IGF 2021 – Day 1 – OF #18 Harmonizing regulation for cross border data flows

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.



>> ALISON GILLWALD: Good afternoon, everyone.  Hello, Johannes, you wanted to say a few words, or can we go straight into the session?

Okay.  I think we are a few minutes past the hour ‑‑ sorry, a quarter past.  We have a number of people in the participants already registered.  Seems to be a few less than the team to be signed up.  Might just see if we have a minute.  Okay.

I think in the interest of time, because we only have an hour, we are just going to start the session.  I'm just looking and seeing whether we have Souhila, because the rest of the panelists are here.


>> ALISON GILLWALD: I think what we'll do is we are going to begin.  This session is looking at cross‑border flows and the harmonization of cross‑border flows in Africa, and it's been organized by Give z that organized the framework, it went through various rounds with Member States only in the last few months, so in that sense, it's kind of fresh off the press.

The data policy framework really goes a lot further than some of the other data frameworks that existed on the continent and across the world, in many places, focused primarily on data protection, the data policy framework is geared towards creating a data policy framework to enable the development of a data economy across Africa and then realizing the existence of various kinds of data and the need for policy framework that addresses the very uneven distribution that we see in the current data ecosystem, data global ecosystem.

So it really is concerned with, you know, different kinds of data, how they need to be treated differently and how value can be extracted from them in order to benefit humanity more evenly and particularly in the context of Africa, to enable economic growth and also the development of public value and use of public data that COVID has made so clear, as much as it is very high value, especially to deal with these kinds of crises, but also for policy Management and Planning.  But then, as I said, critically in the context of the African continental free trade area, the importance of a single digital market that under‑puns it and expressed in the digital transformation strategy of the AUC that informs this process and really unless we get the entire infrastructure in plus, unless we get the enabled environment, including a trusted framework in order for data to be used but people, to be shared, to be made into ‑‑ people have access to it in a more even way, not only in a way that although this is important, to protect their rights, but also in a way that enables them to contribute to the creation of value and the contribution to the prosperity of nations.

I'm going to ask Souhila first to tell us a little bit about the African data policy and the status of it.  She is a senior policy officer within the African Union Commission, Information Society Division, where she contributes to the elaboration and formulation of continental policies and strategies on ICT and digital communities.  You have just navigated this through various phases, validation workshops and member state meetings.  Tell us what the status of the data policy framework is, how it related to some of these major initiatives on the continent like the African continent free trod agreement and the digital transformation strategy that informs it, and how we hope to see this enable countries at the national level create enabling environments for the flourishing of the data economy in African.

>> SOUHILA AMAZOUZ: Thank you, Alison.  Thank you so much.  Distinguished participants, it is my pleasure and my honor to take part in this session, to create and enabling policy environment and regulatory conditions to facilitate cross‑border data flow in Africa.  In indicated by the moderator the African Union Commission in collaboration with others pan African organizations developed continental, comprehensive and forward‑looking data policy framework.  And this framework aims to set out and lay the foundation for a common approach and common vision on the use of data across the continent, objective is to ensure safe, secure and responsible use of data.  This, as a first step forward to enable the development of sustainable digital economy in African and also it was highlighted by Alison, it is important to developing the policy on data to enable the development of data digital single market in support of the free trod area.

So this policy from work over the objective of the framework is to raise awareness and build the plus Cal understanding of policy makers and discussion‑makers in contemporary economy and society.  Emphasize on the urgent need for African countries to develop their national data systems and capabilities, to enable data to flow within the continent while at the same time safeguarding the online privacy and other digital rights and it is important to highlight the framework to ensure equitable access and sharing of the benefits among the African countries.

The frameworks prioritized open data standards and promote the transversal policies and also holistic regulations to stimulate valuable creation from data both from the private sectors and public sectors.  It aims to boost innovation and establishment of new business models, and this in support for Africa development and integration agenda.

