19 November 2013

International Leaders Programme: Report on the African Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF)

By Kgomotso Radijeng and Sarah Kaddu

Report on the African Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF)

23-16 September 2013 Nairobi, Kenya 

1. Introduction

The AfIGF held its Second Annual face-to-face Forum at the Multimedia University of Nairobi, Kenya, on 23rd-26th, September 2013 under the theme: "Building Bridges"- Enhancing Multi-stakeholder Cooperation for Growth and Sustainable Development. A total of two hundred (200) Internet Governance stakeholders from 29 countries representing governments, private sector, civil society, regional and international organisations attended this meeting. The AfIGF 2013 was organised around: A regional Consultation on Cyber Security in Africa organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC); a Workshop organised by the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) on the Protection of Private Data in Francophone African Countries : experiences and practices and the Workshop organised by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC),Centre for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and NEPAD on Sustainable and Effective Multi-stakeholder participation in ICT Policy Processes in Africa.

2. Pre-conference Workshops

The pre conference workshops were on: (i) Cyber Security in Africa, (ii) Protection of Private Data, and (iii) Multi-stakeholder participation. Notable recommendations from the workshops, among others, were; protection of children on cyber space, capacity building and education for stakeholders and other relevant parties on issues of internet governance, recognition of the role of public spaces such as libraries and schools on cyber security, stakeholder engagement, investment on research, the creation of a balance between data protection and civil rights, multi-stakeholder cooperation both nationally and regionally, harmonisation of national policy with regional policy, and that governments should be accommodating and engage more with stakeholders on policy development.

3. Main conference

Some of the notable recommendations made at this session were; capacity building for stakeholders, legislators and law enforcement agencies, investment on research and development, digital inclusion, to encourage countries to adopt Open Source software, uphold fundamental Human Rights and their principles in the development of national and regional Internet policies, and enhance multi-stakeholder collaboration. Emphasis was placed on stakeholder cooperation and creations of a balance between data protection, the right to access to information and the privacy of an information seeker.

4. Way forward for IFLA

The library community is advised to take this opportunity to position themselves so that when implementation takes off they are in a position to participate effectively. Particular focus should be on:

  • Education for both users and librarians – capacity building for librarians to be able to understand what is cyber security as well as awareness building for library users;
  • Privacy v State security and freedom of access to information;
  • Public spaces – the role that libraries as public access spaces play in cyber security;
  • Cooperation with other stakeholders in protecting users’ privacy versus state security (legal issues and freedom of access to information);
  • Development of legislation – taking the appropriate stance to ensure that libraries are properly included in new legislation.

LDP (Library Development Programme), Internet access, Africa, kenya, IGF, Internet Governance Forum

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