Dr Kutoma Wakunuma

Job: Associate Professor Research and Teaching in Information Systems

Faculty: Computing, Engineering and Media

School/department: School of Computer Science and Informatics

Research group(s): Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH, United Kingdom

T: +44 0116 207 (8993)

E: kutoma@dmu.ac.uk

W: https://www.dmu.ac.uk/ccsr

 

Personal profile

Dr Kutoma Wakunuma is Associate Professor Research and Teaching in Information Systems. She holds a PhD in Information Communication Technologies for Development and Gender. She has worked and continues to work on a wide range of research projects where she has taken on roles of Principal Investigator, Lead Evaluator as well as being part of the coordination team of projects. Before joining DMU, some of her notable research experiences were as Research Fellow attached to the University of Witten/Herdecke in Germany under the Initiativkreis Ruhrgebiet initiative where she was one of three awarded for outstanding research out of sixteen international Research Fellows commissioned on the Fellowship. She had an opportunity to undertake some work experience at Bochum Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Germany which gave great insight into her industry work experience having worked at the Zambia Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in her native Zambia. She was also Research Assistant at Sheffield Hallam University before joining DMU as a Research Fellow and going on to be Senior Lecturer before her current Associate Professorship. She is also actively involved in teaching and holds teaching related positions including Module Leadership, Programme Leader in MSc Computing and Deputy Subject Group Leader for the IS Group. Her teaching has involved ICT4D, Computing Ethics, Research Ethics and Professionalism including Responsible Research and Innovation in ICT. She is also heavily involved in PhD Supervision in areas involving ICT4D, Emerging Technologies, Gender, Ethics and RRI. She has also examined several PhD thesis.

Research group affiliations

Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility (CCSR)

