Chris Foster’s research focus is on technologies and innovation in developing and emerging markets, with a particular interest on how ICTs can support development of low income groups.

Prior to working in OII, Chris received a PhD from the University of Manchester. In this work Chris explored the growth of mobile sector innovation in Kenya, and its implications for innovation theory, firm strategy and public policy.

Chris also has extensive experience of working in the ICT sector. As a consultant in a number of NGOs working in Africa, he has helped organisations to better link and understand their recipients through use of ICTs. Christopher also has extensive experience of innovation in the UK, having previously worked in R&D in the telecommunication sector.

Research interests

ICT and development, innovation, user innovation, information systems development

Positions held at the OII

  • Research Associate, September 2015 – November 2019
  • Researcher, November 2013 – August 2015


Past projects

  • GeoNet: Changing Connectivities and the Potentials of Sub-Saharan Africa’s Knowledge Economy

    Participants: Professor Mark Graham, Dr Stefano De Sabbata, Nicolas Friederici, Dr Christopher Foster, Sanna Ojanperä, Dr Mohammad Amir Anwar, Dr Fabian Braesemann, Michel Wahome

    This research project is examining the geographies, drivers, and effects of Sub-Saharan Africa's emerging information economies at a time of changing connectivity and Internet access across the region.

  • Development and Broadband Internet Access in East Africa

    Participants: Professor Mark Graham, Dr Laura Elizabeth Mann, Dr Christopher Foster, Professor Tim Waema, Charles Katua, Dr Felix Akorli, Claude Bizimana

    By using surveys, interviews and in-depth observations, this project examined the expectations and stated potentials of broadband Internet in East Africa and compared those expectations to on-the-ground effects that broadband connectivity is having.


  • ICT and Development: OII MSc Option Course

    Recorded: 20 June 2015

    Duration: 00:02:00

    This option course for the OII MSc in "Social Science of the Internet" introduces students to the debates and practices surrounding the uses of ICTs with a focus on the Global South.


  • World Business Report

    3 August 2015 BBC World Service

    Facebook is planning to introduce multiple solar powered drones to expand wireless access. Chris Foster discusses these and other innovations in the skies.