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A panel comprising the ITU Secretary General Hon. M. Houlin Zhao, ministers from several African countries, ICANN Vice-President Ms Anne-Rachel Inne, and delegates from Yahoo!, UNECA, and ACSIS discussed the challenges faced by Africa in benefiting from digital dividends in accordance with African Union 2063 Agenda and United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs) and also in line with the WSIS+10 Outcome Document.
Hon. Dr Tahani Abdalla Attia (Minister of Science Cnd communications, Sudan) mentioned that although there has been a remarkable increase in Internet penetration through the use of mobile devices, African countries do not benefit from the investment.
Zhao applauded Africans for their eagerness to talk about issues that affect development. Zhao also spoke about several positive developments, i.e., the consolidation of mobile roaming charges in East Africa, smart Africa initiatives, and mobile money, among other things. He also highlighted the increase in challenges associated with Internet development and usage and mentioned that there is a need for more partnerships and even collaboration from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in mobilising the global family to support development in Africa.
Ms Anne-Rachel Inne (ICANN Vice-President) spoke more about the infrastructural challenges faced in Africa and mentioned that one key solution would be for Africa to use an African infrastructure.
The panellists also highlighted that there is a need for collaboration among infrastructural families rather than isolating them. They supported a statement made by a participant who recommended that the problems faced needed to be addressed from where they were coming from.
Mr Kenta Mochizuki (Yahoo! Japan) read a statement in which he proposed the free-flow of information and multistakeholder collaboration. He also mentioned that Japan is committed to collaborating with Africa. Mochizuki also spoke about the need to ensure a safer Internet environment as the spread of smart phones and easy access to online content increases the misuse of the Internet.
by Nomsa Mwayenga