IGF 2022 Day 0 Event #88 Launch of the I&J in the African Union Report

Monday, 28th November, 2022 (14:20 UTC) - Monday, 28th November, 2022 (15:20 UTC)

Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network
- Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network - Tracy Sinkamba Faustin - Joshua Joshua - Martin Hullin



- Dr. Regine Greinberger, Cyber Ambassador at the Federal Foreign Office of Germany IN PERSON

- Alison Gillwald, Executive Director / Andrew Rens, Senior Researcher - Research ICT Africa (RIA) IN PERSON

- Neema Lugangira, Member of Parliament, Tanzania - IN PERSON

- Jean-Paul Adam, Director, Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resource Management Division IN PERSON

- Martin Hullin, Martin Hullin, Deputy Executive Director, Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network, Civil Society, Western European and others Group (WEOG) IN PERSON


Onsite Moderator

Tracy Sinkamba Faustin, Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network

Online Moderator

Benjamin Akintunde Akinmoyeje, Namibia University of Science and Technology


Joshua Joshua, Research Assistant, Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network - Cross Border Digital Policies for Africa


17. Partnerships for the Goals

Targets: How to handle the coexistence of heterogeneous laws on the cross-border internet is one of the greatest policy challenges of the 21st century. It has grown to be even more prevalent since the COVID-19 crisis has shown how dependent our lives have become on the emerging digital backbone of our societies. Yet, scalable and coherent policy solutions cannot be developed without a comprehensive understanding of a highly complex and interdependent ecosystem composed of multiple actors, initiatives, and trends across the policy silos of the digital economy, human rights, and security. Without international cross-silo cooperation, the risk of unintended consequences becomes a considerable risk affecting the global south disproportionally. The need to find suitable solutions for these challenges has also been identified by the global community as highly pressing, and the UN SG Report on Digital Cooperation and the resulting Roadmap with its 8 Key Areas of Action are both the framework for action and a source of inspiration for this project. In addition, the project also intends to enable the sharing of cutting-edge expertise, foster policy coherence, and make a critical contribution to shaping an inclusive future of this policy field, directly contributing to implementing SDGs 8, 9, 16, and 17 (economic growth, industry and innovation, peace and justice, partnerships regarding new digital challenges and opportunities). Background paper https://www.intgovforum.org/sites/default/files/webform/igf_2022_open_f…


Launch event and presentation U-shaped meeting


In 2021, the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network, with the support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), embarked on a two year project with the primary objective to frame, map and address cross-border digital policies for Africa. This project builds on the outcomes of the African Union Commission and Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network Regional Conference 2020 which addressed transnational and regional legal challenges in cyberspace, emphasizing the value of multistakeholder cooperation to enable digital transformation. The event also saw the regional consultation on the future of the UN Digital Cooperation Architecture (Recommendation 5) in the context of the United Nations Secretary General High Level Panel Report on Digital Cooperation and in cooperation with the Government of Germany in its role as UN champion. The proposed IGF open forum will set the perfect stage to formally launch and share the findings of the key milestone for the project, the African Union Regional Status Report. It is based on Knowledge Dialogue workshops with key African digital policy stakeholders, data collection interviews and surveys which showcase topical trends, themes, challenges and opportunities related to cross-border digital policies for Africa. The Report provides evidence on the current status quo among African Union member states with the aim to advance the capabilities of the African Union Commission to develop and regulate interoperability among member states. The community-driven development of the Report allowed to formalize and expand an already existing group of experts in the silo-breaking I&J Global Knowledge Network with a particular emphasis on the involvement of African actors to amplify their perspectives and to provide the needed substance and learning materials for facilitating human-centric capacity development. The open forum will present relevant findings on what information is needed to develop interoperable policy and regulatory frameworks for the digital 21st century, support the evolution of a digital single market, and contribute to Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the UN Roadmap for Digital Cooperation.


0:00 - 15:00 min Introduction & Welcome

15:00 - 25:00 min Presentation of the findings of the African Union Regional Status Report & introduction to the planned learning modules

25:00 - 50:00 min Discussion of the Report findings through the lens of the four open forum questions

50:00 - 60:00 min Q&A

Guiding questions:

1. How can African actors influence global governance agendas and outcomes in the interests of the continent and specifically to ensure the realization of global digital public goods? What opportunities are there for developmental data value creation?

2. Should countries without the prerequisites for data centers such as capital, suitable climate, reliable electrical power, high speed data connections and the like partner with other African countries to efficiently create continental infrastructure?

