Between 3 and 9 September, 60 participants from 26 countries gathered in N’Djamena, Chad, for the seventh African School on Internet Governance (AfriSIG), a week of peer learning-based sessions that included hands-on experience which fellows had the opportunity to apply at the African Internet Governance Forum, which took place right after.
I have always been of the opinion that POLICY IS BORING, I say this every time I have the opportunity to be at gatherings where policy discussions, especially tech/internet policies are held and I also ask myself all of these times, what can I do to make these conversations more interesting to the people who the outcomes of these conversations will benefit the most?
The 2019 African Internet Governance Forum took place in N’Djamena, Chad, between 10-12 September, to much fanfare. Attending this continental event was a first for me, thanks to the African School on Internet Governance, which chose about 45 emerging internet leaders in the continent. I am humbled by this recognition.
From all the topics taught at the school, I was particularly fascinated by the topic “Internet governance and sustainable development, climate and the impact of the environment of digitalisation”. I was interested in understanding how internet governance should address sustainable development and a sustainable environment.
It is my hope that deliberations and inputs gathered during the panel discussion would form part of the continent’s report, especially notably the time paid in detailing Africa’s position in the digital economy.
How can accessibility in rural areas of Africa be improved? What are the challenges for women and girls in terms of internet access? How are internet shutdowns affecting African users? These are some of the issues that Josephine Militza, Sophie Ngassa and Amanda Manyame focus on, as African experts on internet access with a strong gender perspective.
As a technical person, I found the week-long school essential to having a good understanding of the governance side of the internet, which is different from running networks or conducting research on them. Topics related to digital rights, affordable internet access, internet history in Africa, sustainability, internet-related human rights, women and minorities’ participation, etc., were all covered, in addition to a number of other panel discussions and lectures.
When you think of internet governance, you think emerging technologies, Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). You imagine a room, filled with a plethora of ideas, industry leaders, government representatives, youth, civil society and academics. You, in essence, envisage the 8th African Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF).
ticipar en la Escuela de Gobernanza de Internet de Africa (AfriSIG, por su sigla en inglés) significó para mí varios descubrimientos: que existiera una institución que durante siete años estuviera enseñando de manera organizada este tema complejo, fue la primera lección.
African governments are one class of stakeholders that must contribute to the shaping of internet policy in a way that promotes safe, inclusive use of the internet in each of Africa’s respective countries. On paper, this is an easy proposition, but the reality is different.