16 SEPTEMBER 10
SESSION R/N 6
WEST AFRICAN IGF
Note: The following is the output of the real-time captioning taken during Fifth Meeting of the IGF, in Vilnius. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
(standing by for audio.)
(Workshop in Progress:)
They also discussed on managing critical Internet resources and the two issues that came up from these discussions, there was need for cooperation among member states in the region and at regional level. We need key partners in the region. Also we need the ISPs. Secondly it was also encouraged data centres should be regionally managed to maximize West African resources and create programmes among the members in West Africa.
BEN AKOH: Thank you very much, Emila. Let me quickly add a few comments in terms of the survey we conducted. This survey is available and you can get a copy if you want. Contact me and I'll send you a copy. But the interest is to be able to support policy through research, through study of Internet Governance issues and policy type issues. And we are not just providing to advocate for things in the region that we come from, just by hearsay but that these things are actually backed by some empirical study and data.
We embarked on conducting a research in all of the countries that we wanted to engage with, and that are in the process of having local, national Internet Governance Forum, and we chose, there are seven countries originally from the project, that we had conducted this research at.
What we found substantial are statistical relevant data or responses from only four of those countries.
What we did was to aggregate this four countries, and use that data to give us what we thought was a good representation of West Africa.
These four countries are actually very nicely spread, Burkina Faso, Togo which would represent the west side of Africa and Ghana which would represent -- if you understand West Africa well, you realize there is a huge spread along language lines. It is mostly French, English, and a few countries, a couple countries that are Portuguese in that part of African continent. They represented for us those countries that have substantial data that we could use.
It is interesting to understand where these countries come from, in terms of their IT type data. For instance, 2008 density, in Ghana, 1.1 person. In Togo there are two people in every hundred that has access to a telephone line.
In terms of fixed broadband, however, there are less people in, not up to one person has broadband access. 0.1 in Ghana, 0.5 in Nigeria, 0.04 in every hundred person. You are talking about in Ghana for instance, one person in 1,000 that has access to broadband, and even less in the other countries. That is not the case in terms of penetration rates. There are more penetration in some of the countries than it is broadband connection.
For instance, Burkina Faso has 20 persons for every hundred persons in mobile telephony compared to 63 person in every hundred in Ghana; whereas for Internet users there are more in Nigeria than there are in the other countries. Ghana and Togo for instance have five in every hundred persons compared to Nigeria, 28, which is quite an interesting comparison.
But when we carried out the survey we did find some interesting information. For instance, one of the major findings we had was that there were more men, more male than female that filled out the survey.
We weren't quite sure whether this was a reflection of the distribution of the survey or this was actually a reflection of the usage of Internet. But it certainly indicates to us that there were more men that had access to filling out the survey and could perhaps be reflection of the fact that there were more men that had access to the Internet than it is women. It was challenging and the numbers are interesting. There were over 70 percent male to the female that filled out the survey. One of the key findings we found regard from the survey was that most of West Africans feel there should be Government in the Internet Governance process, that Government was largely absent from Internet Governance process.
It wasn't quite clear to us whether this was because this, the process of dialogue is usually, was usually, was spearheaded by civil society institutions, Non-governmental Organizations, or it was more as a result of the fact that Government was not engaged in the process at all from the beginning.
So it's not so clear to us from the survey finding why there were no Government or very few Government institutions that were part of the governance process in West Africa.
But clearly, it says that Government was likely missing, and they should be at the negotiating table.
Certain parts of the survey made some strong impressions on us. Access clearly remains a big and a key concern for a lot of people. We find that privacy and security is also another key concern for most West Africans, not so much in the area of critical Internet resources, or intellectual property rights.
It doesn't mean that these are not issues that West Africans are concerned, but I guess the issues of access as well as the issues of privacy and security seems to be more higher up in the needs or requirements of West Africans than it is issues of critical Internet resources or intellectual property rights.
One last finding I'm probably going to talk about is that West Africans believe that there should be a much broader participation around areas of Internet policy discourse in this region. It means that so far, the discussion has been very narrow, and has kind of remained within the arena of the Internet technical people.
But the survey findings indicates that it should be spread out to a much larger percentage of people, because it has impacts on social -- West Africans felt there should be mechanisms to encourage much broader civil society participation. And this included all sorts of institutions, Non-governmental Organizations that work in the area of health, in education, environment and so on and so forth. So it was an interesting finding.
Like I said earlier from the beginning, if you need a copy of this, you send me an E-mail. And I can send you this interim report. The report is still, the survey is still ongoing. We are trying to get as many West African countries to send in some more information as possible to respond to the survey as possible for us to have a much broader picture of this.
So that's how that went. This was something we presented at the West African Forum. But it does raise a few questions. This is what we will talk about briefly from you. We would like to hear from you what you think about this findings, and also engage in terms of how do you think we should be taking this sort of engagement forward, given the survey findings. Given the report that we have heard from Emila, we are trying to find ways from the international community and using the global IGF platform to take some of these things forward. What are your suggestions? How would you advise that we engage some more, particularly in the area of linking of regional IGFs, regional process to the global process.
Clearly we are having this sort of Forum, I think the first time in all the years of the IGFs, but is this sufficient just to talk about it here? Is there some other step that we should be engaged in or what sort of approach should the IGF be taking in terms of moving things forward and getting more collaboration or bridging the gap between the global policies space and the national and regional policy spaces?
Please, let's have some comments, any questions also and see how things go. Yes. You want to use the mic. Don't forget to say your name and where you are from and your affiliation, so people that are part of remote hub also can participate and comment.
It's going to make my question much longer, it was a very short one. From Nigeria, a quick question about the survey. You said it's an ongoing survey. Is this by the IDRC?
BEN AKOH: No, this is a survey by IISD, International Institute for Sustainable Development.
It is ongoing?
BEN AKOH: Yes.
Okay. Do you want to give us the URL, so we can spread the word on that also?
BEN AKOH: Most definitely. We don't have it up on the Web site right now. That is why it is an interim report, because there is more data and more information coming, there are more respondents on the survey. We would like to have as much as we can, so it actually gives a much better representation of the region than we currently have. I can send you an internal report, not a final copy which would eventually make it out to the URL, to our Web site. Any other comments, questions?
