Africa, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and digital diplomacy: (re)negotiating the international knowledge structure

Masters, L. ORCID: 0000-0002-1053-8977, 2021. Africa, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and digital diplomacy: (re)negotiating the international knowledge structure. South African Journal of International Affairs, 28 (3), pp. 361-377. ISSN 1022-0461

1525909_Masters.pdf - Published version

Download (1MB) | Preview


The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) builds on the exponential growth of digital capacities, blurring the lines between the physical and digital spheres. Following its recognition as a phenomenon at the 2016 World Economic Forum, analysis has mainly focused on assessing the socio-economic challenges and benefits that advancements in science, technology and innovation hold. Yet there remains a shortfall in understanding the impact of these digital technologies from the perspective of international relations and diplomacy, particularly on questions of equality, governance, and emerging transnational relations. For Africa, participation in negotiating the international governance of digital technologies is critical in mitigating a peripheral role in the international knowledge structure, ensuring transformational rather than transactional relations when it comes to the 4IR. This article argues that analysis of digital diplomacy as diplomacy for digital technology – ie, negotiating the governance of digital technologies – provides a useful lens for critically assessing Africa vis-à-vis the 4IR.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: South African Journal of International Affairs
Creators: Masters, L.
Publisher: Routledge
Date: 2021
Volume: 28
Number: 3
ISSN: 1022-0461
Rights: © 2021 the author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License(, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 06 Jan 2023 13:23
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2023 13:23

Actions (login required)

Edit View Edit View


Views per month over past year


Downloads per month over past year