[Update] Read the event report which summarises the key discussions during the 5th African Internet Governance Forum:
The fifth African Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF) took place in Durban, South Africa, on 16-18 October 2016. The meeting was hosted by the Government of South Africa and the African Union Commission. Over 200 participants from several countries attended the meeting.
The AfIGF brought together ministers from the continent, policy and regulatory heads, civil society, industry and other important stakeholders.
The AfIGF aims to be a platform for inclusive, multilateral, multi-stakeholder and multilingual discussion on issues pertinent to the Internet in Africa. The themes for this year’s AfIGF were inclusive development and the digital transformation of Africa.
In the opening ceremony, Minister Dr Siyabonga Cwele, Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services of South Africa, said that the global community has been advocating for the Internet to be open, technology neutral, resilient, interoperable and responsive to growth needs for all. He stated that Africa is guided by the African Union Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection adopted in 2014, the objectives of the AU Pan African e-Network, Pan African Radio & TV, the AU Space Agency, Dot Africa and Regional Internet Exchange Points projects. He said that the African continent must pay attention to infrastructure access, affordability and skilling in order for all citizens to be able to take advantage of the Internet and the Internet economy value chain.
Internet Society's Vice President of Global Engagement, Mr Raúl Echeberría, acknowledged success achieved with Internet Governance, especially at the national and regional levels where action is being taken. He advocated diversity and involvement of all stakeholders in order to ensure the relevance of decisions and actions undertaken.
There was significant participation from the youth who a week earlier had attended the fourth African School on Internet Governance (AfriSIG), convened by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). The youth gave a statement on Internet shutdowns, recognising the role of governments in maintaining state security, but also demonstrating how the shutdowns affect the social and economical activities of citizens.
A high-level session was held which issued recommendations on shaping the future of the Internet in Africa, Internet of Things, and e-commerce, and culminated in the Durban Declaration on Internet governance.
During the Inclusive Development and Digital Transformation in Africa session, Mr Lucky Masilela, member of the dotAfrica Steering Committee, referred to the ongoing battle over the management of the .africa domain; Nairobi-based DotConnectAfrica has taken ICANN to court for delegating control of the domain to South Africa's ZACR. Mr Masilela said that any delay in the .africa delegation meant the continent was being denied progress in inclusive development and digital transformation. He added that further delay of the delegation of .africa deprives Africa from participating in the digital economy.
In the same session, Mr Alan Barrette, the CEO of Africa Network Information Centre (AFRINIC), urged Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to deploy IPv6 to their end users because IPv4 is at the end of its life. He said that all regions of the world apart from Africa have exhausted their IPv4 blocks. He also said Africa needs to implement Internet Exchange points to exchange traffic within the continent, and keep local traffic local, thus reducing data transit costs.
Mr Moctar Yedaly, Head Information Society Division at AUC, said that The African Union draft Declaration on Internet Governance will be submitted to the AU policy organs for consideration and adoption.
The African IGF charter was presented by Ms Mary Uduma, Managing Director at Jaeno Digital Solutions Ltd and ex-President of the Executive Board of the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA). The charter sought to create a continent-wide Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) to facilitate the AfIGF activities.
The key recommendations from the AfIGF were:
by Mwendwa Kivuva, Internet Society Kenya Chapter
The 5th meeting of the African Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF) will be held on 16-18 October 2016, in Durban, South Africa. The meeting will be hosted by the government of South Africa.
The two major themes that will be discussed at AfIGF 2016 are: inclusive development and the digital transformation of Africa, and Internet governance in Africa - building a gender balanced and truly inclusive multistakeholder model.
The African Internet Governance Forum aims to be a platform for inclusive, multilateral, multistakeholder and multilingual discussion on issues pertinent to the Internet in Africa, in general, and Internet governance issues in particular. The forum was formally launched in September 2011, at the initiative of sub-regional African IGF, in cooperation with the African Union Commission and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
For more information about AfIGF 2016, visit the event website.