ICT policy set to change – Minister of Information and Communication backs change for the better
NAIROBI, KENYA, Jul 27
Kenya’s new Minister of Information and Communication, Hon. Raphael Tuju, has announced his support for the liberalisation and advancement of ICT policy in Kenya following a week-long ICT policy advocacy workshop in Nairobi.
The multi-stakeholder workshop – which ran from 19–23 July – brought together some of the most influential ICT policy stakeholders from civil society organisations (CSOs), the private sector and the media from nine African countries. These stakeholders worked together throughout the workshop to identify national ICT policy issues that affect them, and citizens in general.
The high cost of internet services and fixed line telephony was fore-grounded as one of the most important issues. Participants now feel they have the advocacy skills to lobby government for lower pricing and tariffs.
In Kenya, if the new Minister has his way, there may not be much lobbying to do. Invited to join the workshop, but unable to attend due to other commitments, the Minister joined participants for a closing cocktail event at which he announced the Ministry’s support for lower tariffs and for ICT policy advancement in general.
The Hon. Tuju noted that “In Kenya, I do realise that we have problems with our telephony connectivity and the snail’s pace in connectivity, as well as the high costs of international calls”, but assured participants and other guests that the Minister himself and the Ministry was dedicated to change and looking forward to action from all those involved in ICT policy.
The workshop, organised by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), included representatives from civil society organisations (CSOs), the private sector, government, and the media, from Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Ethiopia and Nigeria. They gathered in Nairobi to learn from each other’s advocacy challenges and came away from the week with practical action plans to advocate for change in their national ICT sector. The different stakeholder groups developed a much better understanding of one another – an essential basis from which to begin collaborating in policy advocacy.
The APC, through its Communications and Information Policy Programme, aims to contribute to more enabling ICT policy environments through promoting inclusive policy processes in which stakeholders are active participants.
The workshop was supported by Catalysing Access to ICTs in Africa (CATIA), a programme of the UK Department for International Development (DFID) http://www.catia.ws and the International Development Research Centre, Canada (IDRC/CRDI) http://www.idrc.ca.
The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) is an international network of civil society organisations dedicated to empowering and supporting groups and individuals through the strategic use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), especially internet-related technologies. Founded in 1990, APC and members supported locally-managed email connectivity
especially in Africa before internet services were available commercially. By 1992, APC networks were providing connections to the internet and/or email to organisations and individuals in 94 countries.
APC internet rights and ICT policy: http://rights.apc.org
APC Africa ICT policy monitor: http://africa.rights.apc.org
Catalysing Access to ICTs in Africa: http://www.catia.ws
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
APC CATIA Project Coordinator
Telefax: +254 020 4443424
PO Box 34299
00623, Nairobi, Kenya
Photos: Participants at the workshop held in Nairobi