CAD’s projects strive to answer pressing questions in the study of conflict, state-building and development in Africa and promote student-faculty.

Current Initiatives
Mobile Phone Ownership and Women’s Empowerment
A Tanzanian woman holding a phone she received from Kidogo-Kidogo and a Kidogo iPhone case

This project addresses the impact of the mobile phone revolution on women in low-income countries, gathering data and analyzing the benefits and limits of mobile phone ownership as a strategy to promote development. 

Presently the project partners with Kidogo Kidogo to examine the impact of mobile phone ownership on women’s empowerment in Tanzania. Kidogo Kidogo (Swahili for "little by little") operates a "buy two give one” mobile phone initiative, in which it sells iPhone cases designed by a Tanzanian-based artist and for each pair of cases sold donates a mobile phone, SIM card, and mobile phone credit to a woman in Tanzania through in-country NGO partners.

ITPIR has provided seed funding for Professor Roessler and his students to design a field experiment that measures the impact of KidogoKidogo’s "mobile phone drops" on women’s lives. The experiment measures impact on beneficiaries across four dimensions: social connectedness, income generation, personal safety and access to healthcare. This research represents one of the first field experiments on mobile phone ownership that will not only advance the basic science on the mobile phone revolution in developing countries but offer a more rigorous understanding of the benefits and limitations of mobile technology for development.

China and the African State 

Led by Robert Blair of Yale University and Philip Roessler of William & Mary, China and the African State endeavors to better understand how Chinese aid and investment flows are affecting African politics. The project will conduct a series of field surveys, lab-in-the-field experiments, and observational studies in Liberia, Tanzania and Democratic Republic of Congo to better understand the subnational impact of Chinese investment and development projects on state capacity and legitimacy.

In April 2014, Professors Blair and Roessler received the project’s initial funding from USAID’s Democracy Fellows and Grants Program through the Institute of International Education to initiate the project.