AMBROSE RUYOOKA: Thank you. My name is Ambrose Ruyooka, from Uganda. You mentioned that you wouldn't get enough participation from Government officials and governments. What steps have you taken to get Government participation in the process? Thank you.
BEN AKOH: Thank you very much. You want to also ask your question? And we can try and respond to them.
GLORIA ATWINE KATUUKU: Thank you very much. It's almost similar to what my colleague from Uganda said. My name is Gloria, I work with ministry of ICT in Uganda. You were talking about Government involvement and all that. I know right now, the Internet, the Forum itself is being perceived as a civil society thing, especially in my country where I'm coming from.
This last two years also the Government has got involved more rapidly. But previously it was, so I wanted to know the steps you are putting in place to make sure that the Government is involved. Thank you.
BEN AKOH: Okay, thank you very much. Those two questions, let me try and attempt or let me attempt to respond to them. Also, if people from remote, our remote participants have comments, they can also comment or send in questions.
In terms of a bit of background, WSIS was more governmental. Association at WSIS supposed to be more broad-based but it wasn't, it was more focused on Government and government agencies.
But after Tunis, there were more focus on multistakeholder participation. That was a mandate, one of the mandates to WSIS at Tunis for more broad-based participation.
The IGF was supposed to address that. But the IGF eventually gave a perception of more civil society participation than it is Government participation. The IGF has run for five years. It is interesting, ma'am, that you think that over the last two years there has been a few Government participation.
Perhaps that is true. But if you do look at the participant lists for the last five years, you realize that very few African Government participants make it to the IGF, very few. You would observe that perhaps, maybe Kenya for instance has some Government participation and the other country in West Africa is Ghana that has government participation. But besides these two countries, there has been practically very few Government participation from the continent as a whole. That in itself poses a challenge at the WSIS. Whereas for Europe and a few of the other regions, there are a continents, you do find participants or participation coming from them, from their Government, Africa doesn't hold that level of participation.
Then the question becomes why? Why don't we see that level of participation? There has been a few thoughts around that. One of the thoughts has been that there is not, the IGF is construed as a discussion only platform, and therefore there is no binding structure on any, or binding decision-making to any state, which puts it at the position where it becomes difficult for African governments to participate, not because they can not participate but there is no incentive for that sort of participation, which in a way is, that is one way to argue for the lack of participation of west, of African governments. But it is interesting to hear what you think about that and how you think we can broaden participation at the global level.
Also I will try to address the question at the local or regional and national level because those are important that we can bring governments into, on to the table.
ANDREW MAC: My name is Andrew Mac. I work with the consulting firm called AM Global in Washington. We do a lot of work in Africa. I've been to all of the, I was in Nairobi in March, and have been to the Marrakesh event and spent a lot of time working with these issues on the continent specifically. The way you describe the experience in West Africa is very different from the way that I have heard it, about it in the recent East Africa, the Kampala meetings and Kenya meeting, where a lot of the people who participated said two things that I thought was interesting and very good. One was that there actually was a fair amount of Government participation.
Second of all, that they found that the fact that there was an open platform where they could get together with Government, without pressure, right, without being in someone's office or talking about a very specific agenda item, actually gave them the ability to do some really good things.
I would suggest that especially since a lot of the countries where we have worked, a lot of this agenda is still being formulated, since in other countries, Government was the start-up or was the engine that got this started. In your case a lot of the time it is being brought in by the private sector and independent sector.
I would suggest this is actually a great opportunity for you. We can turn the same argument that you just made on its head and say, there is even more incentive, because you can start from the very beginning and on a more collaborative basis. I know that oftentimes relationships with Government are very difficult and sometimes Government themselves will say we don't have the capacity.
This is an area where NGOs and private sector can be helpful to Government. I would flip it over and see it as an opportunity. That's all.
BEN AKOH: Thank you very much for that comment. No doubt, actually, I think we do see the value of having governments at the table, and like we said, that is one of the outcomes of the meeting that we had, that civil society would actually love to see governments participate at this forums.
The challenge has been getting them there. That is the difficulty. How do you incentivize Government? How do you make this enticing enough for them to want to participate? That has been the challenge, especially for West African countries.
The model in Kenya is fantastic. I think everybody talks about it. We all like it. There must have been something that they did to bring Government on the table. Kenyon process, incents IGF, started way back where civil society began to talk about local technology issues and slowly they got into Telecom policy and so on and so forth, and then the infrastructure, the cables and so on and eventually Government got on board, and got interested.
It transcends the IGF. It made a lot of sense for the Government to leverage what existed already, in terms of moving on global, rather national policy discussions.
I think for that region, East Africa, because that already existed, it made sense for the other countries in the region to benefit from that already successful model or structure. But West Africa is vast and diverse. West Africa is totally different from East Africa, in a lot of ways.
The challenges are there. We would like to see how, what would be the concrete steps? What would be the concrete proposal in terms of engaging Governments?
If I can, briefly, the thing that I think works so well about Kenya, it has two pieces to it. One is that it really is a kind of coalition of everyone, everyone working together and the Government has said yeah, this is in our benefit.
The second thing that I think that works so well, the way that I understand it, is they have really, you look around places like West Africa, youth unemployment, young adult unemployment is a big issue. Right? What they have done is thought about this very much through the lens of job creation and through the lens of furthering education, things like that. Those are direct drivers, where Government is already spending a lot of money.
It becomes not just a technology issue but it becomes very much of a jobs issue. I think that would get a lot of Government attention. That is the way we, it is partly the way we do it even with IGF USA.
Thank you very much.
I'm from Uganda and work for Government, ministry of ICT. Kenya are my neighbors. But coming here, for the last three years, the priorities that we take as Government, they have been driven from the discussions of IGF. When they come, they say it is not working, there is no Internet for community and what, we migrate from IPv version 4, to IPv version 6. We mention those issues, how can we leverage on that and move this agenda forward.
My comment is how we can manage other areas. But the second point is, my understanding of the IGF at the global level, it is accountable. I stand to be corrected. This understanding of IGF, it is accountable to a public international public institution. When you do the original IGFs, who are they accountable to? That should be the question that we need to understand.
