The 2021 African Scool on Internet Governance (AfriSIG) has brought together actors from digital ecosystems worldwide. It has been a golden opportunity for me and my community as I have learnt about several topics on internet governance. I applied for this opportunity to further increase my knowledge and skills to continue impacting positively on Senegalese internet users and non-internet users. The concept of the digital divide is becoming more and more complex as is access to digital tools in many African countries, particularly in Senegal where the internet connection is too expensive and often slow in the evenings.
This remains a challenge as the number of users increases day by day. There is a wide internet connectivity gap between individuals, organisations and businesses. Likewise non-consumers, territories, illiterate populations and people living in remote cities are under-equipped in terms of means of communication and are excluded from the network. Sometimes they also lack vital resources such as water and electricity. We can say that the internet offers a tool for accessing information and at the same time reinforces inequality and exclusion due to poor distribution of infrastructure in Senegalese cyberspace, subjugation of the telecommunications sector to political logic and political discourse on modernity without a shared understanding of contextual realities.
Henceforth, the need for a political commitment to digital technology in order to increase access may be a solution, along with the establishment of an internet literacy and training program for all, without discrimination. Participating as a member of the business and investment group during the practicum of AfriSIG 2021 made me come up with new ideas by using a multistakeholder model, which can facilitate the work between governments, the private sector, internet providers and internet users, to achieve affordable data and to set up infrastructure throughout the whole country. The implementation of community network projects in some villages will increase access to internet and improve people’s livelihoods. This is crucial to ensure that the right to internet access should be respected everywhere and be available to everyone.
It was an honour to meet some friends there from ISOC Benin such as Ben Rachad Sanoussi, and others from Facebook and LinkedIn, and to share this wonderful journey and experience with fellows from several background and experts on internet governance. I have participated in many internet governance schools but this has been one of the most interesting throughout, from the organisation of activities and practicum to the assistance of the faculty and practicum group members. I have collaborated well with other fellows in a good manner on this successful journey. I am anticipating seeing you all physically during the next Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Poland or African IGF, interacting with all of you and working together on a project for shaping a better digital sphere.
Fatou Sarr is a Senegalese activist in the fields of education and internet governance.She is a member of the board of directors of ISOC Senegal. She likes using new technology to solve problems, which is why she has become involved in many international organisations working on internet governance as a volunteer since 2018 to empower internet users through projects, policy making and capacity building, teaching them how to use the internet safely. She is currently studying for a Master’s degree in green hydrogen technology. She is also co-founder of the online platform “Opportunities Path to Success”, which has more than 2,500 members who share educational information such as scholarships, fellowships, training, online courses (MOOCS) and entrepreneurship programmes.