The framework aims to foster, as you mentioned earlier, to foster and prioritize the development of data infrastructure, which is actually lacking in our continent and also build the capacities of experts to enable them to process, host and self‑manage data being generated within the continent.  We have data generated by citizens, but industries and by government, unfortunately, we are not aware how this data is being collected and where it is hosted and also how it is exploited, and I think it's time for African countries to take advantage of this valuable resource to build their economies.  The framework aims to optimize and facilitate cross‑border and cross sector data circulations through the creation of shared data space and also harmonization of data governance assistance and establishing adequate mechanisms that would support the cross‑border, while taking into account the specificities of each country and each subregion, with regard to data maturity and digital readiness.

To conclude, this framework is being examined by the EU after it has been examined but the ministers of ICT.  The development of the framework was the approach as we had an open and online consultation and also it was submitted for discussion and variation by African experts.  After that, it was discussed but the ministers and now we are in the process of opening this ‑‑ submitting this to some Member States for adoption.

This framework is accompanied by other initiatives, namely the continental instrument and also other instruments taken by other organizations, like smart Africa and the Africa network of data protection, as the ultimate objective of all these initiatives to create the conditions and the support our African countries to live to the potential and transformative power of data, to support our countries and also to improve African people's lives.  I remain at your disposal if there is anything you may want to know, thank you.

>> ALISON GILLWALD: Thank you so much, Souhila for that background, and synopsis of the framework.

We are going to take some responses to that from our fabulous panel that have joined us today from various organizations working in the continental, working in the area of data policy and data governance.  I'm going to ask Lorrayne, the Executive Director that's incubated at the Internet jurisdiction policy network, just had a session before this, on work that they're going to be doing in Africa, looking at many of these data governance and data cross‑border issues.  So, Lorrayne, you've recently joined Internet and jurisdiction a while ago to hit this initiative.  Tell us about it and how it will contribute to this important debate on discourse on data governance.

>> LORRAYNE PORCIUNCULA: Thank you so much, Alison, thank you for the opportunity to be here and comment on this very important initiative.

First, let me start by saying I've been thinking a lot about data and I know that many of you in the panel have also been thinking about it.  Just to start by saying data is ubiquitous, multidimensional, its use and implications is not only for us experts on technology, but also on traditional sectors around trod and development and Human Rights, security, and because of the broad implications of data and the impact of data on Saturday and the economy, there has been a number of reactions to general sense of loss of control, and there's very much around the narrative of data sovereignty, and that's where it comes in, even though it's a fuzzy term, as we discussed in the recent report, that we published in April, we need to talk about data, framing the debate between data sovereignty, it has real implications in the form of data localization measures.

As a means of example, and I thought it was important to contextualize my key downs, data localization measures have more than doubled in the last four years, in 2017, 35 countries had implemented the 67 such barriers.  Now 62 countries have him posed almost 150 different restrictions.

I ask you, is that the future we want to see regarding data?  Is this the only solution for Africa and other continents to enhance the opportunities and minimize the risk of data sharing?

So I had three points to make, and I'll answer your questions as well, Alison while doing that.  I deeply believe we need to change the narrative around data and focus on the ecosystem approach, and I commend the initiative from AUC in doing that.  That is ‑‑ we believe there is a change of perspective that can catalyzed but the notion of the data sphere, as the ecosystem encompassing all types of data, personal and nonpersonal and the complex dynamics between data, human groups and norms.

That is the same thing as saying that the data sphere is more than just a sum of data and how do we go beyond this and what is the power of naming that space, the system and all the stakeholders.  So that we stop thinking beyond the immediate necessity to control it.

To do that, we need a better and more realistic way to talk about data, to understand how regulation and governance can deal with both personal and nonpersonal data in a way that is no longer simply led by big platform models, but by multi‑stakeholder approach.

We need to embrace this narrative of diversity, to drive innovation, inclusion and well‑being for all.  Ultimately, this is the goal and ambition of what we are trying to accomplish in bringing the different actors together, just then, I believe we'll be able to develop a bold institutional approach that can provide the basis for collective claims over data and for equitable future for all.

