First African school on internet governance yields 35 graduates
JOHANNESBURG, Jul 16
Africa’s capacity and expertise in internet governance has taken a step forward with the recent training of 35 participants from fifteen African countries in a special, three-day course.
Organised by the NEPAD Agency’s e-Africa Programme and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), the training, titled African School on Internet Governance, was the first in a series of annual workshops and was held in the South African coastal town of Durban.
The training course was modelled after similar international initiatives in Europe and Latin America. Participants returned to their countries committed to translate the ever changing and evolving world of internet governance into a language meaningful to their constituencies: colleagues at the parliament or regulatory agency, media organisations, academic centres, NGOs. The school familiarised trainees with topics such as the history of the internet, international processes in internet governance, the importance of names and numbers, the balance between privacy and security and other topics related to the rules and principles that govern the internet.
Melaku Girma, a participant from Ethiopia, summarised the impact of the school: “The first AfriSIG took place at a time when Africans are increasingly standing together to proclaim the renaissance of their economic, social, cultural and political arenas. I want to express my heartfelt appreciation and respect for the AfriSIG organisers, APC and NEPAD, and the attendees. Let’s keep the school running every year in Africa.”
Edmund Katiti, NEPAD’s Policy and Regulatory Advisor on ICT, said the training was a huge success “The high interest of the participants and their ability to engage in the discussion was most encouraging. There is no doubt that this initiative should be continued and taken to different regions of the continent,” he said.
Anriette Esterhuysen, executive director of APC, stated that “Africans care about the internet, and not only about getting access to it. The enthusiasm and commitment of AfriSIG13 participants demonstrated without any doubt that they also care about how, and by whom, it is governed.”
Dr. Dumisani Moyo from the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa (OSISA), one of the supporters of the event, remarked that at OSISA sees “the AfriSIG as a useful platform for training and producing a core of experts who are able to eloquently speak about internet policy and governance issues in our region so that this critical resource is managed in a manner that advances the public good. A free and open internet is critical to building and consolidation of democracy.”
Multistakeholder participation is a critical component of internet governance. Ms Titi Akinsami from Google, another organisation that supported the event, emphasised that “Google is committed to the development of capacity across stakeholders that ensures the continuing free and open nature of the internet.”
The e-Africa programme works in the area of information technology to promote Africa as a globally competitive digital society. It aims to pursue cross-sector initiatives so that ICT is entrenched in all social sectors.
About the Association for Progressive Communications
APC is an international network and non-profit organisation founded in 1990 to promote and protect the use of information and communication technology (ICT) by all individuals, particularly those living in developing countries.
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