Sanna Ojanperä

Sanna Ojanperä's research focuses on participation in knowledge economies in Sub-Saharan Africa and on the impacts these activities have on the society. More broadly, she is interested in understanding what development is and could be in today’s hyper-connected age.


Tel: +44 (0)1865 612344

Sanna’s work in the Oxford Internet Institute is centered on the geographies and development impacts of knowledge economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Together with Dr Mark Graham, she works on an ERC-funded GeoNet project which studies how new economic practices and processes are taking root in Sub-Saharan Africa as a result of changing connectivities. The project maps formal and informal types of participation in ‘knowledge economies’ in order to investigate why certain places have sustained their dominance, why others have become more central, and why some places, practices, and initiatives have declined.

Sanna is also a member of the multidisciplinary Connectivity, Inclusion, and Inequality Group of researchers, which aims to understand the differences that ICTs and changing connectivities make at the world’s economic peripheries and critically consider what ‘development’ is, and should be, in a hyper-connected age.

Sanna earned a Master’s Degree from American University’s School of International Service (Washington, DC) in 2013. At SIS she studied international development, governance, and innovative research methods as an ASLA-Fulbright Fellow. Before joining OII, she worked with the Digital Engagement team of the World Bank Governance Global Practice, where she was involved in developing an evaluation framework for projects and initiatives that focus on digital engagement. Previously she also worked with the Inter-American Development Bank’s Strategic Planning and Development Effectiveness Unit, where she worked as the quantitative researcher supporting the development of a strategic framework for the bank’s tourism sector.

Research interests

digital governance, internet and information geographies, knowledge economies, ICT for development, connectivity, inclusion, equality, social networks, GIS, and quantitative analysis

Positions held at the OII

  • Researcher, September 2014 –

Latest blog posts

Current projects

Past projects

Conference papers

  • Ojanpera, S., Graham, M., Straumann, R. and De Sabbata, S. (2016) "Measuring the Contours of the Global Knowledge Economy with a Digital Index", Development Studies Association Conference.
  • Ojanpera, S. (2013) "Networked Structures in International Development: A Proposal for a Research Agenda", 6th Annual Meeting of the Political Networks Section of the American Political Science Association (APSA).

Journal articles


  • Fauck, D., Bandilli, M., Ojanpera, S., Stefanovski, I., Zuidema, L., Novakova, S. and Grindgards, S. (2014) Missing a Generation in EU Politics. Brussels: European Policy Centre.
  • Guaipatin, C., Anta, R., Kallestad, E., Magri, N., Ojanpera, S., Olcese, C., Schwartz, L. and Tourreilles, F. (2013) Social Innovation: the Experience of the IDB's Innovation Lab. Washington D.C.: Inter-American Development Bank.


  • Ojanpera, S. and Graham, M. (2017) Africa's digital knowledge economy worrying. SciDev.Net.


  • Ojanpera, S. (2016) Big Data in International Development. Oxford, United Kingdom.
  • Ojanpera, S. (2016) Addressing New Societal Challenges with the Use of Big Data: Inequality and Exclusion. Brussels, Belgium.
  • Ojanpera, S. (2015) Economic Geographies of Knowledge Production in Sub-Saharan Africa. Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
  • Ojanpera, S. (2015) Lopsided Geographies of Connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa. Oxford, United Kingdom.
  • Ojanpera, S. (2015) The Geography of Engagement in the Knowledge Economy: Regional Patterns of Content Creation. Oxford, United Kingdom.
  • Ojanpera, S. (2015) Uneven Geographies of Connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa. Kings International Development Institute.