Publications and outputs

  • Towards Shaping the Future of Responsible AI in Africa
    Towards Shaping the Future of Responsible AI in Africa Eke, Damian; Wakunuma, Kutoma; Shmidt, Chintu Artificial Intelligence (AI) presents unprecedented opportunities for Africa. Increasingly, AI and other emerging technologies are being deployed in African contexts—healthcare, agriculture, sociopolitical processes, businesses and education—in ways that promise to change cultural dynamics. Despite obvious potential good benefits, AI deployment and implementation raise fundamental questions bordering on human rights, fairness, privacy, bias, discrimination, security, climate change and the future of work which highlight the importance of Responsible AI. However, the growing literature on Responsible AI focuses more on contexts in the Global North whereas African contexts are ignored or largely forgotten. This chapter makes an argument to clarify the importance of Responsible AI that considers African contexts, interests, values, fears, hopes and aspirations. It reviews the current and future AI landscape and then makes recommendations on how the discussions on Responsible AI in and for Africa should be shaped. open access book Eke, D.O., Chintu, S.S. and Wakunuma, K. (2023) Towards Shaping the Future of Responsible AI in Africa. In: Eke, D.O., Wakunuma, K., and Akintoye, S. (Eds.) Responsible AI in Africa. Social and Cultural Studies of Robots and AI, Cham, Switzerland, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 169-193
  • Introducing Responsible AI in Africa
    Introducing Responsible AI in Africa Eke, Damian; Wakunuma, Kutoma; Akintoye, Simisola open access book Eke et al. (2023) Introducing Responsible AI in Africa. In: Responsible AI in Africa. Social and Cultural Studies of Robots and AI, Eke, D. Wakunuma, K. and Akintoye, S. (eds.). Palgrave, pp. 1-11
  • Responsible AI, SDGs, and AI Governance in Africa
    Responsible AI, SDGs, and AI Governance in Africa Wakunuma, Kutoma; Ogoh, George; Eke, Damian; Akintoye, Simi More than ever before, AI is now an area of national strategic importance. This has become quite evident with the proliferation of national AI strategies since the first was launched in Canada in 2017. There is now an ever-growing body of national AI strategies especially in countries situated in the Global South. AI is seen as a key driver of economic development and the strategies describe how countries plan to exploit AI technologies to achieve national development goals. However, AI technologies also generate problematic and unintended consequences, and the national strategies often describe governance mechanisms for mitigating such issues. As the national development goals of many countries also align with the UN SDGs, this paper explores the relationship between responsible governance of AI, the attainment of the UN SDGs and the implications for African countries. The paper shows that there is a clear link between the development of AI and the attainment of the SDGs. Also, based on an analysis of two AI policy tracking repositories - the OECD AI Policy Observatory and Oxford AI Readiness Index – this paper shows how African countries have lagged behind countries in the Global South in terms of the development of governance structures for AI. This has far-reaching implications for the attainment of the SGDs and the paper provides recommendations in this area. Wakunuma, K. et al. (2022) Responsible AI, SDGs, and AI Governance in Africa. In: Cunningham, P. and Cunningham, M. (eds.) IST-Africa 2022 Conference Proceedings. Africa: IST-Africa.
  • Technology acceptance and readiness of stakeholders for transitioning to a circular plastic economy in Africa
    Technology acceptance and readiness of stakeholders for transitioning to a circular plastic economy in Africa Kolade, Oluwaseun; Odumuyiwa, Victor; Abolfathi, Soroush; Schröder, Patrick; Wakunuma, Kutoma; Akanmu, Ifeoluwa; Whitehead, Timothy; Tijani, Bosun; Oyinlola, Muyiwa Scholars and practitioners have highlighted the importance of digital innovations in the drive towards a circular plastic economy. Therefore this paper investigates the role of digital innovators and the public's response to digital innovations on the African continent. The study draws from four focus groups, and cross-sectional surveys of 33 digital innovators and 1475 community members across 20 low-middle income communities in five African countries. The results indicate that, while digital innovators are strongly optimistic and highly motivated, their engagement and impact on the circular plastic economy ecosystem are limited by a range of institutional, infrastructural and socio-cultural factors. Furthermore, results from the regression models of cross-sectional data of community members show that understanding of the technologies and perceived ease of use have significant positive impacts on uptake of technological innovations for the circular plastic economy, and perceived ease of use is also a significant moderator of barriers to adoption. The findings underline the need for a well-informed and motivated cohort of digital innovators to promote diffusion of circular plastic innovations. It also emphasizes the importance of a more collaborative, multistakeholder and multi-sectoral synergy to create a critical mass of the consumer public needed to break the linear economy lock-in mechanisms and accelerate the transition to a circular plastic economy in Africa. Other research group involved in the research: Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD) open access article Kolade, O., Odumuyiwa, V., Abolfathi, S., Schröder, P., Wakunuma, K., Akanmu, I., Whitehead, T., Tijani, B., and Oyinlola, M. (2022) Technology Acceptance and Readiness of Stakeholders for Transitioning to a Circular Plastic Economy in Africa. Technological Forecasting & Social Change, 183, 121954
  • Digital innovations for transitioning to circular plastic value chains in Africa
    Digital innovations for transitioning to circular plastic value chains in Africa Oyinlola, M. A.; Schroeder, Patrick; Whitehead, Timothy; Kolade, Oluwaseun; Wakunuma, Kutoma; Sharifi, Soroosh; Rawn, Barry; Odumuyiwa, Victor; Lendelvo, Selma; Brighty, Geoff; Tijani, Bosun; Jaiyeola, Tomi; Lindunda, Lukonga; Mtonga, Radhia; abolfathi, soroush The paper analyzes the current state of plastic value chains in Africa and the potential of digital innovations adopted by African entrepreneurs to contributing to a circular plastic economy. We provide an overview of plastic waste trade to African countries and an assessment of existing digital solutions that can support the transition to a circular plastic economy. The findings show that various digital innovations are being applied by entrepreneurs including web-based solutions, mobile apps and 3D printing. The case studies also show that multinational companies, especially consumer facing brands, are major players in the national plastic value chains in African countries, acting as seed funders for start-ups as well as buyers of recycled plastics. Current initiatives that are underway are positive signs that changes are in progress to address the environmental and social impacts of plastics value chains in Africa. However, to achieve a transition to sustainable circular value chains, changes at policy level will be required to enable scaling-up of local start-up businesses, address regulatory barriers to digital solutions, create markets for recycled plastic materials and implement extended producer responsibility regulations Centre for Enterprise and Innovation, Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility, The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link. Oyinlola, M., Schröder, P., Whitehead, T., Kolade, S., Wakunuma, K., Sharifi, S., Rawn, B., Odumuyiwa, V., Lendelvo, S., Brighty, G., Tijani, B., Jaiyeola, T., Lindunda, L., Mtonga, R., Abolfathi, S. (2021) Digital innovations for transitioning to circular plastic value chains in Africa. Africa Journal of Managment