Should there be an effect, so at the global Forum we have UN convening, and I understand the UN is considered of the various governments. How would we trickle this down, the different governments, to also get buy-in of what has been organized at the global level by the UN? There is a linkage that has to be there. Because it is governments, what makes you in at the global level. It cannot be without the Government, governments, some level of account ability I would add. Thank you.
BEN AKOH: Thank you for those comments. Think about what you just said. I'll throw the question back to you. How would you get us specifically to actually build this level of accountability at that level?
It would be interesting to hear your response from that. But go ahead, sir.
Thank you. Same to, similar things as he said. I'm a regulator from Ghana West Africa. I'm here out of curiosity, because I've wondered why there hasn't been that grounds, bottoms/up activity. I'm used to the ITU process, where study groups, various, decide the things to do going forward and we implement creative regulations and things like that. But in the Internet Governance world, civil society must really bring things up to Government and regulators, and engage us, rather than us going down to them.
I was having a chat with a programme outside and realizing that when I came in here, IGF West Africa, only a few people are the people. We have some big brains back home. Dr. Queno is from Ghana. But I think what needs to happen is the youth must be engaged, because there is a lot of cultural nuances that go into these things in our part of the world, young people are not allowed to speak when their elders are speaking.
But for this work, we have to turn things upside down and encourage the young ones to bring issues up for discussion. As the gentleman said, youth unemployment is big in our part of the world. Government is sensitive to that and spends a lot of money in that area.
We have to find a way where we engage the youth, and also governments that there is some value in listening to the youth, and using the Internet and all that kind of stuff to solve some of these problems. And gradually, perhaps we can begin to get that interaction. Otherwise, I've been a regulator for almost ten years and it's been one-sided. It has always been top/down. I believe that the way we can change things is to get the youth in our part of the world, get them interested and supporting them, so that the values of the Internet can really be realized for us also. The situation in East Africa is totally different from what is in West Africa now. I'm quite surprised.
Yeah, thank you so much. Thank you. You didn't quite mention your name.
Joe Shokopra from National Communication Authority.
JOE SHOKOPRA: I have a comment. There is a presence of ministry of ICTs in Cote d'Ivoire as a part of their process. There is some form of Government inclusion in the process. But that is, I believe in countries that have had national process. To step back a little, what we have observed going into this Forum is that there weren't national processes that happened in most of the countries in West Africa. For instance, Ghana or Nigeria, for instance, didn't hold a national process, whereas Cote d'Ivoire and Senegal had a national process, and because of that they had some resolutions or recommendations that included their Government which would bring their Government into the process going forward. That was key in a way.
In designing the West African process we did make all of this planning, but of course there was a factor of funding which crippled the process. We couldn't get that national online discussion list going, and then of course have a face-to-face meeting and subsequently the regional Forum. We put the cart in front of the horse in a way. But that doesn't mean we cannot build on this further.
That doesn't mean we cannot have the right process, have a national online discussion, talk about the critical issues in our countries, and then have the face-to-face where we actually engage all of this multi stakeholders before we come to a global Forum like this.
I think that is quite key and important. When we get back this time of course, we will engage in those processes.
But it's important that we realise that the stakeholders are not on the table as it is right now. And that we do something specifically about it.
I want to raise two particular comments that both of you talked about. One of them is on cultural, our cultural inclination which we talked about, that there has a cultural inclination seems to dictate to us that we cannot hear the youth talk to us. 'that is something that perhaps needs to change, which is regional, cultural thing.
Perhaps we want to take that message back to our countries, that the Internet Governance Forum, Internet as a whole is a leveler of sorts, and doesn't quite, I wouldn't say it doesn't respect age and that, but it does level in terms of engagement, and therefore, when we talk about the policies that should underpin this infrastructure in our countries, we should be willing or open to hear everybody talk about it.
You did talk about youth employment or youth as a critical part. I think that is something that we can, we would like to take back to our countries. And if the youth would actually spearhead such initiatives, I guess we will gain some traction.
Thank you very much. Maybe I would defer a little bit from what I'm hearing. If I look at the room I see Government or civil society and any other industry, so I won't see that Government doesn't want or are not participating. Probably we are not giving them the right message, that where we probably have to think about our process and see how we can present the message to the Government and to the civil society and to the industry with a common ground.
That common ground will then put everybody together because we have many people from civil society here at IGF, from Africa, from West Africa, from private sector. But they are not here. So we have a lot of challenges from our region, we are talking about West Africa here, the cultural, the legacy of the telecommunication story in our country, whereby Government has been playing the leading role in developing to the communication infrastructure before. Now we are talking about the Internet, it is the industry that is leading where the Government was left behind for long time now.
It will be more about the question. We have experiment, West Africa IGF, three consecutive years now. From the feedback there was less Government from all the country. But we have like Cote d'Ivoire, the Government is very involved. Ghana, the Government is involved. Senegal, the Government is willing to step in.
Can we use those three countries as kind of leading country, by identified people from those governments who can take the message out, and answering the question from my friend from Uganda. Take those message to the original organisation, whereby original regulator association in the region where Government represent, somehow because of their participation, the idea is take the message up to the original organisation, say, look, this is what is going on. I think we have. This is my experience participating. Next time, this is what is happening.
Maybe we have to change the approach, probably not driving the whole process by the civil society, or the industry itself. But sharing the role, and showing, because stakeholder means every stakeholder does its part.
BEN AKOH: Thank you very much. That is very important. I'm going to come to you. We have about five minutes to go, but I also want for us to talk about one particular question. And that is, how do we integrate regional to Continental IGF? Perhaps it's too premature to talk about it, but I don't think so.
It probably makes a little bit of sense for us to maybe just throw some seeds out and hope they germinate in the future. The ultimate would be we can work from the bottom-up to the Continental level from the national to the Continental level. But I have two comments and Binga is going to speak and we will talk about briefly the comments. The first one is to, Mr. Regulator colleague, Mr. Peprah, the Ghana hub is trying to find out from you whether you would be able to support and personally commit to growing the process in Ghana.
They feel that you have, you are part of the participation, I think that you are part of the national discussion list in Ghana. But they would like to have more commitment from you in terms of how you can support and grow the process in Ghana.
