Regulatory Imperatives for the Future of SADC's "Digital Complexity Ecosystem"
Keywords:complexity science, complex adaptive systems (CAS), digital economy, digital complexity ecosystem, Southern African Development Community (SADC), electronic communications regulation, economic regulation, social regulation, concurrent regulatory jurisdiction, mobile financial services, Internet of Things (IoT), e-health
This article uses a "digital complexity ecosystem" framing to delineate the challenges facing regulation of the digital economy in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. The digital complexity ecosystem approach, grounded in the field of complexity science - and in particular the study of complex adaptive systems (CASs) - is used to illuminate the sources of uncertainty, unpredictability and discontinuity currently present in the SADC digital sphere. Drawing on examples from three regulatory areas, namely mobile financial services, Internet of Things (IoT) network and services markets, and e-health services, the article argues that SADC regulatory bodies will themselves need to adopt highly adaptive, nonlinear approaches if they are to successfully regulate activities in the digital ecosystem moving forward. Based on the findings, recommendations are made on SADC regional regulatory agendas and, at national levels, matters of concurrent jurisdiction.
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