Emerging Technological Challenges in North Africa

Understanding the information and technology environment in the countries of North Africa and, in particular, their capacity to withstand and adopt emerging technologies, is crucial to the prospect of stability and security in this region and beyond.

North Africa is the gate and border zone between Europe on one side and its neighboring countries in the Middle East and sub-Sahara Africa on the other. As such, security issues in the North African region have a high potential to directly impact national, regional and international security and stability. Against this backdrop, the aim of this paper is twofold. First, deducting the security implications that derive from emerging technologies and technological challenges in North Africa and second, to provide recommendations for NATO to develop policies to enhance security and stability in the region.

The remainder of the paper is organized as follows: Section 2 presents stylized facts about the existing levels of technological readiness and availability of latest technologies by drawing on a variety of information and communication technology (ICT) as well as science, innovation and technology (SIT) indicators. Section 3 elaborates on the use of technology across North Africa, focusing on manipulation and control of local audiences, technological dependence, and criminal use. Section 4 discusses the security implications of emerging technologies today and military operations and challenges, political stability and economic perspectives in North Africa. Section 5 then provides tailor-made policy recommendations to NATO and finally, section 6 concludes.

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