The second comment is from Abbey John, would like to host a school on Internet Governance. We will put that as something that comes out as a report from this session. But it makes sense that that is one of their needs, that Internet Governance issues is something they would like to talk about. But they need more capacity around that.
So hopefully, that feeds into the report somehow. Okay. Binga, you want to talk about that, then we will come back to Mr. Peprah, while he thinks about that response. Then we will have one last set of discussion on how we take this up to the Continental level.
Very quickly, in terms of Government, it is interesting, it was said we have a lot more Government here. I'm surprised we don't see a lot of civil society around here. But in terms of Government participation and comparing this to the WSIS process and asking myself honest question, I may sound very stupid. We see a lot of the participation of Government when it comes to events like this, and events not in West Africa, I've seen that happen, I don't know if it's coincidence that I'm noticing that.
Maybe the temptation then is to ask, can we then possibly begin to talk of pulling much of the regions in Africa together? Because then, maybe it's difficulty to travel in West Africa. My assistants, deputies, going to represent me or something like that. The second point is in terms of youth participation, and I'm glad the Ghanian is bringing that up. In terms of initiatives coming from young people, and I did spend a long time over the last few years working in this area. So I know what I'm saying regarding this.
People are getting stuff done, but for many of the young people in their home countries, first of all if they even know who to speak with, they don't get, if they get to speak with a person they don't get any particular feedback. I guess that is why people from Ghana, I started to hear regulator is talking, using the opportunity to say we are holding on to you. Government has to realise that in the next few years, the only proof is these young people, they seem to be mere talking points.
It is unfair to think there is nothing happening. A lot is happening. Maybe the Government has to take the initiative again also to actually ask questions. What is going on, on the ground? What are the best practices that can be supported? In terms of not only resources, just even mere recognition could help.
BEN AKOH: Thank you. You want to respond to that quickly, Mr. Peprah?
PEPRAH: Yes. I'll be willing to help the process back home with the people who are involved with it. I've attended a few of the meetings. After those meetings, nothing seemed to take shape, you know.
This has to be driven by the core elements of the group, and as a regulator, when things are brought to my attention, I will do what I can to promote this back home. We are doing it in the way with the plan we took to issue or YMX licenses to encourage indigenous players, not the big Telcos, and also to make sure that the YMS is reserved for data connectivity, data penetration to grow the current Internet penetration in the country. And that is one of the main aims of the Y max allocation process.
We are up to the plate. When things come to our attention, I personally will try and do what I can to grow the process back home.
BEN AKOH: Thank you so much, appreciate that. All right. Let's, our time is up. We are actually over time by one minute. We started slightly late. Let's spend some two or three minutes, and talk about that Continental perspective. Is that okay? Can we do that?
What are your quick suggestions around those, Adiel?
ADIEL AKPLOGAN: Okay. On the African side, I think first of all, we really need after this idea of, right away, a start emulating, strengthening those local hub, local IGF, regional IGF, have a good planning from now to the next IGF, because that is important to have a successful regional, I mean Continental IGF. So that is the first thing.
I think that the time is mature now to have a Continental IGF because we have already two region very active, east and west, Central Africa has the original one this year as well. I think we can start thinking of a Continental IGF which is I think something that will happen.
But allow me to say two other things. I also think that when we are thinking of local regional Continental IGF, we also have to take back from global IGF because me, I see as IGF as a way for us as region and country and continent to address our issue in a multistakeholder approach. Those are our issue. And take the experience we learn from dealing with them locally to the global IGF, not coming to the global IGF to find solution over what we have. So the approach to the IGF itself has to probably change. Keeping the culture, the multistakeholder, for me the big lesson we should learn is the multistakeholder approach, how we can implement in solving our issue. That is the thing I want to say and the Government participation. Again, I think we complain that when we don't want Government to manage Internet. But at the same time, we say Government is not doing anything to help us.
Probably, the message is not going through, going across very well. But we probably need to see how we can have a mechanism to follow up on those ideas, key people that can be the interface with government, pushing them, creating the mailing list, having the mailing list active, bringing Government people on those mailing list, where the discussion happen. So that the city and province because Government have their way of thinking. We cannot change that. We have our way of thinking. We cannot change that. Where is the bridge? That is where we need to focus our effort on. Thank you.
BEN AKOH: Thank you very much. One or two more comments or three more comments. Then we can round the session up.
Thank you. I pretty much agree with the comments. But it was back to what I said earlier. We are at a time when we see a lot of mandate for the IGF in UN assembly and the problem is when you go back to the countries, who takes the lead for the IGF?
It is a voluntary basis, like my country, if I give an example, it has been a voluntary basis of three organisations who have to look, they run down the streets, but if at the global level at the UN assembly, when we are extending the mandate over the IGF, some statement can be made to governments, where understand that governments intervene but not interfere. But the problem is whatever Government intervenes people look at it as interference. That is where we get it wrong.
So let a statement be sent to the different governments, that please the UN is passing this resolution, and for more Internet Governance, by way of dialogue, things like that, and this is the mandate. So that it is a formal communication, and when it comes, then you have governments participating, not interfering. So once you have it now at the national level strengthened, you can go to the original strength.
For example, the EU, European Commission is here, the Council of Europe is also here. I have not seen anything having to do with African commission, I haven't seen.
So before you bring them on board, it must come from the bottom, and then you bring it up and you strengthen it. If we say we want to do the African IGF, who comprises that? Who makes that? It should come out of mandate as coming together, but find who takes the lead on the grass root. Is it some person, ready to volunteer. Are they organised? So thank you.
BEN AKOH: Thank you very much. You raise interesting points. I wish we had the time to talk about it.
The next meeting from here is the central, is it central African one? If they are here, perhaps we can just continue the discussion, because I think it touches on that. Are they here? I'm willing to let go of the chair. So you can actually take on the discussion. I'll be on the floor to participate. Please pass the microphone on to him. We will see how it goes.
My name is Topa from Nigeria, interesting conversation we had so far. Suddenly it is hitting me, amazing I didn't connect this before, two or three months ago there was the meeting of ministers for ICTs. Of course, that carries different appellations across different countries. But basically all across Africa, everybody who had the portfolio for technology was in Nabuja for a couple days discussing IT, ICT and technology related issues.
