eCapacity Development. Rethinking the Linkages between Capacity Development and ICT Promotion in Ethiopia and Egypt.

Marton Kocsev

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Written from within a donor organisation, this thesis questions the professional myth of eCapacity Development. It uses the unique geographical and political access of a practitioner to dissect the notion of capacity development as well as question agendas of ICT promotion in Ethiopia and Egypt. Over the past decades, the notion of capacity development has gained the imagination of many researchers and practitioners alike. Both circles pursued an intuition that this notion could provide a practical lynchpin for reinventing development practice. However, there is a dearth of critical research with regard to the normative role capacity development has achieved within the field of development. Through careful examination of the evolution and contemporary practice of this concept, this thesis uncovers the persistent ambiguity and the latent power-claiming encased within capacity development. It also questions the ongoing attempt to re-legitimise the idea of development through the appropriation and subsequent depletion of concepts such as capacity development. On the other hand, it analyses state-owned and participatory agendas of ICT promotion in Ethiopia and Egypt. While states often follow populist accounts that celebrate ICTs as the harbinger of a new age, this thesis shows the delicate ways in which the notion of ICTs is carefully domesticated to the agendas of the Ethiopian developmental state. It illustrates the inner workings of hegemonic state power in Ethiopia, but also shows the boundaries it is capable of setting against the influence of transnational capitalism. This is then held against the rise of surrogate communities enabled by ICTs in Ethiopia and Egypt. The brief genealogy of these communities seeks to verify the raison d’etre for dissent in the age of transnational capitalism. Nevertheless, it also cautions about their liability to the appropriative practices of transnational capitalism.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Unwin, Tim, Advisor
  • Simon, David, Supervisor
Award date1 Jan 2018
Publication statusUnpublished - 20 Oct 2017


  • Capacity Development
  • capacity building
  • ICT for Development
  • Information and communication technology;
  • Developing countries
  • Developing economies
  • development aid
  • Paris Declaration
  • Accra Agenda
  • social media
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • action research
  • practice led action research
  • ethnography of bureaucracy
  • Bureaucracy and Middle Class
  • Bureaucracy

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