  • Reconceptualising responsible research and innovation from a Global South perspective
    Reconceptualising responsible research and innovation from a Global South perspective Wakunuma, Kutoma; de Castro, Fabio; Jiya, Tilimbe; Inigo, Edurne A; Blok, Vincent; Bryce, Vincent The concept of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) has been developed in the Global North with little reference to what RRI or RRI-like practices mean in the context of the Global South. We discuss the contextual factors driving the emergence of responsible innovation practice and ways in which they can inform efforts to develop an inclusive and global conceptualization of RRI. Findings show that some activities in the Global South are comparable to those of the Global North, although important differences exist in motivations and structures. We go beyond prior framings to propose a reconfigured, inclusive theoretical framework that accounts for trans-regional differences by looking at three cases to illustrate international differences and to demonstrate an RRI continuum. Netherlands represents a more Global North concept of RRI; Malawi a Global South RRI concept and Brazil sits between these two extremes and assimilates RRI concepts from both ends of the continuum. open access article Wakunuma, K., de Castro, F., Jiya, T., Inigo, E. A., Blok, V and Bryce, V (2021) Reconceptualising responsible research and innovation from a Global South perspective, Journal of Responsible Innovation,
  • Empowerment Through Women Entrepreneurship: A Case from the Beauty Salon Sector in Sri Lanka
    Empowerment Through Women Entrepreneurship: A Case from the Beauty Salon Sector in Sri Lanka De Silva, Thilini; Barbutiu, Sirkku Männikkö; Wakunuma, Kutoma; Dhameeth, Gehan S. The purpose of the current study was to explore the conditions of empowerment among women entrepreneurs in the beauty salon sector in Sri Lanka by shedding light on the specific challenges faced by women when initiating and developing an enterprise. Focus group discussions were used to create a collaborative platform for businesswomen to meet and exchange experiences on being entrepreneurial women. Twelve women entrepreneurs who own beauty salons in the outskirts of the capital city of Sri Lanka participated in the workshop. Sen's capability approach and Kabeer's empowerment framework was used to interpret the findings. The women in the study face many challenges such as difficulties in maintaining a healthy work-life balance, double burden and tiresome multi-tasking. Research suggests that women’s choice to become an entrepreneur enables them to achieve their practical and strategic gender needs. Nevertheless, too much focus on fulfilling practical gender needs limits the ability of women to fulfil their strategic gender needs. However, entrepreneurial agency has changed their status through improving the wellbeing of women, increasing the actual economic contribution, strengthening the economic security, through the ability to exercise purchasing power to invest on children, sense of self-worth, value within their families and family welfare. The study will increase our understanding of women and their family ties and the challenges women face in multiple roles they play in a developing context like Sri Lanka. open access article De Silva, T., Barbutiu, S. M., Wakunuma, K. and Dhameeth, G. S. (2021) Empowerment Through Women Entrepreneurship: A Case from the Beauty Salon Sector in Sri Lanka. Journal of Women’s Entrepreneurship and Education. 1-2
  • Socio-Ethical Implications of Using AI in Accelerating SDG3 in Least Developed Countries
    Socio-Ethical Implications of Using AI in Accelerating SDG3 in Least Developed Countries Wakunuma, Kutoma; Jiya, Tilimbe; Aliyu, Suleiman Artificial Intelligence (AI) is playing a crucial role in advancing efforts towards sustainable development across the globe. AI has the potential to help address some of the biggest challenges that society faces including health and well-being. Thus, AI can be useful in addressing some health and well-being related challenges by accelerating the attainment of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG3), namely Good health and well-being. This paper draws on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and the Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) SDG selector to identify the SDG that is prioritised in Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Out of 32 least developed African countries on the list, SDG3 was the most common SDG, suggesting that health and well-being is a priority for these countries. In order to understand the opportunities and challenges that might result in applying AI in the acceleration of SDG3, the paper uses a SWOT analysis to highlight some socio-ethical implications of using AI in advancing SDGS in the identified LDCs on the DAC list. open access article Wakunuma, K., Jiya, T., and Aliyu, S. (2020) Socio-ethical implications of using AI in accelerating SDG3 in Least Developed Countries, Journal of Responsible Technology, 4, 100006
  • Exploring Gender Gaps: How Nigerian Micro Business Owners Use Mobile Apps for Business
    Exploring Gender Gaps: How Nigerian Micro Business Owners Use Mobile Apps for Business Owoseni, Adebowale; Wakunuma, Kutoma; Tolani, Adedamola; Twinomurinzi, Hossana This study examined how men and women who own micro-businesses in Lagos, Nigeria, use mobile apps for business. The paper analyses the findings from Amartya Sen’s capability approach viewpoint. The two key findings suggest that women micro-business owners make more use of mobile apps compared to men and that they tend to exit micro-businesses as they grow older indicating a possible influence of patriarchy in African contexts. Specifically, women seized opportunities presented by mobile apps to acquire capabilities to function; and they adopt mobile apps to enhance their wellbeing and freedom despite the restrictions and responsibilities in the patriarchal environments typical of low-income countries. The insignificant gender gap in certain mobile app usages presents new perspectives to debates on gender (economic) gaps, inequality, women empowerment, and technology uptake in low-income country contexts. Owoseni, A., Wakunuma, K., Tolani, A. and Twinomurinzi, H. (2020) Exploring gender gaps: how Nigerian micro-business owners use mobile apps for business. 2020 IFIP WG9.4 European Conference on the Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries (online), 10-11 June 2020.
  • Power as an ethical concern in the Global South’s digital transformation: Power or empowerment?
    Power as an ethical concern in the Global South’s digital transformation: Power or empowerment? Wakunuma, Kutoma The digitalization of the Global South, particularly with respect to African countries, is moving at a fast pace. This can be seen in the use of information and communications technology (ICT) in different domains such as healthcare, education, industry, entertainment, as well as in the provision of e-government services, to name just a few. Such digital progress is seen as positive and often presented as such in international development discussions, for example at the World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2019 on ICTs for achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Despite the positives, there are also negative aspects of digitalization, which have to be addressed in the form of ethical concerns. This paper discusses these concerns by specifically exploring the aspect of power in light of the digital transformation of the Global South. The discussion advanced in this paper is informed by a review of literature. open access article Wakunuma, K. (2019) Power as an ethical concern in the Global South’s digital transformation. Journal on Technology Assessment in Theory and Practice (TATuP), 28 (2), pp. 29-34