I think that layering on all of our discussions so far, we already have the platform so to say to get Government involved, because the community of ministers exist. They relate. They talk, so what we need to do, one of the things also is more work. We need to find our connecting pipes to such communities. But at the sub regional level, within West Africa, within East Africa, again, let's also not forget that within the regions, we are at different levels, because the East African movement is pretty strong, pretty solid. Yes, West Africa has gone on for over three years but is at different level. Southern Africa is at its own. Those realities are there as well. But these communities exist and they are already talking.
It is obvious that that is one pipe we need to just send our horses into and push things forward. For instance, I would be interested in knowing our regulator from Ghana, if he has any contacts, we could begin to talk to Zwatra, that is one entity. When I get back home I need to find who I know within the office and who manages, because I'm just beginning to find how we can push this message and get these things to work. Thank you.
Adiel, you want to raise a comment? Okay. Okay. Providing answers. (Chuckles).
ADIEL AKPLOGAN: I think just want to say two things. Those questions are questions as for while, one thing we are doing at AfriNIC, for instance, is that we have set up a Government working group than AfriNIC structure for instance, which for us is not just a working group but it solved two problems.
One is to have the right contact, what we are doing is that we are writing to all Governments in Africa and regulators to, inform them about the Government working group. I'll ask them to appoint liaison to the working group, primary and for us it allowed us to have a group to which we can talk to, to have formal contact. But also to give them a framework during our event where they can get together to discuss issues which are related to their day-to-day work when it comes to Internet Governance in general, where we can discuss with them issue or concern that they have related to what we are doing, or what is relative to the Internet Governance.
We hope that that will kind of create a formal government for us to channel our message through to Government. That is one thing.
We are thinking of having two events this year. One is actually a ministerial meeting, round table on Internet Governance only, because we talk a lot about ministerial meeting on ICT, but it is ICT, ICT is not, is very wide. But narrowing down to Internet Governance, Internet development specifically where we invite minister to talk about the issue, where we invite the civil society to talk about the issue, the industry, the Internet Governance entity, to move the awareness to another level, probably at the ministerial level, so when we send information we know the minister at the top level are already aware of the information.
Those are few initiatives that we are taking to try to --
BEN AKOH: Thank you, Adiel. Two things come up from what we are talking about. Let me ask the question generally. Should we continue this? From a central, the next group is central African group, right? How many people from Central Africa are here? No. So we can use that space. If they come in, we stop.
I have two comments. The first comment is, who creates the connection? We are talking about bridging gaps between civil society and Government, between the states, between the regions. And not just regions, we are talking about creating gaps between the regional economic commissions, we are talking about creating gaps between those levels to the level -- there are lots of gaps to be linked. There are several activities happening in the different areas and the different spheres. Let's do a little bit of brainstorming.
How can we create these gaps in all of these various areas? What are the necessary steps that can be taken? Let's put a time line to it. Let's assume the IGF happens in November in 2011. What should we do from now leading up to that time, in terms of national fora that needs to hold in all the different countries, in terms of regional fora that needs to hold. Let's talk about it in partnership, with respect to creating the linkages between the different structures and groups. That is the first question I want to ask.
The second question is, where do we get the funding for this? Because I think funding underpins the commitment in terms of volunteerism that we would have.
So far what we have done in the West African process is to actually get people paid to run certain aspects of it. For instance, we have people that are paid to moderate the online discussion lists, for instance, people that are paid to be responsible for making sure they approach their national stakeholders. We try to look for funding to support the national process.
I did say earlier we couldn't hold national processes in a few of the countries, because we didn't have the funding to support that process. The key question becomes how do we fund this? Who are the partners we need to engage with? How can we send specific messages to them from this Forum, from this gathering, in terms of the process that we are looking towards creating, leading up to the IGF, depending on what form it takes in 2011. What steps, what are the concrete steps that we must take?
Let's brainstorm a little. I'm throwing it open to the floor.
BEN AKOH: Yes.
Are we now doing the central?
I think this involves the central African, yes. Are you from Central Africa today?
Yeah, now I'm from Central Africa. But I was just suggesting, is it okay, maybe AfriNIC also comes to the table? Idea also that it gives us what AfriNIC can speak to.
By all means. Why not? All right. So any concrete suggestions? How can we take this forward? I've asked two questions, creating connections. How do we create those linkages? Secondly, how do we -- yes, sir. Secondly, how do we give the eco to these processes.
AMBROSE RUYOOKA: Thank you very much. My name is Ambrose again from Uganda.
I wish I were in the session, Russia, USA and UK ideas and we get experiences how they are doing things. But what we need to do is take a different perspective with IGF. There is a proposal that we extend the mandate of the IGF.
So at this time we have at the top level, instead of the IGF at the UN, let something be expressed today that explains the role of governments.
I believe our governments can do some budgets over these activities in our countries. The question is what should be the role of Governments? Let us have it captured clearly. At this time we are willing to extend the mandate of the IGF. Let the message now trickle down, because we should look at Government as a strategic partner in moving this process forward. If you have a strategic partner, his role is always clearly identified.
I like the way the European Union has taken this on. They are meeting, the East African parliament member, the members are meeting the members of the European parliament this afternoon. And from the discussions with the members of the European parliament, you see they have entrenched within the planning processes, they put some budgets aside for separately the process. Let's start from the top, we send the message down. It is captured by our governments.
Then we have a government as partners.
Thank you very much. Thank you for that concrete suggestion. Any other suggestions, comments? Adiel, any comments?
ADIEL AKPLOGAN: Thank you. I'm wondering, why don't we try something different, something maybe a bit more creative, and innovative, perhaps engaging the business community, where we show some incentive for them to join, or to help, or the universities with students, other communities, West African community of the whole, African community who live outside the continent.
So instead of relying on what we used to do before, perhaps we should say, all right, we have tried those things and trying them again probably won't get different outcomes. We might as well think out of the box and do something different.
If there were some incentives, people would contribute and would join, and GFs would grow. On the other hand, if there is no incentive there is no reason for people to join, of course. The numbers would stay the same.
