Labouring and Smiling: Re-Imagining Digital Colonialism in Africa, Silicon Valley Big Techs, and the Politics of Prosumer Capitalism in Nigeria

  • Paul A. Obi Baze University
Keywords: Africa, Big Techs, data, digital colonialism, prosumer capitalism, platforms, Nigeria


Does Africa suffer from the paucity of epistemic inquiry on digital capitalism, mostly, spearheaded by social media platforms within the confines of the global digital economy? The growing corpus of literature points to digital colonialism and prosumer capitalism as critical components in understanding the global digital economy. Yet, postcolonial Africa lags in the negotiation of power within the political economy dynamics of digital capitalism. Thus, in an age of big data, platformisation and extraction of human life, is there a reincarnation and excavation of colonialism of old in the form of digital prosumer capitalism in the continent? Using Nigeria as a geo-economic prism, the paper reimagines digital colonialism from a critical perspective. It seeks to discharge the underlying appropriation of economic power through digital colonialism; and show how prosumer capitalism grounds its practices in Nigeria, thereby, recentring the debate on digital economic inequalities given the global digital capitalism paradigm.

Author Biography

Paul A. Obi, Baze University

Paul A. Obi (MA, Cardiff University) is a lecturer at the Department of Mass Communication, Baze University, Abuja, Nigeria. He is interested in political communication; how media and technology interact with elections, politics, democracy; media influence of Africa’s democratization; autocracy and mediated authoritarianism; propaganda studies; dis/misinformation in Africa, political participation, media economics and media law. Obi is also the Co-Editor & Author of “Media and Nigeria’s Constitutional Democracy: Civic Space, Free Speech, and the Battle for Freedom of the Press” (Lexington Books, 2023). He has more than twenty publications in edited volumes and international peer-reviewed journals such as ESSACHES – Journal for Communication Studies; The African Review among others. Between 2009 and 2018, Obi was a journalist with THISDAY Newspaper, a leading publication in Africa and one of Nigeria’s most authoritative newspapers of repute. He is also a research fellow at The Abuja School of Social and Political Thought, Nigeria.

Critical Perspectives on Digital Capitalism 3: Domination in Digital Capitalism