ICT policy priorities in Africa
Information Communication Technology policy covers the Telecommunications, the Radio-TV and the Internet and are critical at that moment with two issues: access and civil liberties. Africa is the continent with the least access to the ICTs even if every had already access to Internet; it is a need to redefine sectoral policies, regulations and boundaries institutions. ICT touch and affects us on almost all aspects of our modern life and African would use it as a tool to meet the MOD goals, to build social justice and human rights at national and regional level. For example if a government does not encouraged the telecoms operators by the regulators to roll out services in rural areas, people there will have to use mobile phone services which are more expensive. As also, with the Internet, globalization is a reality, people could have access to a global level to promote social justice; ICT policy is a key factor to fight this. We have to use the ICTs in a new way for the benefit of African human beings and we have to adapt them to meet our real needs.
It is time now to act before the policies will be consolidated and decided by developed countries because it is easier to create better policies than reverse them.
In conclusion I can say that ICT Policy is a critical need of attention for Africa because the way ICTs are developed will have a big impact on the way of building social justice, human rights and sustainable development in our countries. If we do not be involved and pat of this process, we will not be part of our future development.
ICT Policies varies from country to country and in Africa, where they are less developed, the most important to intervene in the near future, outside of access to ICTs, is after Internet governance for sustainable human and social development IG4D,outright restrictions and lack of freedoom : privacy, intellectual property restrictions, infrastructure monopolies, broadband, wireless connectivity, etc…
It is important to take care of human rights: security, openness and privacy and their impact on human rights.
ICTs and specially the Internet have to be managed as a right and it is important to link human rights to Internet governance. For example if a government disconnects people from the Internet it is a human rights violation. The Internet is independent of any physical or geographical position or any government, business or person.It is also a catalyst and tool for democratization of power. By that way, the Internet becomes a tool to promote and protect human rights. The Internet has to be used to obtain dissemination and communication of information and knowledge.The Internet is changing the use of the information and ICTs is a key tool for the promotion of human rights, used by the HR organizations.
The relationship between the Internet and Human rights is more and more important because the Internet becomes more universal and global. The relation is also complex as the Internet affects a lot of aspects of our modern life. That is why it is important to adopt Human rights as a main them for the next Internet Governance Forum to understand how policies regarding the Internet and rights are taken and where we can do pressure to have influence to change.