I really do think that Africa and the effort around Harmonizing data policies is really unique in this regard and how holistic it is to address some of these problems, and it's a great step in what I think is the right direction and a huge contribution not only to the continent in itself, but also for the world as a whole.

I'm really looking forward to working ‑‑ to continue working closely with you to make sure also that the good practices that are so well being defined in the region are also echoed for other parts of the world that is also struggling themselves how to deal with this issue.

So this is my perspective from someone that has been working with different regions of the world as well, and in different international forum to say you are doing a very good job in trying to bring all the stakeholders and topics together, it's not an easy task, but certainly a graduate start.  Thank you.  Alison.

>> ALISON GILLWALD: I'm sure Souhila is very happy to hear that.  Thank you.  Lorrayne.  Of course, you have had experience within the OECD in many of these discussion forums and now at the center as an affiliate researcher.  Involved in lots of these discussions.

I think we were planning to move to ‑‑ I'm going to ask Pren‑Tsilya Boa‑Guehe, she's responsible for managing Googles relations with the African Union, pan African trade and development banks, so very well placed to speak on this subject.  But Pren‑Tsilya, I'm going to ask you to respond to Lorrayne's position before you comment on your portfolio of usuals that tie in so with the data policy framework.  When she speaks about needing a new narrative from that of the big platform narrative about, you know, that's the data, that's the only data we talk about, and of course the issues of the dominance of those platforms and the opportunities that, you know, we need to create for smaller platforms and local players and data creators, data value creators in the African continent.  I wondered if you could just respond to the big criticism or the big elephant in the room around the dominance of these platforms before we go into the importance of dote flows and the use of these platforms for those people who are online and selling goods and communicating and sharing data.

>> PREN-TSILYA BOA-GUEHE: Thank you so much, Alison.  I'm Pren‑Tsilya Boa‑Guehe, and like Alison mentioned, I engage primarily with the African nation commission has been doing.  So for the past few years now, now this new world specifically for Google.

So I think we are actually not in disagreement.  I think part of what she mentioned, there is a digital ecosystem, and Google firmly believes that is in fact the case.  We all have a different role to play in the digital ecosystem.  I would like to believe our goal is the same, which is to achieve Africa's digital transformation and how can we place Africa at the forefront of the digital economy.  And in order to do that, we all have to play different role, whether we are developers or small and medium businesses or a service providers, like Google, and our mission is essentially to organize the world's information, make it universally accessible and useful to all of these users, and to so we are all interdependent and each have a different role to play in data sharing is a part of this ecosystem in facilitating the movement of data in this ecosystem is really critical to what we at Google believe is a priority for the continent on digital transformation.  Not just for us, but for small and medium enterprises as well, who constitute sometimes 60 to 80 percent of the economies on the continent.

If we are talking about AFCTFA and cross‑border data flows, particularly an environment like COVID, cross‑border data flows right now are being ‑‑ cross‑border trade is being facilitated but digital technology.  And so if we want to facilitate more of that, we have to create an environment conducive to cross‑border trade and creating regulations that support and foster innovation, and that's what we were aiming to do on the continent.

So to go to my presentation, and I'll really glade have people in the room, in the chat and happy to respond to questions, but we have been on the continent for about 14 years, and we have enabled 100 million Africans to access the internet for the first time.  In October Google announced a $1 billion pledge to invest in Africa over the next five years in four critical areas.  So that's enabling affordable access and building products for every kind of African user, the different parts of the ecosystem I was mentioning, helping African businesses with the digital transformation, investing in African entrepreneurs, next generation technologies and supporting nonprofits that are working to improve the lives of Africans across the continent.  And in order to do that, we have to do it in partnerships with governments, civil societies and often the question we get asked, what do we need to do in order to develop and be at the forefront of the digital economy.  So we kind of look at this from four key pillars to determine what investments are necessary for that ecosystem and that is investments in infrastructure, investments in human capital, having a forward leaning approach to deploying technology by the government and this pro-competitive regulatory environment, which is where the cross‑border data flow conversation kind of fits in for us.

