APC member KICTANeT at the IGF: Bringing East African perspectives

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By Alice Munyua for KICTANet

HYDERABAD, India, 05 December 2008

Alice Munyua, of APC Member Kenya ICT Action Network and Director of the Communications Commission of Kenya, spoke at the IGF opening ceremony on 3 December. In her speech, she highlighted the East African Internet Governance Forum (EAIGF) held in early November as the first of its kind in the African region. “[The EAIGF] was initiated from the realisation that there was a need to address very limited participation by Africa stakeholders in not only the Internet Governance Forum but also in other global ICT policy processes.” The event was a follow-up to other international governance forums held in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda, in which the focus was identifying local priority issues in the respective countries.

Mr. Chairman, Your Excellencies, distinguished guests and all the remote participants, Kenya wishes to thank India for hosting the third Internet Governance Forum and to extend our sympathy over the recent acts of terrorism experienced in Mumbai.

The Tunis WSIS summit on the Information Society underscored the need for multi-stakeholder processes initiated at the national, regional and international levels to discuss and collaborate on the expansion and the vision of the internet as a means to support development efforts to achieve internationally-agreed development goals and objectives, including the MDGs.

It was in this regard that Kenya organised and hosted the first East African Internet Governance Forum that took place from November 10 – 11 in Nairobi. The forum’s main theme was opening the internet governance debate in East Africa, thinking globally and acting locally.

It was a follow up to international governance forums held in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda to identify our own local priority issues in the respective countries.

The national IG issues were also used as a building block, which is called the East African IGF.

This forum was attended approximately by over 180 stakeholders drawn from the business, civil society, media, academia, government, as well as individual internet users and others.

This was the first of its kind in the African region and was initiated from the realisation that there was a need to address very limited participation by African stakeholders in not only the Internet Governance Forum but also in other global ICT policy processes.

It was organised through a collaborative partnership between various government institutions from the region, including the various regulatory authorities of the East African countries, the private sector entities, civil society, media, as well as international partners including the ITU, ISOC and the others.

Some of the priority issues and recommendations identified by the East African IGF meeting, well, one of them and the most important was around universal affordable access. And from that perspective, not from an incremental approach, rather focusing on creating which incremental approach focuses on creating more consumers who are looking at affordable access, looking at creating entrepreneurs, allowing for innovation that then eventually would translate to social, economic, cultural and political benefits for all.

The EAIGF also looked at the issues of capacity and skills and noted that as one of the important priority issues as well as the management of critical internet resources, including transition from internet protocol version four to version six and more clarity and improved collaboration in the re-delegation of country code top level domain names, specifically top-level domains, specifically the dot UG in Uganda and the dot RW in Rwanda.

Issues of cybercrime, cybersecurity, privacy, were considered a priority as well, with ideas and recommendations around the creation of a setting up of a national computer readiness team, as well as computer security incident response team and strategies.

The development of national and regional internet exchange points was considered very important, and it is already in process in some of the East African countries.

The East African Internet Governance Forum acknowledged the importance of the multi-stakeholder process introduced by the WSIS, and for us in the East African region, it has worked and it has worked very well, especially in Kenya in terms of especially development of the ICT process and the whole regulatory process. So it is crucial that we continue to work with all stakeholders, giving them all an equal footing in not only the Internet Governance Forum, but in all other Internet policy related processes, both at the national, regional, and international levels.

Finally, it is going to become a national event prior to the Internet Governance Forum and is going to be hosted by the government of Tanzania in 2009 just prior to the Cairo Internet Governance Forum. We wish to thank India again, and thank you, all, for your attention.

Alice Munyua is coordinator for Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) and a commissioner in the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK).

(END/2008)

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