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Access to Knowledge for Development

“Egypt’s Independent Music Industry: A Realm of Sharing and Creativity”

By Abbe E.L. Brown and Charlotte Waelde, 2018

“A Glimpse into the Sharing Economy: An Analysis of Uber Driver-Partners in Egypt”

Nagla Rizk, February 2017

 The paper offers a glimpse of the driver side of the ride-sharing model in Egypt, provided through the eyes of the driver-partners themselves. Based on a field survey of a sample of Uber driver-partners in Cairo, I study this new form of work against the backdrop of expanding unemployment of the youth and the educated, and continuing employment in the informal sector. I emphasize the relevance of context, particularly the demographic, urban and economic challenges facing Egypt after the uprising of 2011.

 Arab Networked Public Sphere Publications  

"Structure and Discourse: Mapping the Networked Public Sphere in the Arab Region"

By Robert Faris, John Kelly, Helmi Noman, Dalia Othman, March 2016

"The Networked Public Sphere and Civic Engagement in Post-2011 Egypt: A Local Perspective"

By Nagla Rizk with Lina Attalah and Nadine Weheba, March 2016

“An Accelerated Story of the Emergence and Transformation of the Networked Public Sphere: The Case of Tunisia”

By Escander Nagazi, Jazem Halioui, Fares Mabrouk, March 2016 

Civic Engagement and the Arab Networked Public Sphere: A Synthesis of Research Findings

A brief summary of the findings of a collaborative research project carried out by the Access to Knowledge for Development Center at The American University in Cairo, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, Innova Tunisia, and the Arab Policy Institute, March 2016

"Studying the Arab Networked Public Sphere: A Reflection on Methods"

A summary of the methodological approach to a collaborative research project carried out by the Access to Knowledge for Development Center (A2K4D) at The American University in Cairo, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, Innova Tunisia, and the Arab Policy Institute, March 2016

The Open African Innovation Research Partnership (Open AIR) Publications:

Towards An Alternative Assessment of Innovation in Africa

By Nagla Rizk, Ayah El Said, Nadine Weheba, and Jeremy de Beer

This background paper is drafted with the purpose of revisiting the literature on innovation in general, and in Africa in particular in an attempt to expand the existing definitions and metrics that capture them. We argue that there are several dimensions of innovation that are not being fully captured by conventional innovation metrics. We highlight the complex interactions of formal and informal innovation activities within the spectrum of the formal and informal sectors. Such combinations bring up four main scopes in which innovation occurs in the developing world: informal innovation in the informal sector, informal innovation in the formal sector, formal innovation in the formal sector and formal innovation in the informal sector.

Innovation & Intellectual Property: Collaborative Dynamics in Africa

Edited by Jeremy de Beer, Chris Armstrong, Chidi Oguamanam, and Tobias Schonwetter


Innovation and Intellectual Property: Collaborative Dynamics in Africa is an edited volume of real-world case studies examining innovators in nine countries including Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique, Botswana and South Africa, across many sites of innovation and creativity including music, leather goods, textiles, cocoa, coffee, auto parts, traditional medicine, book publishing, biofuels and university research.

Various forms of intellectual property protection are explored: copyrights, patents, trademarks, geographical indications and trade secrets, as well as traditional and informal mechanisms of knowledge governance. 

Abstract taken from

To read more about the book, click here.


Knowledge & Innovation in Africa: Scenarios for the Future

By Shirin Elahi and Jeremy de Beer, with Dick Kawooya, Chidi Oguamanam, Nagla Rizk and the Open A.I.R. Network 


This book is the product of three years of literature reviews, expert interviews and scenario-building exercises by the Open African Innovation Research and Training (Open AIR) network, which has members in 14 African countries. The authors trace the contours of knowledge and innovation in Africa from the founding civilizations to today’s current realities, and then set out the drivers of change that can be expected to shape innovation systems on the continent between now and the year 2035. The volume then offers three plausible scenarios, elements of which are likely to emerge in various settings on the continent in the short- to medium-term. Each scenario raises different issues for control of, and access to, knowledge in Africa. The key insight for policymakers, business leaders, scholars and civil society is that the question is not whether intellectual property (IP) rights will be relevant in the future, but rather which rights will be most important in different scenarios.

Abstract taken from

To read more about the book, click here.

Access to Knowledge Global Academy Publications:
Access to Knowledge in Egypt: New Research on Intellectual Property, Innovation and Development

Edited by Nagla Rizk and Lea Shaver


The conventional wisdom in Egypt examines the issue of intellectual property solely as a question of policing and enforcement. The high levels of protection indicated by the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights are unquestioningly assumed to be desirable. Policy debates — and all too often academic ones as well — focus only on the questions of how to more efficiently tighten IP protection and crack down on "piracy." Yet a more critical examination is urgently needed, whereby IP law, policy, and practice are viewed from a development perspective, rather than from an enforcement perspective.

This volume takes on this endeavor. It offers the first examination of IP issues in Egypt adopting a multidisciplinary bottom-up approach that aims at maximizing access and contribution to knowledge, and in turn, promoting development. Bringing rigorous empirical research to bear on unquestioned ideologies, the collaborating authors question the conventional wisdom that more IP protection is necessarily better for innovation and development.

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To read more about the book contents, advance praise and contributors, click here.


Global Censorship: Shifting Modes, Persisting Paradigms

Edited by Pranesh Prakash, Nagla Rizk and Carlos Affonso Souza


Freedom of expression depends not only on the mere absence of restrictions but also on infrastructures of free expression, which are open and accessible. Taking that idea as its starting point, this book traces the metamorphosis of the methods and modes used by states—and private corporations—to shape and to control speech, hastened, as it has been, by the emergence of digital publics.

In a series of ten case studies covering eight countries—China, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, India, Egypt, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Brazil, and the United States of America—and two essays that provide an overall theoretical framework for these changes, this book reveals some of the changes we are seeing in the nature of censorship itself, and also reveals how things have not changed.

This book—the fourth in the Access to Knowledge (A2K) series published by the Access to Knowledge Global Academy (A2KGA)—has its origins both in the A2KGA network and a meeting titled the Global Censorship Conference organized in Yale University in 2012.  The A2KGA is an informal network of academic and research centres based in Brazil, China, Egypt, India, South Africa, and the United States of America committed to research, education, and policy advice promoting access to knowledge, and has previously published books on Access to Knowledge in India, in Brazil, and in Egypt.  

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