Right now, only 40 percent of the continent is connected to the internet.  So we have huge gaps, it's a major challenge, but we see it as an opportunity as well, to connect more African users, to bring them online and help advance Africa's economy.  As part of our role, we are trying to help to build up the infrastructure for more Africans to get online so we currently are developing a state-of-the-art sub‑sea cable that will be helping to bridge and make a connection between Africa and Europe.  And it's going to provide 20 times more network capacity then the last cable built to serve Africa.  It will lead to a 21 percent drop in internet prices and increase internet access in countries like Nigeria, South Africa and hopefully create 1.7 million jobs.

>> ALISON GILLWALD: That's a great point for Michuki to come in.  But that segueways very nicely into the input, you imagine, Michuki Mwangi would like to make.

Senior developer at the internet society where he leads the community development project that focuses on the ISP infrastructure and community development.  Michuki you will have seen from the data policy framework the African commission and the task force that worked on this, some of the people on this panel, were at pains to point out, we cannot continue to do data governance, algorithmic regulation, even those other things, they are all moot unless we have ‑‑ actually got connectivity.  So all these African markets, building value, data economies, digital economies across the continent, until we actually sort out these digital infrastructure deficits.  They really are essential preconditions, we have to address those.  I just thought with the role that you play and the importance of ‑‑ also the backbone side of things, we tend to talk about the end user problems and lack of access we have there.  At the infrastructure level, back-end level, if you could tell us a little bit about what we need to get right there in order to enable cross‑border data flows.

>>  MICHUKI MWANGI:  Hello, everyone.  I would like to start by congratulating the African Union for the work.  I think it's a very important framework to have in place, because it tries ‑‑ you think in some sense it will try and address one question, or one issue, and one of the things we see is that internet traffic or called use ball traffic, traffic from users, is generally optimized to follow where the data infrastructure sits.  If you try and do a trace route, follow how a packet is flowing, you'll find that you have a better performance to where the majority of the content people are consuming is, compared if you're going to another location.  The reason this is the cause is because the paths to the data infrastructure often tend to have more route resiliency and more capacity.  So you often tend to have a better experience.  Now, this morning I sat down and did some tests, and I looked at 56 probes across the continent and asked them to go to a site in South Africa.  More than half of them actually got to South Africa with about less than 100 mill seconds.  Some were higher, the worst was 300 mill seconds.  This is an engineering issue that needs to be fixed.  You did the complete opposite, let me try and do the opposite of that.  Let me ask all the probes to go to a site which is not data infrastructure country.

So I told them to go to Burkina Faso, only the one got there in under 50 milliseconds, it was 10.  All the others were way above that.  Most of them were more than 200 milliseconds.  Essentially, we will be getting to data only if the data ‑‑ we'll only be everything a better experience or users will have a better experience only if they are going to locations where there is good data infrastructure.

That means that if you look at how we use the internet today, the majority of our traffic is hosted abroad, that means we have better access to networks that are sitting in Europe because that's where the performance is optimized, and as a result, having ‑‑ getting people to digitize or moving a lot of content online to be digital means that we are basically promoting the same narrative of send the content where it is going to be best accessed, that's in South Africa or in Europe.  It really doesn't help to address the usual.

So we need to then rethink this issue and look at it from first and foremost, trying to address the cross‑border issue.  This is where a majority of our challenge lies.  We haves the 600‑meter cross‑border points between countries, there is a challenge to many, many countries.

As a result, we have monopolies when we get to crossing borders, duopolies, or people use satellite.  At the end of it, it tends to be cheaper to buy capacity to Europe than it is to buy capacity between neighboring countries.  So that's a challenge, it means the best way to host data within the continent is either to the country that has the best infrastructure, which may be South Africa, or Kenya or Nigeria or to Europe.