BEN AKOH: Let me throw it back at you. You raise some important points. It always comes down to the question of incentives. What would you think would be something enticing enough for the business community, for instance, to want to engage in a national governance process within their countries specifically?
I think that is key. If we can identify that, perhaps the process that we can use to engage them, it would be very useful.
Let me, maybe you want to answer that question, and then we can talk about a few more things, because I'm also beginning to feel the inadequacies of civil society in terms of engaging with Government in their countries, and that perhaps civil society hasn't, is not seen as a partner to governance in countries, and therefore, it becomes a difficult process for them. It becomes a big mandate for them to engage with Government.
And that in itself is an inadequacy. That makes it difficult for governance policy process in a number of the countries that we are living. Coupled with the fact that civil society also do not have the funds to do these kinds of things.
So what becomes the incentive? What can we throw out as a carrot to companies, to other institutions, to engage? What is it that we have.
I think in all due respect there are a lot of things perhaps we can explore. As I was coming in you were talking about the survey. I wasn't hearing what was the reason for the survey but there is a lot of surveys, lot of research that can go on. Maybe these can be capitalized changed into ways of generating income. Nowadays, knowledge is economy. Lot of money is made from knowledge.
If for example the surveys and those reports can be sent back to the communities and people can see actually we are doing something that is useful for people, maybe that is one reason.
The other issue I keep hearing was the idea of civil societies and things with the governments and so on. I live outside Africa although I travel lately to the country. To me, in all due respect with authorities, I don't really have a lot of positive things to say about African governments. This is my personal view. After 50 years we know our record. Now, on the other hand, the broadband sector and civil societies and institution, educational institution, there is lot to be said. We have seen what they have done and what they are contributing but nevertheless, the bridge is needed.
We have to still get the bridge working, between the two working. How do we do it? It is a challenge. I still believe it's possible. It is doable. I'm optimistic it can be done. There are smart African people outside in Asia and Europe and America. I know quite a few in Malaysia and Canada. Why don't we talk to them, how do we do it? Perhaps you can use technology. You can do it by the Web or E-mailing, some other mechanism.
BEN AKOH: Thank you so much. Adiel, do you want to make a comment?
ADIEL AKPLOGAN: Yes. I think our friends (off microphone) something very important, and back by what you said. The word partnership is very important. Governments, civil society, private sector has to work as partner, and the strong partnership has to be created within those three entities. The partnership must be based on one thing fundamentally. Use of the Internet (off microphone) we want to use Internet.
How best can we use the Internet? How best can Internet become a development tool? Because that is what we are seeing for past 20 years. How do we translate that? That is probably something that Government can easily understand. Civil society can easily understand. Business can understand. To give an example, the Internet governance, West African IGF we organise last year in Ghana, it was formed partly by AfriNIC, 50 percent of the budget but rest was sponsored by private sponsors. We did it. Big scale this year. I keep telling the team that was in charge of organising that our role as Africa should be to facilitate to start-up. We don't want to be the continuous forming of organisation of regional IGF. We want to create the momentum, and leave it to the community, each region to find the way of forming.
I really believe that Government and regulator in those regions can form and are willing to from the little bit experience I have. But in many case, they lack the (off microphone) probably because the approach is always about, we are the civil society. You have to do this. That is not what we want. We have to ground the partnership.
What is the common thing that we are working toward? Clearly this is where we want Government to help. Not to tell Government this is how they have to do it. This is how we want you to contribute. This is what we can bring as civil society. The amount of time, this is how we can mobilize the diaspora. This is how we can look for sponsorship. They are interested. How can we translate in more simple word, so that it can be the result of this meeting, just saying that for that common goal.
We have Government representative here. They can also tell us how to do that and approach that has to be taken.
BEN AKOH: Thank you, Adiel. Emila, did you want to say something?
I want him to say his name because they didn't mention his name and where he is from.
I'm from Somalia but actually (off microphone) CM pending back and forth.
BEN AKOH: You are African and you are leading the Internet. Bhadu wants to make a comment.
I want to, in Central Africa we have also the similar problems, very difficult to have a dialogue with the Government, difficult also to have dialogue with private sector. And it is difficult also to have a way to use media for, to inform public. The big problem that I tell you, difficult to come here. We organise a workshop in Congo and how many countries took part in this workshop? Only two, two countries: USA and Congo.
In Central Africa we have relevant countries and among participants, only some delegation from Congo and from DRC, nobody. This is a very difficult to discuss, and to have a way to stand up a dialogue about Internet Governance, even with the programmes or the project about ICT.
In country, in DRC, until today we don't have ICT legislation, don't have a good implementation. Regulator doesn't have the power in the country. That is a problem. But I follow what you do in West Africa, in East Africa, in South Africa. It is a big difference with Central Africa. Big difference, I tell you. But I think now, just to say if we can rethinking the way, how we can regard our cooperation between regions and return some actors, like between the three or four regions.
It is also the way to see how we can cooperate with African from diaspora, it is also the way to see how we can also reinforce agencies in the process, because the problem was so, if we wanted to do something in that way, it is difficult to have the Forum, see is the problem. That is what I wanted to share with you.
Thank you, Bhadu.
LILLIAN NALWOGA: Thank you. My name is Lillian Nalwoga and I work with civil society and I come from Kampala, Uganda. We hosted this year's East African Internet Governance Forum. I was just thinking that maybe this discussion would have come after we have all had our presentations, because I'm sure there are members who are not here, but who would love to contribute to this discussion.
Just to contribute to us going on, we have a similar problem, and I think right now I'm saying is cross cutting across all the regions, central, west and East Africa, the need to involve stakeholders in particular, the private sector.
During this year's IGF East African IGF, we did not have representation from the private sector. When we talk about private sector, we are looking at the ISPs, the Internet service providers. We are looking at the Telcos, that are involved in the actual providing us Internet. There are none there. And one of the recommendations we had was, maybe that time we are using Internet Governance should be redefined.
When you talk about governance, it echoes different meanings to different people. Maybe you could have something like Internet development Forum. It catches you. We are discussing about developing the Internet, maybe it will involve involvement for more people, even people who are not interested actually in the Internet, to just be curious to know what is actually Internet development, isn't only Internet Governance because some participants feel that when, for instance, the regulator calls on the ISPs, and you are talking about governance, and these are who determine the cost, it sounds like, they are monitoring our operations so they tend to stay away.