3. Acknowledging that African countries are at different stages of data readiness, what core areas and issues should be the focus of harmonization objectives for the continent in order to create a developmentally driven common digital market?

4. How can a trusted environment for value creation from data be created? How can the objectives of data protection and public value creation from both personal and non-personal data be aligned?

Links: Knowledge dialogues and Synthesis report - https://www.internetjurisdiction.net/event/2nd-cross-border-digital-pol… - https://www.internetjurisdiction.net/uploads/pdfs/IJPN_RIA-Cross-Border

Video: Cross-Border Digital Policies for Africa - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RKs_e01z9A

Relation to 2021 IGF messages The Katowice IGF 2021 related Messages related to this workshop include Economic and social inclusion and human rights; Emerging regulation: market structure, content, data, and consumer rights and protection; Inclusive Internet governance ecosystems and digital cooperation; and Trust, security, stability.

Hybrid format - Open discussion and impressions with practitioners and key stakeholders on the report findings - Introduction to the planned learning modules developed as a result of the Report. - Further engagement of the African I&J knowledge community that actively contributed to the findings of the report

Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

1. Further work on data policies in Africa need to be forward looking and address issues of implementation. When harmonisation is not possible interoperability needs to be pursued.

2. There are key areas we should focus on in Africa, including capacity building to understand how we can access digital technologies, and building resilience, to reduce the cost of implementing best practices by acting regionally.

Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)

There needs to be strong coordination among African countries regarding digital policy issues

Session Report (* deadline 26 October) - click on the ? symbol for instructions


The Launch of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network Regional Status Report "Framing, Mapping and Addressing Cross-Border Digital Policies in Africa" took place on Monday 28 from 05:20 pm to 06:20 pm EAT.  The Report has been produced with the support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). 

Participants discussed findings from the Report and why policy coordination is important to building an inclusive and vibrant digital economy in Africa. Panelists identified key trends taking shape across the region and presented opportunities and challenges for government, private sector, and civil society actors to consider.

The session opened with a presentation from Dr. Alison Gillwald, Research ICT Africa (RIA), of the Report’s key findings which include the structuring questions that provide a baseline for future discussions with key stakeholders in the continent:

  1. What is the path toward harmonization?
  2. What is a digital infrastructure strategy?
  3. How to leverage data sharing for development?
  4. How to strengthen the voice of Africa in the global data governance fora?

The key findings at a glance:

  • African countries should increase their coordination on data policies.
  • Data sovereignty can be realized without data localization through reciprocal protection of personal data and continental policies to share benefits.
  • Data policies require human rights safeguards in order to create a trusted and functioning online environment.
  • Incremental implementation of data policy should progress towards harmonization and take into account development capacities and national contexts without requiring simultaneous conformity.
  • There is generally a data deficit on the continent, particularly of accurate data and data-sharing structures that can foster the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Shared data infrastructures, including a distributed network of data centers, need to be progressively developed to enjoy the benefits of scale and scope.
  • A common African voice in international fora should advocate for data policies that support inclusive development and uphold both individual and collective rights.

In response to these findings, Neema Lugangira and Jean-Paul Adam shared their perspectives and introduced the activities of the African Parliamentary Network on Internet Governance (APNIG) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) respectively.  Jean-Paul highlighted the need for capacity building, investment in youth and access to digital technologies.  Neema, who also provided substantive contributions to the Report, stressed the need for the Report to be a living document that capacitates policy makers to implement its recommendations.  She also underscored APNIG’s commitment to connecting with relevant global actors and leveraging digital policy best practices and know-how across regions. 

The Report also provides an overview of the current state of data policy with a mapping of laws and conventions in the context of the new African Union Data Policy Framework with a focus on cross-border digital issues. 

The findings in this Report are based on a large-scale collaborative contribution and review process, combining the expertise of the key stakeholders engaged in the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network and beyond.   

The Report builds on the unique methodology of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network to mutualize knowledge of key regional stakeholders from states, companies, technical operators, international organizations, academia, and civil society through interviews, surveys, and workshops. It is a regional edition of the Internet & Jurisdiction Global Status Report 2019, which was followed by the Internet & Jurisdiction and ECLAC Regional Status Report in 2020.

Finally, the session also announced the next steps for future use of the Report in the form of online learning modules.  Currently under development, these learning modules will be based on the content of the Report and made available as widely as possible to be integrated into existing learning platforms across the African continent with a focus on increasing digital skills and capacity among policy decision makers.