or smartphones disrupted life in your part of the world? (2014)World Policy Journal, vol. 31, pp. 3-8Authors: Sebastiu00e1n Valenzuela, Valgeir Valdimarsson, Nwachukwu Egbunike, Matthew Fraser, Araba Sey, Tohir Pallaev , Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Erkan Saka, Igor Lyubashenko
Connecting people for development: Why public access ICTs matter (2013)Authors: Araba Sey, Christopher Coward, George Sciadas, Chris Rothschild, Francois Bar , Lucas Koepke
Public libraries connecting people for development: Findings from the Global Impact Study (2013)Authors: Araba Sey, Christopher Coward, Chris Rothschild, Melody Clark, Lucas Koepke
The impact of public access to ICTs: Findings from a five-year, eight-country study (2013)Authors: Francois Bar, Christopher Coward, Lucas Koepke, Chris Rothschild, Araba Sey, George Sciadas
Global Impact Study surveys: Methodologies and implementation (2013)Authors: Araba Sey, Christopher Coward, Chris Rothschild, George Sciadas
Public access to ICTs: Sculpting the profile of users (2012)Authors: George Sciadas, Hil Lyons, Chris Rothschild, Araba Sey
Loose strands: Searching for evidence of the impacts of public access to information and communication technologies (2011)Authors: Araba Sey, M Fellow
“We use it different, different”: Making sense of trends in mobile phone use in Ghana (2011)New Media & SocietyAuthors: Araba Sey
From “the end user is the message” to “the interaction is the message”: Proposing mediated action as a framework for analyzing the role of ICTs in development (2010)Authors: Araba Sey, Maria Garrido
Open data and open tools: The Global Impact Study inventory and web application (2010)Authors: Chris Rothschild, Araba Sey, A Tulinsky
Acacia Research and Learning Forum narrative report (2010)Authors: Araba Sey, A. Martin
New media practices in Ghana (2010)International Journal of Communication, pp. 26Authors: Araba Sey
Exploring mobile phone sharing practices in Ghana (2009)info, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 66-78Authors: Araba Sey
From media politics to networked politics: The Internet and the political process (2008)Authors: Araba Sey, Manuel Castells
Mind the gap: Mobile phone adoption and appropriation in Ghana (2008)Authors: Araba Sey
Mind the gap: The shifting fortunes of small and micro-scale intermediaries in the Ghanaian mobile phone industry (2008)Authors: Araba Sey
Where did all the payphones go? Intermediaries, innovation and insecurity in the mobile phone industry (2008)Authors: Araba Sey
Mobile Payphone Systems in Africa: Developments, Uses and Implications (2007)Authors: Araba Sey
Mobile Phones in Rural and Urban Livelihoods: Why Connectivity Matters (2007)Authors: Araba Sey
Mobile Phones and the Pursuit of Sustainable Livelihoods: Why connectivity matters (2007)Authors: Araba Sey
What have mobile phones wrought? (2007)Authors: Araba Sey
Electronic Communication and Socio-Political Mobilisation: A New Form of Civil Society (2006)Authors: Manuel Castells, Mireia Fernandez-Ardevol, Jack Qiu, Araba Sey
Mobile Communication and Society: A Global Perspective (2006)Authors: Manuel Castells, Mireia Fernandez-Ardevol, Jack Qiu, Araba Sey
Mobile Payphone Systems in Africa: Developments, Uses and Implications (2006)Authors: Araba Sey
Designing ICT policy for development in Ghana: Balancing local and global objectives (2005)Authors: Araba Sey
Financing a public good: The evolution of television broadcasting in Ghana (2005)Authors: Araba Sey
Telecommunication systems in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire: An historical approach (2005)Authors: Araba Sey
All work and no play? Judging the uses of mobile technologies and ICTs in low and middle-income countries ()Information Technologies & International Development, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 1-17Authors: Araba Sey, Peppino Ortoleva

The role of Cultural Post Offices in the provision of public access technology services in Vietnam (2013)

Funder: Bill and Melinda Gates FoundationAmount: $500,000Collaborators: Araba Sey (Principal), Maria Garrido (Co-Principal)

iSchool Research Seed Funding (2013)

Collaborators: Araba Sey (Principal)

Exploratory Study on explanations and theories of how Telecentres and other community based eInclusion actors operate and have an impact on digital and social inclusion policy goals (2011)

Funder: European Union Delegation of the European Commission to the United StatesAmount: $33,205Collaborators: Maria Garrido (Principal), Araba Sey (Co-Principal)

Supplement to ICT and Public Access: Investigating the Social and Economic Impact of Public Access to Information and Communication Technologies (2009)

Funder: International Development Research CentreAmount: $4,065,008Collaborators: Christopher Coward (Principal), Beth Kolko (Co-Principal), Andrew Gordon (Co-Principal), Michael Crandall (Co-Principal)
ICTs and the Development Agenda (2015)
Summer School of Communication Law, Università della Svizzera italiana - Switzerland
All work and no play? ICTs and informal learning in low and middle income countries (2015)
Cross-Field doctoral school, Institute of Communication Technologies, Università della Svizzera italiana - Switzerland
ICTs and the Development Agenda (2015)
Invited lecture in the doctoral course, Topics in Internet & Society Interdisciplinary Studies, at the Politecnico di Torino, Doctoral School - Torino, Italy
All work and no play? (2015)
Seminar on Games becoming Serious, University of Torino, Italy - Torino, Italy
The Impact of Public Access to ICTs: Findings from a Five-Year, Eight-Country Study (2013)
ICTD 2013 Conference - Cape Town, South Africa
Mobile phones: Source of livelihood or livelihood resource? (2013)
Mobile Telephony in the Developing World Conference - Jyv?skyl?, Finland
Where did all the payphones go? Vulnerable employment in the mobile phone industry (2013)
Cell and Self Conference - Ann Arbor, MI
Do Public Access ICTs have an Impact on Socio-Economic Development? Findings of the Global Impact Study (2013)
Research Conversation, University of Washington Information School - Seattle, WA
Connectivity matters (2012)
TEDxYouth@Seattle - Seattle, WA
Literature Review of how Telecentres operate and have an Impact on eInclusion. Expert Workshop on Measuring the impact of eInclusion intermediaries (2012)
MIRIEA Project experts workshop, Joint Research Center of the European Commission - Seville, Spain
Want open research? Deep dive into the Global Impact Study (2012)
ICTD 2012 - Atlanta, GA
Want open research? Deep dive into the Global Impact Study surveys (2012)
ICTD 2012 - Atlanta, GA
A Critical Theory approach to social change research: Perspectives, Strategies, and why Information Technology matters (2011)
Social Tools for Social Change Seminar, Department of Communication, University of Washington - Seattle, WA
Dynamics of mobile phone appropriation in transnational migration: Preliminary observations on the experiences of migrants in Seattle, WA (2011)
Association for Internet Researchers Aoir12 - Seattle, WA
Public access ICTs: Uses and outcomes in the governance domain (2011)
ICT Days @ The World Bank 2011 - Washington, DC
From 'the end user is the message' to 'the interaction is the message': Proposing mediated action as a framework for analyzing the role of ICTs in development (2010)
Open development: Technological, organizational and social innovations transforming the developing world, IDRC - International Development Research Center - Ottawa, CA
Free Access to Computers and the Internet at Public Libraries: International Reflections on Outcomes & Methods (2009)
Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science & Technology (ASIST) - Vancouver, BC, Canada