IGF 2021 – Day 1 – OF #21 The African Union Open Forum 2021

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.



(Video plays:)

>> We all live in a digital world. We all need it to be open and safe. We all want to trust.

>> And to be trusted.

>> We all despise control.

>> And desire freedom.

>> BOTH SPEAKERS: We are all united.

(End video.)

>> ADIL SULIEMAN: Hello, everybody, good afternoon. If you're joining physically or if you're joining through Zoom, welcome. Can you all hear me, please?

>> AUDIENCE: Yes, we can hear you loud and clear.

>> ADIL SULIEMAN: Excellent. Nice to see you, Mary, physically attending the meeting. This is great. So without further ado, let's start our meeting. This is the Annual AU Open Forum. I think you're all very familiar with the forum and its objective. We are very happy to have you all with us today. And we look forward to a very positive and fruitful interaction with all of you. Just a little bit of logistics. I think we have interpretation. The interpreters are assigned. I think if you can confirm that interpretation is working, I think that this is something that is going to be done on Zoom. Unfortunately, people on the floor, they may not be able to enjoy this service, unless you are joining through Zoom. I think my understanding now they are working on interpretation as we speak. So let's give it a couple of minutes before we can start because I think we need to make sure that we have interpretation service. Thank you.

Joshua and Belen, please, if you confirm if interpretation is already set up and is ready so that we can start.

>> BELEN GISSILA: Belen speaking here. So one of the interpreters is logged in using my account. So I cannot assign anyone. Only the host can assign the interpreters. So we're waiting for the host to assign us.

>> ADIL SULIEMAN: The one that is assigned can operate, right?

>> BELEN GISSILA: I don't think.

>> JOSHUA JOSHUA: If you can make me host, the technical people in the hall, if you can make me host to start the interpretation, then I'll give you back the host and still remain as a cohost. Thank you.


I'll start interpretation in seconds.

>> ADIL SULIEMAN: Excellent. Do we have Dawit Bekele with us? I don't see him. Okay. Joshua, just give us a thumbs up.

>> JOSHUA JOSHUA: I've started with interpretation for one of the interpreters. If the other interpreters, if you cannot, just single me. I think we can start.

>> ADIL SULIEMAN: Excellent. Excellent. Very good. So excellent. So our panelists we have today, Mr. Christian with us. He's the Acting Head of the Information Society Division. We're supposed to have Dawit Bekele, but he's not with us. We have also Dr. Mactar Seck, UN Economic Commission for Africa. And we have Mary Uduma, the African IGF MAG Chair. And we have Dr. Margaret Nyambura with PRIDA project. Without further ado, let me give the floor to Mr. Christian Mnoungou to give his thoughts. He is going to highlight the progress made on initiatives by the AUC. Five minutes, please. You have the floor.

Joshua, if he can be assigned as a speaker, please.


>> ADIL SULIEMAN: Christian Mnoungou.

>> JOSHUA JOSHUA: I can't see him.

>> ADIL SULIEMAN: He just confirmed to me he's online.

>> JOSHUA JOSHUA: He can mute himself if he's online.

>> ADIL SULIEMAN: I don't see him. Okay. Until we get Christian all set, do we have Mactar? Mactar Seck? Apparently Mactar is not there. Let me give the floor to Dr. Nyambura to give a presentation on PRIDA.

>> MARGARET NYAMBURA NDUNG'U: I'll go ahead. You can hear me?

>> ADIL SULIEMAN: Yes, we can now. We can hear you.

>> MARGARET NYAMBURA NDUNG'U: I want to share my screen. So thank you again. And I'm going to give you a brief on PRIDA. And PRIDA stands for the Policy and Regulation Initiative for Digital Africa. And this project came as a result of a declaration by the African Union in 2018. The declaration encouraged participation of African stakeholders in the Global IG debate through engagements in national, regional, continental, and global internet policy‑making efforts. This is based on IGF principles, with internet and localized IG debates and related policy matters. After this declaration is when PRIDA was founded, which is an initiative of the African Union Commission, European Union, and the ITU. And PRIDA is on intercontinental levels, and we're talking about what IGF supports, the School of Internet Governance. Again, we're supporting School of Governance. Our main focus for the last two years as you'll see from the diagrams we have, we've focused on 23 countries from 55 member state of the African Union Commission. Again, we're supporting capacity building and working on sustainability of the whole process. In 2018, while the project was started, the studies that were done just to understand the IG landscape, how are we doing as a continent in terms of participation in international debates, in IG, ICANN, and all those bodies that are involved in the IG space.

From that study, three studies were commissioned. And from the outcome of these studies we came up with a strategy. This strategy focused on two main issues. The first one to stream line the IG structures and processes at the national, regional, and continental level and the whole idea is to ensure that we have a common voice when we go to international processes, that we have started from the national level, had our school of IGs and school of IGFs, we go to the regional level, the continental level, and the global level. We all know the last year and this year, this has not been possible due to COVID, but we're hoping next year, IGF coming to Africa, we should be able to do that. And the next thing is to build capacity and offer services and diplomats to member states. Again, what we're seeing is we need to have that capacity in terms of policy and technical debates so we're able to move together and ensure that both policymakers, technical people, they're all engaged when it comes to IG issues.

Then, this will also ensure that internet policies and standards are adapted to the African, creating a conducive environment for digital transformation. I'm sure we all know the African Union has a digital transformation strategy last year, and basically this needs to be implemented by all of us. So in think implementation strategy we structured who is doing what in these complex areas of Internet Governance and we have African Union Commission at the apex and we work at the national level. And this convenience could be from different stakeholder groups, private sector, public sector, the media, the internet community, name it. But then also we thought we had to work with a PRIDA focal point and most of the time the PRIDA focal point is from the government, the public sector. The whole idea is all the work that goes within the IG, we want implementation to take place and everybody involved in the process to take part in the implementation and make sure whatever we are suggesting is implementable. At the regional level we have five regional IGFs in the continent, based on the five regions we have. In this, we're working with regional economic communities. Again, the whole idea is for sustainability and to ensure that these regional IGF have institutions and economic communities that are the most well‑suited. At the continental level we have the African Union Commission, and the school of IG at the continental level. And through that we are able to go to the global processes with a common voice which is the whole idea of ensuring that we have a common voice when we're going through this international process. But again, we take cognizance of the fact that we are all operating in different contexts. We have to customize what we are getting. Basically, we get what we are getting from the global level, but again we need to contextual at our national levels. Starting in 2020 we have been doing a lot of capacity building. Last year, we focused on nine countries. In these countries, we developed, after the COVID, we realized we still needed to do capacity building and we can't go in these places physically. So we came up with an online curriculum that is for this curriculum but one can go through it in 12 hours, spread in a week, and it is facilitated, very contextualized, very practical, and the whole idea is to bring the concept, bring the ideas to the people. Then we try to contextualize at the national level. We supported Botswana last year, Madagascar, Eswatini, Liberia, Egypt, Mauritania, Comoros, and Cabo Verde. All of those were able to establish their school of IG.

From those nine countries, we further supported five countries to organize their IGF. That is Botswana, Eswatini, Madagascar, Cabo Verde, and Liberia. Organizing IGF is a complex process. We need it to be multistakeholder, and that's why we're not able to match the School of IG we support with the IGFs.

Come 2021, again we have supported eight countries: Ethiopia, (?) Seychelles, Djibouti, Lesotho, Central Africa Republic, and Togo. But again, we worked with countries. There's also Somalia that we supported.

We have also worked with countries that have already held their School of IG in the past but they chose or wanted to use our platform. This supported Nigeria and Togo. Again, the West Africa School of IG, we had a model platform, and we had a quite a number of students participated as you see in the coming slides. Out of the ten countries we supported in 2021, five countries were able to subsequently hold their IGF. That is Somalia and Togo, and also Togo and Nigeria and Liberia that have been having IGFs in the past, and they're still able do that.

So out of the 23 countries, as part of the end of 2019 had never held an IGF, we still have seven countries that we need to focus on. And that should be our focus going forward. And these countries are ‑‑ oops. Sorry. These countries are Algeria, Guinea‑Bissau, Guinea Equatorial, Sao Tome, and then Angola, Libya, and Eritrea. So these countries, we need your support as a continent because we need to ensure that they are able to organize their School of IG and able to organize their IGF. If you can support us with any of these countries, we welcome that. The training that we have done, we work in a spirit of multistakeholderism. We have to work with the government, the private sector, the civil society, the technical community, also had the members of parliament, the judiciary, so we're really expanding the number of people we're working with.

Just to give you an analysis of the countries we have supported. I don't want to go into analyze all of them, but basically that shows what we have done. And we are very, very keen when it comes to gender, and again you see we deliberately work to find out even when we're calling for people to apply we insist that we do 50/50 but this is the outcome we have come up with. This tells us we really need to work hard to ensure that this divide is well‑addressed. Again, considering the COVID issue, the fact that we are training more with the female people, we need to ensure that they are in the digital space and understand and they have able to guide children when it comes to cybersecurity or insecurity. These are the people who are spending most of the time with the children. So to give you an analysis for all the countries, this is an aggregated figure. 72% of participants are male and 28 are female. A question to all of us, what do we need do to ensure that next year or 10 or 20 years down the line we don't get these similar statistics. We have to act now so that we have different statistics in 20 years to come.

Again, in terms of certificates, we also realize learning online is not easy. There are so many computing activities in our calendar and therefore we found that completion rate was not as what we would have wanted. People are very active for the four days we were engaging them, but basically after that the completion rate, they didn't go back to complete. And the challenge of online learning is that if you don't continue, or the moment you take a break, it becomes a challenge to come back. So we're working with our participants to make sure that we increase this completion rate. For sustainability reasons, we have done train the trainer trainings in 2019. We had one that was physical. In 2020, we worked with a different foundation and did an online training, 10 weeks training, that was very intensive and the participants were drawn from across the continent.

This year, we held two train the trainer training. The first one was targeted 19 ‑‑ we sent a call. 24 participants applied and we enrolled them. 64% of them were very active and half of them were able to complete and get a certificate. From this number, I would say our content as English, French, and Portuguese content. We're working to ensure we have other African languages, Arabic, Spanish, and the like so we include every other person. And after the train the trainer training, we did facilitation training and the whole idea is to ensure sustainability, because PRIDA, when it comes to resources, we are very few of us. But we work on a multiplier effect. We trained 31 participants to be e‑facilitators and to ensure that whenever a country would want our support we have a pool of people that we can send in to work with us. Therefore, that one participant who are able to complete. For these two training, you can see the regional representation that West Africa had the majority. We have East Africa and Central Africa and South Africa and North Africa. You'll find that West Africa is actually very active, a challenge to the other regions, that we need also to actively participate. Again, we're saying we realize we have other training initiatives and other training capacity initiative that are going on. We know North Africa have held two School of IGs this year. They did do one in February where we worked with them and they already did another one in November. So basically there's a lot of capacity building going on.

I won't go through this because this is basically what I have been talking about, that basically internet governance, we're doing capacity building. We're streamlining the IG processes from the national, regional, continental, to have a common voice. We have been developing a strategy and working to make sure that we bring all of us together and have a common position. So basically, let me not go into details in this, because, again, it will be discussed in my last slide.

Going forward, what are we planning to do in 2022? One of the things we have already started is to ensure sustainability of the current level we have, and sustainability of the trainings. So we are working with Pan Africa University through the School of Governance, Humanities, and Social Sciences, in Cameroon, to come up with a curriculum that will be embedded in their teaching curriculum, that can be taken by anyone, in a course or in a module, that should be able any time from mid next year or earlier than that. This curriculum will have ten modules on what internet governance is all about and we should be able to have these on and to get your input as well.

What are we doing? We're developing an online policy and strategy. We have already started doing the policy. We had stakeholder consultation where we talked with key experts in the continent that are doing some work related to the online policy. And with that, we have a draft already that will be discussed on the 20th through a task force. After that, we'll form the structure we come up with. Again, we work on all of you to come together. We realize in the coming future child online issues will be quite clear for us. With the COVID‑19, we all got exposed to the internet, you, me, whether you're in the urban or rural areas, we all had to get to use the internet, whether you have the skills or not, whether you know the risks or not, and basically this is the point where we come up with this policy. We try to sensitize everyone that internet is a good tool, but, again, based on how you are introduced to it, it can have different outcomes.

So again, come next year, we'll be supporting national, regional, and continental School of IGs and IGFs, and give priority to the seven countries I highlighted, of the 23 countries in Africa, that had not held any School of IG or IGFs at the end of 2019. We'll also work with the exists schools and IGFs to see where we can collaborate. We already have a pool of experts that are conversed with IG issues. They're from different ‑‑ they can speak different languages. And we noted that there's been a benefit from that pool already from School of IGs. Again, next year we're focus on parliaments and try to make them cognizant of the fact that they need to be at the right table and have the right skill and capacity to be able to engage and help us to come up with the best laws to guide us.

And again, we'll be very active in supporting the Global IGF 2022 in Ethiopia and we will collaborate with all the people working on that.

So thank you very much. And you're welcome to see what our website has, a lot of interactive content, and look forward to more interactions with you. Thank you. And back to you, Adil.

>> ADIL SULIEMAN: Thank you, Margaret Nyambura, for the excellent presentation. I thank Margaret Nyambura raised some interesting issues and also highlighted some achievement. Maybe collectively we need to look at these issues, like the gender issues. I think this is something that we are also looking at. We've had the consultant to advise us on what kind of action we need to take to make sure that this issue is addressed, but also if you have some sort of ideas, please share, even though you look at the gender 50/50, but at the end of the day, not so many females show up. So this is something we're struggling with, but we're hopeful that with your support, we could make some headways in this area.

So hold your questions until the end of the session, to the end of the speaker, until we open the floor for Q & A.

Next we'll give the floor to Mr. Christian Mnoungou, head of the division, to highlight some of the key achievements and some of the milestones done through AUC. Mr. Christian, you have the floor, please.

>> CHRISTIAN MNOUNGOU: Thank you, Adil, for giving me the floor. Good afternoon to everyone. Good morning, if you are still in morning time.

I want just to give an overview on the digital transformation strategy adopted by the AU leadership in February 2020 to see, to let participants see how far we have gone since the adoption of the strategy.

Ladies and gentlemen, as we all know, Africa is the continent with the most youthful population structure. Digital transformation as a driving force for innovative, inclusive, and sustainable growth is of paramount importance. From innovations such as mobile money platform to large‑scale business process, outsourcing development, digital is creating jobs, addressing poverty, reducing inequality, and facilitating the delivery of goods and services.

In line with the AU Summit held in February, 2020, adopted the Digital Transformation Strategy for 2030 period. The Digital Transformation Strategy works on the existing initiatives like the PRIDA project, which is supporting the implementation of the DTS. PRIDA, PRIDA being Policy and Regulatory Initiative for Digital Africa, and other initiatives, including the Single African Air Transport Market, SAATM, or the Free Movement of People, and the AFCFTA, as well.

The objective of the DTS is to earn us digital technology and innovation to transform African society and their economies to promote Africa's integration, generate inclusive economic growth, stimulate job creation, break the digital divide, and eradicate poverty throughout the continent through economic development, as well as ensuring Africa's ownership of modern tools of digital management.

The DTS is based on foundation pillars like enabling environments, policy and regulation, digital infrastructure, digital skills and human capacity, digital innovation, and entrepreneurship. The strategy builds, too, on critical sectors including digital industry, digital freedom and financial services, digital government, digital education, digital health, and digital agriculture, to drive the digital transformation and cross‑cutting theme like digital content and applications, digital ID, emerging technologies, cybersecurity, privacy, and personal data protection, and research on development to support the digital ecosystem.

It will also include, policy recommended, it also include policy recommendation and action, under each of the pillars, critical sectors, and cross‑cutting theme.

As we are speaking, the status of the implementation of the strategy is as follows. On foundation pillars, the PRIDA project, funded by the EU, and aim at achieving three main objectives. Namely, efficient and harmonized spectrum digitalization across the continent. Harmonization of digital communication policy, and legal, and regulatory framework, and African stakeholders' active participation in the global internet governance debate will contribute to the African Digital Transformation Strategy by creating a supportive and enabling environment to build on a continental digital ecosystem, especially with regard to harmonization of policy, and regulation and Africa's contribution to internet governance globally.

Two topics have been addressed in 2020. Notably, data protection and globalization and market conditions, licensing, and organization regimes for the development of monitoring and evaluation in a prototype with associated harmonization indicator, which was tested in 10 selected countries.

Capacity building is deployed to participating African stakeholders to participate in the global internet governance debates, strengthening the African voice in internal fora and contribute to reflect Africa priorities in global internet policies and the rules.

I think Dr. Nyambura highlighted some things in this regard.

In critical sectors, with the support of PRIDA, there's digital sectorial strategy is being developed for agriculture, education, and health. Work is still underway. Hopefully by the end of the second semester of 2022 will be able to complete all the ‑‑

>> ADIL SULIEMAN: Hello, I think we lost Christian momentarily. Christian, can you hear us, please? Hello? Hello? Christian, can you hear us please? I think we lost Christian. Hello, Christian, can you hear us? I think we have him back. Yes, go ahead, Joshua, please.

>> JOSHUA JOSHUA: No. He's out of the call. That's what I'm saying. He's no longer on the call.

>> ADIL SULIEMAN: He's disconnected. Okay. Excellent. Until he joins back to continue his presentation, let me invite the chair of the African IGF MAG, Mary Uduma. Mary, please, if you can also tell us who is there in the room in terms of panelists. And just give us a description. And I want you also to give you a task, when we get to the Q & A, maybe you can collect three questions to be asked during the Q & A session. Three or four questions. Depending on the time that we have. Mary, please go ahead.

>> MARY UDUMA: Thank you, can you hear me?

>> ADIL SULIEMAN: I can hear you.

>> MARY UDUMA: Okay. So those online can hear me as well. I have a number of people in the room. I can't count, but prominently I have Neema Mgaya present. There are 40 people here. Okay. So and we have an honorable member of Tanzanian parliament. If you don't mind saying your name.

>> AUDIENCE: My name is Neema Mgaya. I'm a member of Parliament from Tanzania.

>> ADIL SULIEMAN: Can we give her a few minutes to say something?

>> MARY UDUMA: Go ahead.

>> AUDIENCE: Thank you very much. My name is Neema Mgaya, a member of Parliament from Tanzania. I would like to commend all the efforts by PRIDA and the activity you're doing. But I had a few areas I wanted to highlight. First of all, I note that from 2021 to 2023, you have established the child online safety and strategy. And I would also like for PRIDA to consider developing women in politics online safety and strategy, because as a female parliamentarian myself, there's a lot of gender‑based violence which is subjected to us only because we are female. Oftentimes, when I personally post perhaps an issue that have contributed in parliament, the way it's being received becomes sexualized just because I'm a female but the same content can be shared by my male colleague parliamentarian and the same focus will be only what is presented. We see that leads to a lot of female parliamentarians not wanting to be online. So therefore I suggest PRIDA develop an online strategy for females, so that more of us can be online, et cetera. The other thing is the importance of parliamentarians being part of these discussions, because oftentimes as also one of the presenters already mentioned parliamentarians were not at the decision‑making tables or discussions, but once strategies are being passed we're then expected to expedite the same within our respective parliaments. It's very difficult to do so when you're not well‑informed. I've already noted that as parliamentarians we have limited understanding on areas of Internet Governance. Therefore, perhaps through PRIDA there can be a strategic effort to make sure that parliamentarians are capacita ted to make sure we understand internet governance and we have a healthy ecosystem. It's very important you're developing an agricultural strategy and I would like to highlight there it's important to remember rural women, especially rural women small holder farmers, and all interventions in Africa we shouldn't just focus in the main cities and urban cities but also make sure we bridge the rural digital gaps. Because at the end of the day, if some of us will remain not being online, then the advantages and efforts and possibilities the internet brings will not be fully realized. Thank you very much for this opportunity.

>> ADIL SULIEMAN: Thank you very much, Your Excellency, for this instructive intervention. Mary, my apologies, I give you back the floor.

>> MARY UDUMA: No. Not at all. We're happy to have her around and she's made so many very valid points. I would like Nina Wokama to greet us please.

>> AUDIENCE: What am I supposed to say? Hello, everyone. It is really interesting to find that we have a full room. We want to congratulate the IGF and Poland, the organizers, for having us. Tunema, we've exchanged contacts. As you know, during Generation Equality, the Web Foundation, worked with some of us who are here to get Tiktok, Facebook, Google, and Twitter to agree to work with us on reducing online gender‑based violence. And for those of us who are here, it's still the 16 Days of Activism. It is true that a pandemic has brought to fore some of the good news we've been preaching about connectivity and, by the way, the Executive Director of the Alliance for Reliable Internet, my colleague Sonia Jorge is sitting here. For some of you who don't know, Sonia is African. She grew up in south Africa, by the way, southern Africa. Now my point, I want to make two points. Beyond online gender‑based violence and the need for more women to feel secure online, I want to talk about the after pandemic Africa. For those of us who have been coming here, you know we've been working on remote participation. This is the 16th IGF. And finally, the world has come to understand that we can do things remotely, that we can do things online, and we can do many things remotely, not just meetings, but at home. So the question I want to leave with every single one of us here is, are you going to be the same after COVID? What are you going to do to your health system? What are you going to do to your education system? What are you going to do to your government administration and bureaucracy after the pandemic? When are we going to realize that affordable, meaningful connectivity should be a right for every African? Mary, in closing, I want to say it is true that people want to account for digital dividends in dollars and in euro. But those people already had some digital connectivity. They had TV. They had good transport. They had good communication. But in Africa, I think that digital dividends go beyond how much is invested and how much money is made. We should also look at how digital connectivity is increasing who we are as a people, increasing our community effectiveness, increasing our capacity to do the normal things that people used to do. This is really very important, when we calculate how we are gaining from the digital dividends. And that explains why, once again, we cannot stand any day of internet shutdown. This is the place to say it. This is the place to call out that Africans have a right to dignity, digital dignity. The Africans have a right to be online, secure, safe, men and women. Once again, it is 16 Days of Women Activism. Please let's connect, everyone, male, female, and marginalized populations. My name is Nina. I come from the Internet. And I'm happy to be here.

>> MARY UDUMA: Thank you, Nina.

>> ADIL SULIEMAN: Thank you very much my good friend Nina. I want to welcome the executive director of your foundation. Back to you, Mary. I think we're pressed for time.

>> MARY UDUMA: We're going to move quickly. Aicha is here. Aicha is a moderator, I mean, a rapporteur. And she will be able to take the questions. Okay? Aicha, I hope that's fine.

We have an African friend, and she's been doing a lot with us in terms of School on Internet Governance, and that is Avri. Avri will speak to us a little bit on the School of Internet Governance. You have the floor, please.

>> AVRI DORIA: Thank you, Mary. I have been privileged to be involved with the African School of Internet Governance since it was founded in 2013.

What I basically do there is coordinate a practicum which is to give the fellows at the school the experience of participating in a group like this. But in an experimental type of an environment. So for the last two years, the African School on Internet Governance, the AfriCIG met remotely. Last year, we had alumni come together to discuss what they had learned or wish they had learned, et cetera, and how they could use it. This year, we had a full remote school. We had about 40 fellows, happy to say, evenly split between men and women. And that's been one of our focus from 20 countries. The African School on Internet Governance is sponsored by you all, by the African Union Commission, by APC, and by the Research ITC Africa. A lot of things I can say about the school. It's very vibrant. Even as a remote school, it was very vibrant. Thank you, Mary.

>> MARY UDUMA: Thank you very much. I also want to say thank you for being a friend, and for being a friend even when it's just virtual. You are there for us. Thank you. And just a few things to say about the African Internet Governance Forum. The 10th meeting of the AFIGF will be virtually holding on 14 to 16 of December. We have since 2017 we had our charter in Egypt. In 2018, physically in Sudan. 2019, physically in Chad. And 2020 is the first time we did it remotely. Everybody can understand why it was a remote or virtual meeting. And we're planning to have another virtual meeting 14 to 16 of December.

Please, we are independent, so we can always hold our IGF any time, even after the Global IGF, for the most important thing that we know what we're looking at.

And our theme for this year is the advance in digital transformation in Africa in the face of crisis. We know that there was the pandemic crisis. We also have the youth pandemic crisis. We have security crisis in Africa. So we'll be looking at that. And there are so many. And the focus will be the DTS, as Christian was telling us. That being said, I want to invite all of you to be part of it. And I know that it's happening towards the end of the year, but please, spare us the time. 14 to the 16 of December. We'll have the Africa Internet Governance Forum holding online.

We have support from some of our partners and they are ready to join with us. This year we're ready to have some power session, workshops, and do the opening ceremony and plenary sessions. I don't want to hold us too much because people may like to ask questions or make comments. Back to you, Adil. Thank you.

>> ADIL SULIEMAN: Thank you very much, Mary, for this brief and informative statement. Christian, I will give you a couple of minutes to complete your presentation. Because we will have ten minutes for Q & A. Unfortunately, we've repeatedly, I hope the IGF Secretariat has seen, we repeatedly requested this forum be held for 90 minutes because I think one hour is too short of the time to go through the presentation as well as to receive questions on the presentation. So I would request again that we will be given 90 minutes in the future. Christian, please go ahead.

>> CHRISTIAN MNOUNGOU: Thank you. I hope you understood. I lost the connection due to power shortage. I'm sorry for that. I was updating participants on the status of implementation of the DTS. Since its adoption in 2020, in this regard, I was informing the floor that three digital sectorial strategies are being developed for agriculture, education, and health. Regarding cross‑cutting team, we have some achievements. Mostly on the review of AU convention on cybersecurity and personal data protection, which is to develop, and also to develop, policy paper on child online safety and employment.

And the third one is to develop continental cybersecurity strategy.

Work is going on. We hope by the end of this month the three document will be ready for consideration by task force members and then by member states.

We also try to organize best practice, strategies and key recommendations on online child safety and cybersecurity strategies. On e‑commerce, an AU e‑commerce strategy has been developed. Regarding data, a continental data policy framework was developed to set a common vision, principles, strategy, priority, and key recommendation to guide AU member states in developing their data system and capability to effectively derive value from data that is being generated by cities and government entities and the like.

We also develop the AU interoperability framework for digital ID. This framework sets out a vision that will enable people in Africa to have the possibility of easily and securely accessing the public and Private Sectors they need, when we need them, independently of their location.

To this end, the framework defines common requirements, minimum standards, government mechanism, and further alignment among legal frameworks with the objective to enable a person to authenticate and verify their legal identity online and offline, to access public and Private Sector services in AU member state. Two, empower people with control over their personal data, including their ability to selectively disclose only those attributes that are required for a particular transaction.

Third, to strengthen trust and operability among foundational identification system of AU member state.

This is in a nutshell, ladies and gentlemen, what has been done so far with regard to the implementation of the DTS. We are happy that the 2021 IGF give us opportunity to brief you and I would like also to seize this opportunity to call for more cooperation to strengthen our collaboration to enable our continent to take full advantage of the digital revolution. I thank you for your kinds attention.

>> ADIL SULIEMAN: Thank you very much, Christian. I think we're very pressed on time. Let's take a few questions. Those who are joining online, you can post your questions in the chat. Those who are attending physically, please feel free to ask questions. My understanding, Aicha is going to facilitate that. Maybe if we can get a couple of questions just together so that we answer them collectively after the questions.

>> MARY UDUMA: Anybody has a question here? Okay. Go to the mic and ask your question. Adil, you coordinate the questions online. These physical ones, please, tell us your name, your country, and then your question.

>> LAMIN FOFANAH: Good afternoon. My name is Lamin Fofanah from Sierra Leone, Civil Society. I wanted to ask the questions, we have seen which has been related from the different countries that have hosted the African IGF. And what ‑‑ sorry. And what I wanted to know is what are some of the preparations that have been made towards other countries which have not has the opportunity, or which has not even think of it to be part of the African IGF? And what have the African Union done towards that to see that at least we have a broad base contributed to everyone be on board? Thank you.

>> MARY UDUMA: Thank you very much. Adil, I think you got the question. Any other questions? Go to the microphone and tell us your name and then you ask your question.

>> AUDIENCE: Thank you. My name is Monhami Sosinga. I work with African Women Development Communication (?) My question is related to engagement of women and gender. You did highlight in your presentation that only 20 plus percent of women engaged, but I would like to hear concrete strategies on what are we planning to do to maintain equality? Thank you.

>> MARY UDUMA: Thank you very much. Any other question? And the last. Okay. We'll have Emmanuel from Togo.

>> EMMANUEL VITUS: My name is Emmanuel Vitus from Togo. I have one question from the African Union, regarding the next year Global IGF. I know the world is coming to us next year. So my question is to know what is our strategy, what are we doing, to get ready for that meeting? Because we usually say, you know, in Africa, if you are not on the table, you are probably the menu. So we want to know the work that is coming to us next year, are we going to be the menu or are we ready to really make it happen? So I want to know the strategy and how we can contribute as stakeholders.

>> ADIL SULIEMAN: Add thank you very much. Let me summarize the questions.

>> MARY UDUMA: Excuse me, Adil. Please, Honorable has a final question, please.

>> AUDIENCE: Thank you. I want to ask what is the strategy of making sure that we strengthen the connectivity in our rural schools? How do we make sure that digital ‑‑ we provide digital skills, digital literacy, from a young age in our rural schools. Thank you.

>> MARY UDUMA: Back to you, Adil.

>> AICHA JERIDI: Sorry. We have two more questions online.

>> ADIL SULIEMAN: You can state the question but maybe we will not be able to answer the question. