Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2020

Thesis Advisor(s)

Matthew Singer

Honors Major

Political Science


Economics | Political Science | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Within the study of democratic institutions worldwide there exists the need to study factors within states, countries, and or territories that elicit or hinder democracy. Among these are the relationships that exist between ethnic cultures that interact within the same governmental structure and the roles they play within that institution. Throughout the African continent, there are many governmental structures that support hundreds of tribes holding various sociocultural differences. These differences have led to ethnic conflicts throughout African history and even escalated to civil war which pose social, political and economic detriments to the nation involved. In recent years the internet has increasingly become a tool by central governments to stifle separatist thought that either preaches against national identity or general opinion dissenting from those of the majority. Through a comparative analysis of fixed broadband and mobile cellular subscriptions rates of countries in Africa experiencing ethnic conflicts leading to internet shutdowns, we wish to determine whether ethnic conflict have the potential to cause lasting impacts on how people use the internet services. We hypothesize that internet shutdowns have created a change of some sort in how people use internet. Through our analysis, however, we found there to be no significant differences in the rate of fixed broadband subscriptions and mobile cellular subscriptions before and after internet shutdowns. While government repression during civil wars bring economic and social costs, the demand for internet access is not abated by potential disruptions in its availability.