Now, the final thing that is going to be very interesting to see is how do we allow this to grow.  The one component we need to use to start evolving is having policy makers and regulators on the continent to start not look at destinations as countries, but as points of intercontinent.  So we are not talking about ‑‑ we are not talking about, for instance, Kenya and Nigeria Interconnecting, we are talking about an Interconnecting Nairobi and Interconnect in Lagos, what does it mean, what does it talk, what is the cost.  How do we eliminate ‑‑ let's not talk about countries, but points of Interconnect, because then this will now start bringing back the opportunity for us to actually be able to host the data in continent first and then the policies that we are talking about actually can have a ‑‑ I will say a place they can stand on?  Right now, it's very difficult to place the policies when a majority of our continent is living in someone else's cloud and that cloud is off‑continent most of the time.  Let me close there.

>> ALISON GILLWALD: Absolutely, thank you very much for that.  This is a point drawn in your digital economy report released this year, and really spoke about the importance of enabling cross border flows, but in ways that with all prevent harm and ensure greater equity in the benefits associated with value creation from data.  So I wondered if you'd talk to us about ‑‑ we spoke about the important of harmonization on the continent in order to get the kind of scale we need to create competitive markets and to ensure that all countries on the continent benefit from these developments, these technological developments.

This is part of a global market, and there has to be some alignment with global standards and global understandings of how this can be done equitably.  I wondered if you could speak about that.  The Secretary General of the U.N. this morning, again, made the point of the importance of getting digital governance right if we are not going to exacerbate inequality.  I'm wondering if you could tell us a little bit about your view on the African data policy from work, which, of course, UNCTAD did participate in the task force that produced it.  Please share your ideas with us on that.

>> PILAR FAJARNES: Thank you, Alison, thank you to the organizers of this event in the Internet Governance Forum.  Indeed, we welcome this initiative of the African Union and the policy framework, and we have been collaborating with the task force, working on this, which is very aligned with the work of the telecommunication report.  At UNCTAD, what we have been producing this report as a result of the importance of dote far development.

Here I would like to stress the word development because when you listen to Pren‑Tsilya, she emphasized really the importance of the transformation, I would agree to that, but what is really important is digital transformation to work for development and the data transformation doesn't automatically lead to development.  It is important to work on data organized from works that ensure this development perspective and this is what we have been trying to do in South African, look at development perspective.

In the report, we show the increasing importance of data, not only as an economic.  It is important to manage them, if we are managed, they can help address global development challenges as we have seen with health related to the COVID or with climate change, we can see.

But if data generated highly unequally development outcomes, it can undermine the development of the internet and use to other Human Rights.  In the analysis of data situation, we see that data flows are shortened, but in the context of device and digital readiness concentration, we see in countries, but we are seeing what was the traditional digital divide is being compounded but the data related divide with the United States and China, basically global digital platforms from these countries is threatening the dominant positions and investing along the entire global value chain.  This trend is helping reinforce by the COVID pandemic.

In equality developing countries, they are becoming net providers to data, while having to pay for digital generated from their data.  That can be monetized or used for public purposes.

What we find important, and we are aligned also in this sense with the African Union framework, is the importance of increasing the understanding of data and the development implications, because we are in new territory, and we really need to understand what the new dynamics in the digital economy.  Data, not like goods and services, data flows can be considered as international trade but as a particular kind of national economic flow.  As Lorrayne said, they are multidimensional, from an economic perspective, which on one side we can have private value but social and public value, which is very important to preserve.  And the solution can be highly unequal.  But data can also involve noneconomic dimensions, that you are closely related to privacy and other human rights and security issues.

So all this needs to be considered jointly and public policies are needed to maximize the potential of setting data in a way they are equitably distributed and minimizing the risk and other consents involved.  The African Union policy framework is a very useful to understand the need for data and developing policy for developing countries.  The alliances of the different national, international policies that are related to data, shows that there are some major data, like United States, China the European Union that may raise the risk in the space, but may be harmful for development Spurs.  At the national level, there is no one site or approach, it depends on a specific condition and the internet readiness of the countries.  But what we conclude is the positions and flows on one side and restricted on other are not likely to work for development.

