Session: Open Forum
[Read more session reports and live updates from the 11th Internet Governance Forum]
Ms Nirvana Farrag, Director-General, International Cooperation Department at the Egyptian Cabinet IDSC, gave a summary of the role of ICT and its impact on developing countries. She spoke about how people can use the Internet to promote awareness in all segments of society through the SDGs to achieve a digital economy and develop an equitable and competitive national ICT industry. All public affairs should be more interactive and establish e-development, good for all vital sectors.
Mr Wael Abdel Aal, Chairman of the Egyptian Telemedicine Foundation, said that we need another 4 million doctors and we to develop expertise to deal with the telegraph program. E-health projects need good partnerships and e-learning for doctors. Telemedicine means transferring a medical image through interactive videos and remote live streaming and using mobile, for example, by simple apps to do better work. Establishing a curriculum for content selection is important. More resources are needed to build the telehealth model: a good service provider, the technical set-up, an organisational structure, training and workshops, and collaboration with Africa on health issues through partnerships.
Ms Mary Uduma, President of Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA), identified 5 basic needs: education, food, health and environment by leveraging ICT in health problems, women, and rural communities. Without a political will, ICT or the Internet cannot help solve those problems. In Africa, young people are quite able and willing to learn and to use ICT for a better enabling environment. Through globalisation, government takes advantage of solar power, education, food health, environment, and people’s knowledge of ICT but the top-down approach to developing policies and programme is ineffective. The community will not buy into it. Governments need to start talking to the community. In Nigeria, the Universal Access ICT fund gave 10 computers for one year to unconnected schools and asked the community to participate in ICT policies.
Ms Abir Shakwir, Advisor to the Egyptian Minister of Communications and Information Technology for Social Responsibility and Services, mentioned that there is a lack of coordination among ministries and policy institutions. The government needs to develop strategy for the ministry on ICT through social responsibility to serve poor and elderly people and the illiterate; to empower orphans and offer better opportunities; to form and ICT sector committee to help organize and facilitate development. The Committee would ensure that each partner is implementing their part of the project, for example, developing labs.
They looked at themes and worked with 400 schools on ICT for people with disabilities to, empower them and train them for job opportunities. This project was challenging. People were not sure of their level of productivity. We collaborated through innovation and with the support of Arabic content through ICT, developing an Egyptian slum and rural areas, creating 34 inclusive community centres, and offering training for the youth. Work is underway to develop another centre and expand to 200 schools. The target is to reach 800 schools.
Mr Jameson Olivieu, Chair of Affecta Nigeria talked about how Egypt is the only African country who organised a workshop in the IGF. It is high time for Africa to do the right thing and put a national e-strategy in place. Africa needs to implement SDGs through policy review and policy adaptation. This is the way to go, social responsibility. There no strategy for sustainability or government partnering with all stakeholders. The government needs to increase the level of relationship, partnership and engagement to create a level playground for the strategy in the health sector, the education sector and the labour sector. New jobs have to be created; people cannot get the right information and nobody responds. There government has projects when it has a strategy. Transparency and accountability are need for people across the different regions in Nigeria. There is a need for direct feedback through innovation and dialogue use to extend community-driven policies. The government needs to lead and lead strategically; the community needs to promote and advocate that ICT should be used for transparency and accountability.
Mrs Nesrine El Molla, Head of Monitoring and Evaluation division at the World Food Programme Egypt, spoke of how the WFP is using ICT for developing economies to fight hunger, to support food security for the most vulnerable in Africa. SDG2, fighting hunger, touches on other SDGs through enhancing gender equality, partnership, and the livelihood of people. We need to learn how to use technology to empower the government to use ICT to monitor food security and intervention. Without ICT, we cannot reach Syrian refugees. Through Geo-reference we can collect data. We have the monitoring tools we need to see the impact of ICT on the people we target and we reach.
Mr Moctar Yedaly, Head of Division and Infrastructure, at the African Union commission, spoke about Africa which is actually using ICT for socioeconomic development. Africa should not miss the fourth digital industrialisation. There is a need to use ICT for economic development. The mindset has to change: why don’t we have a renewable energy through a digital platform? Let’s start a new political dream to trigger a new African thinking.