I'm thinking, we should stay until we present the east African reports so we view more on this discussion.
BEN AKOH: We apologize for having or extending the discussion into the other regions or to the Continental level without waiting for the other regions. Within the programme, it is structured slightly differently. I, honestly, I thought from the beginning that we would actually have an African discussion, as opposed to the sub regional discussion. But the programme is structured slightly differently.
Depending on how we answer or talk about this, have the discussions going forward, we would very much love to hear how East Africa is taking things, what their challenges are and how we be engaged as we go forward.
I hope that we will all stay for that session. But you did raise a very important point, which is how the IGF is framed at the national and regional level, is the name Internet Governance Forum repulsive of other stakeholders?
Does it, in a way, keep them away from the process, because of the connotations that we have to governance from the region that we come from? And maybe that requires for us to change the name slightly, so that it reflects more participation.
I think this was something that was raised within the first plenary, at the opening, when we had West African participation. Indeed, this was a comment that came from the West African Forum, where we thought that governance should not be a part of the process, the name of it, not because it's not discussions on governance, but maybe it's, it will bring about more inclusion if we took out the governance from it.
But that is something else we can all talk about as we go on.
There are very concrete steps that Adiel had mentioned earlier, and in terms of taking the discussion forward, would like to maybe begin to look at that. How can we from this Forum as we are, how do you suggest you would want for us to take what we have talked about here forward to your countries and your region? Is a small report from here sufficient enough to send to your countries, and to your regional governance Forum?
Can we do that? If we did that, who would be the right people in your countries for us to send this out to? I think those are some of the questions, perhaps we might want to answer. Again, it all comes down to volunteering at this particular point, because there is no mechanism for us to actually move things beyond the discussions that we are having. We don't have a structure for it.
So the question comes down to us. What is the best way to move what we have been talking about here to the next level, to our governments, to our countries, to our national and regional IGF structures? Let's spend a few minutes to talk about that.
Then hopefully we can hear what the East Africans have to say. Any comments around those? Yes? Then we will come back to Binga. Emila, you want to pass the mic?
I think this is a follow-up to what I was saying before. Perhaps apart from linking with the business of the investors, how about also looking at other companies and other businesses who are doing work in Africa? Like the big names, the Googles, and the Ciscos and so on, they might be also interested. I'm not really sure.
There could be even some synergy by working with them. There might be something that they can also gain by working with IGFs and so on. To me, I'm always interested in looking at something a little different than the normal things we already do. Because as I travel around the world, I see a lot of interesting ideas. And I say how come we didn't think about this in Africa? Why didn't we do this? When I was in Kenya for the (off microphone) I was listening to the Google people, they were in Nigeria and elsewhere. That is good but it might not be necessarily more advantageous to us. It might be more to them than actually Africa, they might be gaining more than we are actually gaining. If we are serious about this, we can talk to this more serious and say look, let's share the advantage here. Not only IT guys but also Nokias and all other mobile companies that do business in Africa.
I'm still interested in this collaboration, where we can work with these companies, and so on.
BEN AKOH: Thank you so much. There clearly is an avenue for collaboration with the other international companies that are interested in Internet public policy. Binga.
KILYOBAS BINGA: Just to the question of who exactly to speak with in each of the countries, I want to quickly raise that for Nigeria in particular I know there is an office with the Telecom regulator and there is also an office with the IT agency. I've tried discussing that with someone from regulatory office this morning, to see if there was a way they could work together, so we won't have the usual problem of who exactly to talk to. Maybe one of the things to also do is since eco is involved in this and governments from the from the top down, to maybe it a mandate to have a focus person. We hope that it won't be difficult, person won't be the deputy of assistants, deputies, personal assistant, somebody who can listen to the issues, maybe also be able to make decisions or something like that.
Thank you very much. Mr. Peprah.
I think a process has already been started. Adiel indicated that AfriNIC has written to the Government and the regulators, only last week, as to how to try and get some collaboration going. But we really need to think outside the box this time and let the initiative come from the other side, more than looking to the establishment to drive it. If you do that, you haven't achieved much. I think the initiative must come from the civil society, the Internet service providers, the youth groups.
That is where the initiative must come from. They must believe in themselves enough to make the right approaches and get the attention of the regulators and the Government to be part of what it is that they are trying to do.
Otherwise, it will be back to the same old stuff. The Government comes up with a policy. The regulator puts in regulations. And then, you know, still top/down. The initiative must really be, we must encourage the civil society and these are the groups, really engage Government. And like I said for my part, I stand ready to support within the authority any initiative that will come to try and move it forward. I'm sure the various agencies will do the same, once the value proposition or the benefits is clearly articulated.
Thank you very much. Yes, sir.
I still say what I said earlier. Who we send the reports to, if we do it, is going to be an assembly, who is in that assembly. Who is in the UN assembly? Are they aware about Internet Governance? The group representative from your country, I want to be in this assembly. Are they aware if this is put on the table. Or are they just saying yes or no. So I think whichever, whoever we send the reports to, those should be the key people, because going to come before them, they are going to extend the mandate. But are they aware the issues they are extending the mandate for?
Let's take it that, we send them the issues. We say we have been having the IGF, and we have history and we put the background and we say in the next few months there is going to be assembly addressing issues. And also I would like to see represented in the mandate issues that are from our regions and as simple as that.
BEN AKOH: Thank you very much.
Can I make a suggestion and a request, and that request is who wants to be responsible for drafting the report of our discussion here? And then we will build a team together, and use that team to be the initial focal points to the regional IGFs who would further disseminate that report to their country IGFs, using the structures that they already have.
Then we would also tag it, the regional economic commissions and some of these countries, as well as the regulators, as well as the EU at a Continental level. The question is for volunteers for the moment. I'm sure when we put structure to this, we would have some form of incentive that would come to this.
But for now, for the moment, in terms of getting the report from this, please would like some volunteers that might be able to help. We already have the transcript of this. All we need to do is build a very key and concrete points of the session that we will put together in a report, and then send out. Already have one volunteer, Lillian. Thank you very much. Binga. To balance the agenda, thank you very much, Madame. And to overbalance the agenda and tilt it to the female side, I'd like to have Emila over there. Right? That is five of you. Thank you very much. That is quite impressive. Thank you.
I want to ask one question, maybe raise one final point. So we don't leave our East African colleagues behind, rather central African colleagues behind. Badum has raised a lot of points in terms of engaging with the central African colleagues. Central African IGF. Those are critical points. I would like to make sure we bring them up to the same level that the eastern and west and central Africans are. What I also suggest in terms of doing this, bringing the central Africans to the level of the east and West Africans. Adiel, is there any kind of support we might be able to look at from central, that would perhaps centralize central African process? That is one way.
In terms of structure also, leading up to say November, 2011, where we will hopefully have the Kenyon global IGF, what do you think we should do in terms of concrete steps going there? Adiel.
ADIEL AKPLOGAN: Yes, I think the problem in Central Africa is not new. I think we also notice the participation, the low level of participation from Central Africa. If we can do anything to help, at least to create the momentum, and then let the process move, we are happy to do that. We can talk about that for 2011.
But again, what we cannot do is create the process that we will maintain in the long term. We can only be facilitator, and then let the community locally find the way of sustaining it.
That we can talk about later.
I want to add something that Mr. Pepra said. We have not directed the discussion in that part, is the young generation, the academic sector, our universities, the FaceBook generation. Those are people who are using the Internet today and they know what the Internet bring into their life and did for their lives.
I think it could probably be worth trying to reach out to them, what is behind the tool that they are using today, which is Internet Governance actually, because part of the Internet Governance is what define the framework that allow those applications to be developed, that allow the protocol to be developed.
Can we probably add into our different process of local Internet governance Forum, of regional Internet Forum, puts more emphasis on involving students, involving academic sector in general, more formally, not by considering them part of the civil society, but as one of the, one group of stakeholders, and extending invitation formally to them, involving them into the different research, talk about survey, talk about publishing those things, statistic information, hope they can bring their experience in there, because that would be tomorrow's -- they are the one who tomorrow, that probably that is something would be also....
BEN AKOH: Thank you very much, Adiel. Well, I think we have talked about a whole lot of stuff and we have actually set up a process in terms of how we would like to take this forward.
We will create reports from this discussion, and then pass it on to the necessary stakeholders in the regional, as well as national forums or fora.
We didn't talk too much about the process leading up to 2011, the global IGF. I think that is important. Maybe we should just have one or two minutes to talk about that. It is a process. It means that we must have a national discussion prior to the global Forum. It means that also we should have a regional discussion prior to the global Forum.
They require setting commitments from us, from our participants and our government and everybody else, all the stakeholders, new stakeholders like we are trying to define right now. So there are a lot of, there is a lot of work we will still do. It is important that we recognize all of those work leading up to that point.
For our drafting committee, some of the recommendations would be that we would like to see very concrete steps defined in view of the Continental Forum that would come up in Kenya, that relates to national and regional preparations towards that.
We would like to see national processes that would lead to national and regional processes that will lead to the global IGF. Yes.
Are we making suggestions? Or do the regions already have things they want to do towards 2011? Because it's one thing to suggest, are these going to be suggestions?
What we will do is, we will capture the report of this session, and the recommendation from what we have talked about is that we would like to see in the report as one of the recommendations of the report, similar to all the other recommendations we have made, while we have discussed, that there is a process leading up to the Kenyon IGF.
One key factor for participation like we have found has been visas, especially for African participants coming to this particular IGF. I've heard of, for most of the ones we were trying to facilitate about five to six different visa cases that were never positive. They just didn't happen at all, in order that they could be here at this IGF.
This is something I think we would want to raise prior to the Kenyon IGF, so that people from other parts of the continent that would be at the Kenyon IGF would actually have an easy visa process. I don't think that is too much of a call to make, as part of our recommendation going out of here.
The point is important that facilitation must happen, and facilitation, one of the key facilitation is that we have the logistics clearly sorted out prior to the IGF itself.
I don't know if there are other comments that would like to have before we close the session. I think I'd like to at this point close the session on the central and West Africa, and then allow our East African participants to take on the podium and continue their discussion. But any final words, Adiel.
ADIEL AKPLOGAN: Just a suggestion in how we can leverage on what's happened before. Is it possible for us to use the west African IGF experience of this year and East African experience of this year and past year to drive, I don't know, two, three, four-page briefing document that explain how the process was, what was the process and share that with our partners that we want, like Government, regulators. This is what we have done. This is how the process has evolved. These are the lessons learned. This is where we want from you, so they can have a reference if they start thinking of getting more involved for instance, or even private sector, because I think they are good experience.
We don't have to find ourself in November talking about the same issue. We will go home. Everybody will go and start their own thing. We get together here again and talk about the exactly same issue without solution, so can we put together some kind of lesson learned from the original, and local IGF, that we have already organised, and use that as a roadmap for 2011, which we share across region actually.
BEN AKOH: Thank you very much, Adiel. That is a concrete point and useful. Emila, one more point.
I wanted to respond to Adiel that for West Africa we are going to draft a report on the process that, for the CTS process so I think it is something we will be able to share with all the other Afrikaans.
BEN AKOH: Thank you very much. We will definitely have those reports. And we will try and send them as much as possible to all the different partners, all the different institutions, our stakeholders. Thank you very much for participating in such a lively discussion. I think it is useful. We are quite excited we had the number of people, participants in the room that we had, and for all your contributions. We had different stakeholders, civil society, regulators, Government. That is quite useful. Thank you so much for this. Thank you, Adiel for coming to share this place with me. And for the rest of you that participated, my name is Ben Akoh. I'm very much an African still, and definitely will continue in this process with us.
We will be sending out a lot of documents from here. Please do not leave. We need you to sign and just registration before you leave, give us your name and your E-mail address, and perhaps your affiliation. We will try and get and make sure the report from this session gets to you, and also that you help us in terms of facilitating connections at your countries with the different stakeholders that we need to be engaged with.
Once again thank you very much. Have a good afternoon.
(End of Session.)