AfriSIG 2020 – alumni network building and enrichment
The 8th edition of the African School on Internet Governance (AfriSIG) brought together participants from countries throughout the continent for a five-day residential course, aimed at developing a pipeline of leading Africans from diverse sectors, backgrounds and ages with the skills to participate in local and international internet governance structures. Given the current circumstances in the world, this was obviously not a possibility in 2020.
The organisers of AfriSIG – the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), the Information Society Division of the African Union Commission (AUC) and Research ICT Africa (RIA) – found an innovative solution to continue pursuing the aims of the School despite the current challenges.
Like many other large events that are normally held “face-to-face”, the eighth annual AfriSIG took place online. But aside from this move from the physical to the virtual, this year’s School was also unique in that it focused on promoting networking among AfriSIG alumni and giving them the opportunity for deeper engagement in a few key current topics in internet governance in Africa.
AfriSIG 2020 was open only to the more than 400 AfriSIG alumni – participants in the Schools held annually from 2013 to 2019 – and took place on 23 November, prior to the African Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF), which was held from 25 to 27 November 2020.
Through AfriSIG’s partnership with the AUC, trainers trained as part of the AUC’s Policy and Regulation Initiative for Digital Africa (PRIDA) programme were also invited to participate.
AfrISIG 2020 consisted of two tracks: a one-day AfriSIG alumni enrichment programme and reunion, and networked AfriSIG alumni participation in the African IGF and the global IGF.
AfriSIG Alumni Enrichment Programme and Reunion
An independent study on the impact of the impact of AfriSIG (2013-2019) was completed, revealing that alumni value the School itself enormously, but also that being part of the alumni network is in itself one of the most important components of the AfriSIG experience. AfriSIG took advantage of the window offered by the pandemic to focus 2020 on strengthening this network through three online sessions held on 23 November.
08.30 to 09.00 UTC: Opening and orientation
09.00 to 10.30 UTC: Session 1 - Digital equality paradox / The 4th industrial revolution: Does it provide renewed focus on ICT for development or is it a distraction? Presented by Alison Gillwald, Research ICT Africa
10.30 to 11.00 UTC - BREAK
11.00 to 12.30 UTC Session 2 - Financial services for the poor in Africa: Is mobile money the solution? Presented by Daniel Mwesigwa, CIPESA
12.30 to 13.30 UTC: Session 3 - AfriSIG alumni reunion and PRIDA trainers reunion in two parallel sessions. This will include a debrief discussion on the global IGF for those who participated in it.
13.30 to 15.00 UTC: Session 4 - 5g in Africa: An in-depth look at the pros and cons. Presented by Steve Song and Peter Bloom
15.00 to 15.15 UTC: Closing