At the international level, regulatory frameworks tend to be too narrow in scope focusing on privacy or too limited geographically.

But this is not enough.  We need global data governance because data governance has become a global challenge that requires a global approach.  We see that there is a need for a balanced approach that works for people on the planet, and this governance, this global approach is important to avoid further fragmentation of the digital space, to enable global, to mitigate widely needed inequities and enhance trust in the digital economy and build the global (?) it should enable data to flow as freely as possible while addressing barriers and development objectives.  We see that.

>> ALISON GILLWALD: Sorry, very few minutes just to take some audience questions, can we do that.

>> PILAR FAJARNES: Yeah, I'm finishing.

>> ALISON GILLWALD: Finish up that thought.

>> PILAR FAJARNES: In this context, we see the creation of a new United Nations coordinating body because we see a problem of underrepresentation of developing countries and the U.N. would be the most representative portal.  It should be multilateral, multi‑stakeholder and multidimensional and multidisciplinary.  And we see in this context that the African Union data policy framework will align because we see initiatives and data governance as building those blocks for global data governance.

I would leave it like that.

>> ALISON GILLWALD: Thank you so much, Pilar, these are such important points that you make.  Essentially now we are dealing with noble digital public goods, whether it's the internet, data or cybersecurity.  Even if we manage to get it right, our regional data frameworks to enable these things, we are dealing in this international environment that, you know, has to work if the internet is going to fulfill its function.

So in this context of the internet governance forum, I am wondering if there are people, firstly, online who have any questions, if our online moderator can indicate if there are any questions that have come in.

>> MAHLET TESFAHUN: No questions so far.

>> ALISON GILLWALD: Perhaps we could get some questions from anyone online who would like to ask any?

Okay, I'm going to actually just come back to the panel while people hopefully think about some questions.  We have the opportunity of having the African Union Commission here to take questions on the framework, how it's going to be implemented, what the next steps are, and its importance.  And before we just ‑‑ I'm going to ask you, the panelists if they could also take the opportunity when we back if there's some questions from the room in Katowice, if you would like to comment on each other's points, because I think they clearly were some designed to do so while people were speaking.  Nodding and shaking of heads.  So let's take the question from the room in Katowice, please.

>> Audience: Thank you.  That you had the panelists that you have for this session, really necessary at this point. 

>> NASHILONGO:  I'm Nashilongo, I'm from Namibia.  My question is related to the strategies spoken by my Souhila from the African Union and also raised issues by Michuki.  My question is to the lady from Google.  It was good to hear those contributions or strategy that you have for the African, my question is really about, is there a specific plan for instance, for Google and other platforms to build, for instance, data centers in the African continent.  I think that will really perhaps speak to issues of infrastructure that the region would be needing, in the region, thank you.

>> ALISON GILLWALD: Thank you so much for that Nashilongo.  Could we get, Pren‑Tsilya, could you respond to that question.

>> PREN-TSILYA BOA-GUEHE: Yes, thanks so much for the question all the way from Namibia, I didn't realize we had such an international audience.  So the data center is not currently one of our priorities, like I mentioned, our infrastructure priority at the moment is developing the sub‑c cable that will enable access to the internet.  For us, where the data is housed is not so valuable as how that data is secured.

So through our cloud and our networks, we have invested millions of dollars in protecting people's data, making sit safe through the cloud, that's really something that we are working towards, I think facilitating cross‑border data flows really also depend on that.

Having rules and restrictions and requiring localization standards can make this data more inaccessible, less safe in many instances and difficult to protect.

So thank you for your question and I'm happy to expand further.

>> ALISON GILLWALD: Pren‑Tsilya ‑‑ we have questions for Lorrayne and Michuki in the chat.  The localization if doubled in the past four year, why do you think that is the case and how has the pandemic impacted this trend.

