IGF 2020 Second Open Consultations and MAG Meeting - African Union Commission

The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. 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, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 


 >>MOCTAR YEDALY:  Dear IGF members, distinguished participants, and, ladies and gentlemen, I hope you are all safe and well.  It is my honor and privilege to be part of the second open consultations and to contribute to the briefings on behalf of the African Union.

 As you are certainly aware of, the Commission -- the A.U. Commission has taken the lead not only to serve as the secretariat for the African IGF but, also, it has initiated a vast capacity-building program on Internet developments.  

 Under the auspices of the African Union, the IGF processes is being implemented in Africa at the national, regional, and continental levels, linking all stakeholders to discuss issues pertaining to the Internet, reflecting the need of our respective communities.

 These African processes, managed and supported by the A.U. Commission, facilitates exchange of experiences and ideas between stakeholders from the same geographic spaces and contribute to the better engagement with Internet Governance Forums, communities worldwide.

 We have always made sure that this is an inclusive representation and diversity with different stakeholders such as policymakers from government, engineers, industries, academia, activities, and civil societies.

 By the way, we have seen more and more African leaders at the highest levels, such as head of states, being interested on the matters related to Internet Governance Forum.  And this is because of two major resolutions the African Union organ have made it possible.

 The first one is related to the evolution of the first ministerial conference of ministers in charge of ICTs in 2012 that states, and I quote:  To support the establishment of national IGF to create dialogue between all stakeholders on ICT for the development issues and facilitate the countries' participation in the regional and African IGF processes as well as in the global IGF.

 The second one is related to the African Union declaration that is -- for the first time has been developed from bottom-up processes.  It took three years related to bring it to the attention of the head of states.  This declaration, among other things, has said, and I quote:  Requested the African Union Commission, NEPAD, United Nations' Economic Commission to increase participation of member states, specialized institutions, and so on in the Internet governance discussion and related public policy processes includes but not limited to those taking place in the U.N., A.U., ICANN, IETF, AfriNIC, and so on.

 Now, with regard to our activities at the national level, the IGF African processes addresses specific issues arising from the need of different stakeholders in the country itself.  Currently, there are 31 operational national IGFs, and many more are being processed or are information with several emerging (indiscernible) this year.

 2020 was expected really to be the year of peak enrollment of all national IGFs with support of the Policy Integration Initiative for Digital Africa, which is the new project funded by the European Union.

 Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries are not in the position to organize face-to-face meetings and now we are making preparation to organize virtual IGFs with the technical support from this important project, which is PIRA.  

 At the level of the five AU regional, geographic regions, we have put in place IGF Forums, under the leadership of the regional economic communities, such as AMU, ECOWAS, ECCAS, EAC, and SADC, in order to consolidate national initiatives and create a unique space and unified voice where policy and technical Internet issues of countries of the region can be discussed.

 All of them had to plan -- have planned to organize their annual conferences in 2020.  But due to the pandemics, we only have confirmation for the West African region.  

 At the continental level, we still, as I mentioned at the beginning, are running the secretariat of African IGF in collaboration with the United Nations' Economic Communities, NEPAD, and so on.  Just to remind you that the African IGF has been created in 2011 in the margin of the global IGF in Kenya 2011.  

 The African IGF's operations are governed by an African IGF charter that we have developed in multistakeholder processes.  And we have created, also, our own African advisory group which is AfIGF MAG.  And we are holding every year meetings.  

 Since 2012, the meetings are coming.  And the number eighth -- the eighth African IGF took place in 2019 in N'Djamena.  The next one is expected to be in Lagos, Nigeria, this year.

 But without being -- without waiting for surprises coming, due to the pandemic, we already are -- have developed a toolkit for the organization of the future Internet Governance Forum's conference in Africa.  

 And we hope that in case of, we'll be able to organize this conference virtually.

 Now, I couldn't conclude without mentioning the PIRA project, which is actual the Policy and Regulation Initiatives for Digital Africa that is really created to support and build the capacity for Africans in matters related to Internet governance.  The project is funded by the European Union.  And so far we have organized several workshops.  We have trained trainers to be able to train as much as people within the continent in matters related to Internet governance.  In collaboration with DiploFoundation, we have developed several manuals in how to set up and create the national IGFs and many other training that has been taken place within the context of national, regional, and global IGF -- continental IGFs.

 I wouldn't conclude here without great admission of the fact that African Union just adopted the digital transformation strategy for 2020-2030 to transfer all of the development sectors using this digital technology, of course the issue of digital collaboration, digital cooperation, and specifically the policy and the matters related to privacy, security, and all those matters that really are -- pertain to the matters related to Internet governance.

 In summary, I just want to emphasize two things.  One is the AUC still -- and we are continuing to take the initiative on matters related to Internet Governance Forum at the regional, national, continental levels and, yet, bearing in mind, the recommendation of the U.N. secretary-general on digital cooperation.  

 We look forward for announced IGF processes that will really make an impact on the ground.  And, finally, I will like to assure you that the AUC will be glad to support all those processes and give -- make Africa really playing its role in the global discussion related to matters related to Internet governance.  

 With that, I'll log off here.  And thank you very much for your kind attention.  And I hope you will be keeping yourself safe and your loved ones safe also.  Thank you very much.