Click here to view a full listing of Kutoma Wakunuma's publications and outputs.

Research interests/expertise

Dr Wakunuma has an interest in understanding how modern technologies impact society both in the developed and developing world. In particular, she is interested in understanding the role that current and emerging technologies play in the development processes of both developed and developing countries. Having work experience in both these settings, she has developed a keen interest in understanding the ethics of technologies; digitalisation of both the Global South and Global North; gender implications related to accessibility, adoption and use of technologies as well as a keen interest in the UNs Sustainable Development Goals. Her work involves research in:

  • ICT4D
  • Emerging Technologies and Ethics
  • Gender
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • Civil Society Organisations research
  • Social media
  • Stakeholder evaluation
  • Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)/Responsible Innovation (RI)

Some of Dr Wakunuma's esteem indicators include but are not limited to:

  • Visiting Lecturer and PhD Supervisor within the Department of Computer and Systems Science at Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Editorial Board Member - Journal of Responsible Technology
  • Editorial Board Member - The Regional Journal of Information and Knowledge Management
  • Independent Expert and Ethics Advisor with the European Commission
  • European Commission proposal evaluator
  • Invited evaluator for South Africa's National Research Foundation
  • External peer reviewer on the Leading Fellows Postdoc (LFP) Programme which is a joint initiative of universities in the Netherlands funded by the EU
  • Reviewer for such journals as: Telecommunications Policy; Information Technology & People; Journal of Information Communication and Ethics in Society; ETHICOMP series conference papers
  • Guest Editor: Journal of Information, Communication & Ethics in Society

Areas of teaching

  • ICT for Development
  • Computer Ethics
  • Research Methods
  • Gender
  • Responsible (Research and) Innovation
  • Privacy and Data Protection

Qualifications

  • PhD - Information Communication Technologies for Development and Gender (Coventry University, UK) 
  • Post-Graduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCert. Teaching) (De Montfort University, UK)
  • MA - Women’s Studies (Challenges in management and decision-making positions) (Lancaster University, UK)
  • HND - Management Information Systems (Zambia Institute of Management)

Courses taught

  • Research Ethics and Professionalism in Computing (IMAT5262)
  • Responsible Research and Innovation (CTEC5813)
  • ICT for Development (IMAT 3112)

