Digital Platforms in the Global South: Foundations and Research Agenda

Kari Koskinen, Carla Bonina*, Ben Eaton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Digital platforms have become integral to many of the everyday activities that people across the globe encounter in areas like transportation, commerce and social interactions. Research on the topic has largely concentrated on the general functioning of these platforms in terms of platform governance, business strategies and consumer behaviour. Despite their significant presence in the global South, the developmental implications of digital platforms remain largely understudied. In part, this is because digital platforms are a challenging research object due to their lack of conceptual definition, their spread across different regions and industries, and their intertwined nature with institutions, actors and digital technologies. The aim of this paper is therefore twofold: to provide a conceptual definition of digital platforms, and to identify research strands in international development contexts. To do so, we draw from digital platforms literature, differentiate between transaction and innovation platforms and expose their main characteristics. We the present four strands in the form of research questions, illustrated with concrete examples, that can assist to pursue relevant studies on digital platforms and international development in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInformation and Communication Technologies for Development. Strengthening Southern-Driven Cooperation as a Catalyst for ICT4D : Proceedings of ICT4D 2019. Part I
EditorsPetter Nielsen, Honest Christopher Kimaro
Number of pages12
Place of PublicationCham
Publication date2019
ISBN (Print)9783030183998
ISBN (Electronic)9783030184001
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event15th IFIP WG 9.4 International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries. ICT4D 2019 - Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, United Republic of
Duration: 1 May 20193 May 2019
Conference number: 15


Conference15th IFIP WG 9.4 International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries. ICT4D 2019
Country/TerritoryTanzania, United Republic of
CityDar es Salaam
Internet address


  • Digital platforms
  • Development
  • Global South
  • Research agenda
  • Information systems

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