Capacity and expertise in internet governance in Africa will take another step forward with the second annual African School on Internet Governance (AfriSIG), taking place on 21-25 November 2014 in Mauritius.
The school, which has received an overwhelming response – 650 applicants, of which 45 have been selected – aims at building knowledge of internet governance institutions and processes, engaging people from governments, civil society, business and the technical and academic communities, shaping internet governance issues in Africa and internationally, and improving multi-stakeholder processes from the bottom up.
Organised by the NEPAD e-Africa Programme and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), the training will be held in the Republic of Mauritius, which will also host the Internet Numbers Registry for Africa’s (AFRINIC) 21st Public Policy Meeting.
Participants, faculty and resource persons represent more than 20 African countries and include international experts in the internet governance field such as the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society’s (HIIG) co-director; Jeanette Hoffmann; EndCode founder Pria Chetty; ICANN GNSO council member Avri Doria; and AFRINIC Chief Executive Officer Adiel Akplogan.
According to APC’s African policy project coordinator Emilar Vushe, this year’s AfriSIG cohort “will reflect on developments in internet governance, both at a regional and global level. The school will assess which policy and regulatory mechanisms and spaces impact on the internet, and where more debate and stakeholder engagement is needed.”
Participants will return to their countries committed to getting involved in internet policy and governance. They are given the tools to translate internet governance jargon into a language meaningful to their constituencies and colleagues at the parliament or regulatory agency, media organisations, academic centres and NGOs. The school familiarises participants 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 at AfriSIG 2013, said the relevance of the school is that it takes place at a time “when Africans are increasingly standing together to proclaim the renaissance of their economic, social, cultural and political arenas.”
Edmund Katiti, NEPAD’s policy and regulatory advisor on ICT, said last year’s school was a huge success. “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 AfriSIG 2013 participants demonstrated without any doubt that they also care about how, and by whom, it is governed.”
Internet governance is complex and participating effectively in internet governance processes is not easy. Few African countries have established sustainable open and inclusive policy discussion forums where government, civil society, businesses and technical people are able to collaborate to develop consistent national and institutional strategies aimed at mobilising the internet for economic, social, political and cultural development.
About the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)
NEPAD’s 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 that wants everyone to have access to a free and open internet to improve lives and create a more just world.
Phone: 59 82 622 8780