Honours and awards

  • DMU award on Exploring Sustainable Development in Ahmedabad, India, 2019
  • Coventry University PhD full Studentship, 2007
  • The Open Society Institute scholarship award for the Oxford Internet Institute Summer Doctoral Programme at Oxford University, UK, 2006
  • United Nations World Summit on the Information Society Award in Tunis, Tunisia, 2005
  • German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Scholarship for gender mainstreaming in a cross-cultural context with Foneta Gmbh in Chemnitz, Germany, 2004
  • Initiativkreis Ruhrgebiet Fellowship. One of 3 out of 16 international scholars that was honoured for outstanding research in January 2002
  • An Internet Society award on national network management training at the KEIO University in Yokohama, Japan, 2000
  • German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Scholarship attend the International Women’s University in Germany, 2000
  • Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) scholarship with LIFE academy in Sweden on Information Technology Management, 2000
  • International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) Working Conference award in Cape Town, South Africa, 2000 
  • University of Arizona Women’s Studies support for The Future of Women’s Studies Working Conference in Tucson Arizona, United States of America, 2000

Membership of professional associations and societies

IFIP (International Federation of Information Processing) 9.4

Projects

  • DITCh Plastic project, UKRI/GCRF funded, A multisectoral, international and interdisciplinary project aimed at utilizing digital innovations to accelerate the transition to a circular plastic economy (CPE) in Africa, 2020 - 2021(Co-PI)
  • RRING (Responsible Research and Innovation Networked Globally) Project, EU funded 2018 – 2021 (DMU Principal Investigator)
  • Hypatia project looking at encouraging teenagers especially girls to take up Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, EU funded, 2015 – 2018 (Principal Evaluator/Consultant)
  • SATORI (Stakeholders Acting Together On the ethical impact assessment of Research and Innovation), EU funded, 2014 - 2017 (DMU Scientific Lead and WP Leader)
  • Network Analysis of Civil Society Organisations Participation in Research Framework Programmes, EU funded tender, 2014 - 2016 (Senior Researcher)
  • GREAT (Governance for Responsible Innovation), EU funded, 2013 (Senior Researcher)
  • CONSIDER (Civil Society Organisations in Designing Research Governance), EU funded, 2012 - 2015 (Part of the coordination team and Senior Researcher)
  • IDEGOV (Identification and Governance of Emerging Ethical Issues in Information Systems), CIGREF funded, 2011 - 2012 (DMU Scientific Lead)
  • ETICA (Ethical Issues of Emerging ICT Applications), EU funded, 2009 - 2011 (Research Fellow and part of the Coordinating Team)

Conference attendance

Among many others

  • IFIP (International Federation of Information Processing) 
  • Ethicomp
  • DSA (Development Studies Association conference)
  • GoNano conference 
  • Digitalisation in Africa: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Technology Development and Justice Conference

Current research students

Current Students
1. Aisha Abubakar - Identity Theft Investigation in Nigeria (1st)
2. Naome Gapara - Adoption of digital technology to increase South Africa's SME profitability and performance (1st)
3. Annabel Mwagalanyi - Caught between people and technology: Understanding the role support volunteers give to female refugees in accessing employment (2nd)
4. Abigail Udoma - eVoting in Nigeria (2nd)
5. Rachel Harris - The Violent Sexual Ethics of 21st Century Patriarchal Techno-Capitalism (2nd)
6. 1 PhD Supervision with Stockholm University - The use of Social Media by Women Entrepreneurs in the Beauty Salon Sector (2nd)
Please note that some of the above titles will alter slightly as the research progresses. Therefore take the titles as pointers to the research thesis under progress.

PhD Completions
1. Anietie Isong - The Influence of New Media Technologies on African Literature (2018 - 04)
2. Tilimbe Jiya - An Evaluation of Stakeholder Engagement in ICT Research Projects (2018 - 09)
3. Samuel Liyala - Exploring Performance Ethnography to illuminate mobile banking Capabilities in Western Kenya: Capability Approach Study (2012)

PhD Examinations
1. Molla Allemu - Impact of Human Activity on Protected Areas: A case study of Nech Sar National Park in Ethiopia (2020)
2. Job Timmermans - Implementing Responsible Research and Innovation in Research Projects (2017)
3. Fahad Naser K. Alqahtani - Identifying the critical factors that impact on the Development of Electronic Government using TOE Framework in Saudi E-Government Context: A Thematic Analysis (2016)
4. Michael Healey - Alienation and Information Communications Technology (2014)
5. Yahya AlHareth - An investigation into the contribution of e-learning to the improvement of higher education opportunities for women in Saudi Arabia (2014)
6. Eric Agyei-Bekoe - Empirical Investigation of the Role of Privacy and Data Protection in the Implementation of Electronic Government in Ghana (2013)

Professional esteem indicators

Information, Communication and Society Journal Reviewer

Information Technologies & International Development Reviewer

Journal of Information, Communication & Ethics in Society Guest Editor, (2011)

ORCID number

0000-0002-8236-3221

kutoma-wakunuma