>> LORRAYNE PORCIUNCULA: Ultimately, I think there's this growing notion that there's a loss of control both from governments and also civil societies.  Currently this topic narrative that we have and just to echo some of the downs that Pren‑Tsilya made as well, one of the arguments we put forth in the report, we need to talk about data, is that data is very different from other traditional goods and services, and ultimately, just looking into where data is located is the easy solution, but it's not the one that is going to drive some of the policy objectives that policy makers are trying to achieve.  Think about the consequences of data localizations, for small and medium enterprises when looking to securing their data and having services that are high quality services, but they are not forced to put their data into service that is not as secure, not offer the services they need and how that impacts in terms of costs and quality of services offered.

Ultimately, it's not necessarily where data is located, that should matter, but how it's being used, by what purposes and by whom, and when we turn the narrative around, towards what we want to do with data and for what purposes, then we need to understand what are the mechanisms and tools to make sure that those policy goals are achieved, rather than thinking other solutions are around data local station, and the reason why I touch in the point of the narrative is that for those that have a hammer, everything is a nail, right?  I feel that the narrative around data has been very much around that of a hammer and around protection and localization, which is clearly ‑‑ protections clearly one of the policy objectives that need to be balanced with other ones as well.

Ultimately having a conversation which is multi‑stakeholder that includes sectors, practitioners and not only tech, but traditional sectors, is needed so that we can see the different perspective there, that are at play here.

So I think localization efforts are being drawn because that's the only narrative that we have and part of having this discussion like the one we are having in the IGF is important to increasing the awareness that there's more in the game than just localization.

>> ALISON GILLWALD: Thanks.  I think there's some really important follow-up questions to that.

Let me just read this question for Michuki.  Pren‑Tsilya noted Google has invested in undersea cables.  I suppose those cross‑border challenges you were speaking about, Michuki.

>>  MICHUKI:  It allows one of the areas, it allows foreign networks to have ease of access to Interconnected points because they'll be resilience, because we have multiple cables, a network abroad in Europe, the U.S. can easily come to a point of Interconnect and exchange traffic.

At the same time, it allows for the opportunity and presents that business case that building data infrastructure in the region is becoming more of a reality because you have potential for these networks to host infrastructure and be ‑‑ allow them to ‑‑ for them to Interconnect at this point, what it doesn't do, it does not raise ‑‑ change the existing policy and regulatory environment that need to be placed and allow for more competition on the  terrestrial, and  it is going to be great, but after landing, then what happens?  If you're still going through a Monopoly operator to take you from the landing station inland or to countries that are land locked, then the same challenges still remain.

>> ALISON GILLWALD: Going to Pilar's point, if things continue as that you are, and we don't do things differently, Africa will be the net producer of data that's actually ‑‑ accessed really by people who are able to develop it and process it and produce value from it.  In fact, will very often be paying for that digital intelligence to get it back and use it themselves.  Very often the points, we can't just have localization because actually that doesn't create value, we can't do this or that.  What do we actually need to do to change that?  So what should we do or not do?  What do we actually need to do so Africa can participate equitably in the opportunities and be in a position to limit the current harms that we see vulnerable people across the world but particularly on the continent who are connected experience?  Pilar, can I ask you to come in on that?  I think you made very strongly the important point about data for development, and I think that's sometimes, you know, absent from the more commercial financial, even if it's from a consumer point of view, what are the actual development imperatives there, what do we need to change.

>> PILAR FAJARNES: Well, I would like to congratulate the lady from the floor, she put a very good point.  So it's very clear that there is a need to look at the particularities and to push for development of the data driven economy in Africa so that they can really be a part of the global government.  And I think in that case, the African Union is  ‑‑ it can be, as I mentioned, a building block because it can really put the position of African countries together, and they can never say better in the global dimension, up to now, their representation is very low in the different initiatives.

So what we see the policy that are necessary to work from the data perspective, one important aspect is to work on the finishes, which is ‑‑ it is important to agree on the finishes, what are data, the data flows, and very important issue about measurement.  What is the phenomenon we are trying to address, really we need evidence‑based policy‑making, and that is very important?

On this, I would like to make a point on the question that was discussed before on the number of policy messages on data localization, I think there is a need to caution when talking about numbers in regard to policy messages, because one measure could close completely data flows, and there may be many measures they don't have much of an impact.  It is important we know that in the digital economy, very difficult to measure and very important to put more function in measuring, it is important to look at what we saw, and in many, many publications, or analysis, we can see about this, the number of data localizations measures, the number may not be as important as what the measures imply.  So we see the need to work on the provision of global goods, as we mentioned, contributing data, the data that can be seen as the global goods.  We see these governments can be taken at different levels, some data it is important to see the types of data and establish the depths of access for the different types of data.  Maybe some data types do not need to cross the border and need to be under some conditions, some other conditions.  So in this report, what we tried to do is, again, as Lorrayne was saying, change the narrative, reflect on these issues and restate the issues of governance.  What is important is to work on the relation of international platforms and competition, on taxation issues, with which are very important to fight to really to look for increasing the equality in this context.  To fight.

>> ALISON GILLWALD: I think Pilar, it's exactly this complexity one can't actually look at data warehouses or data localization or even data policy without looking at the relationships with now the potential of digital ‑‑ global digital taxes in order to realize these public goods at the national level.

So I think these are really important debates we have to have.  I would like to give the last few minutes to Souhila to respond to the important points made, what we need to do to ensure African more equity participation.  Africa is really not participated adequately or forcefully or participating, never mind set agendas on global governance.  And what do you see as the potential of this data policy framework and positioning Africa in a global digital economy can do for greater participation by Africa in global governance.

>> SOUHILA AMAZOUZ: Okay, thank you, Alison, thank you for all the speakers, I took a good neat of all the comments that were made.  I think they are very relevant, and I think the next step after this development of this framework is to develop, to work with the task force members and also with all concerned parties and stakeholders to developing the action plan to guide the implementation of this referendum work, we have some priorities, like, for example, building capacity, rising awareness of the decision‑makers and also to ‑‑ because I think we cannot talk about Africa position at the international level if we don't speak about capacity rising awareness, to have better understanding and from there, we can take it as ‑‑ to increase and sensitize African countries to participate in international debates because as was highlighted but the Pilar and also but the lady from OECD, it is important, and also African countries needs to raise their voice and to explain their context, and the question rises by the audience about Africa to find adequate solutions to Africa in order to develop its capacity and to develop its ‑‑ I totally agree.  We cannot continue to be the producers of data and the consumers of digital services, it's time for Africa to develop its own capacities and also to build its digital economy, and I think we have a lot of work, but I think it is good ‑‑ we have a good start, we started with this comprehensive framework, and now we aim to work with all concerned parties really to build the capacities at all levels, because there is need to build capacities at the policy level, but also at the technical and legal levels in order to respond to the challenges coming with digitalization and globalization.

>> ALISON GILLWALD: I did just want to end with going back to the very important point that Pilar made about the need for evidence‑based policy, contextual policy and to highlight the fact that actually we just don't have the data to assess where we were and make the important planning decisions we have to make as we go into the action plan and the implementation plan for this data framework, it's going to be important to identify indicators, many digital ‑‑ we don't have data for the basic digital indicators, but now it's different kind of digital indicators that we need, we need to identify those if we are going to try and measure our progress towards these target.  Of course, targets of the SDG.  I think that's our time up, we are ‑‑ we are going to just disappear into the ether at some point, I would like to thank the panelists for their input, to be GIZ for putting this together, supporting the back end of this meeting, thank you all so much, the audience, thanks for the great inputs, so glad to see that despite the travel bans, the Africans in Katowice, well done, and let's hope that we can meet again in future in person sometime soon, thank you.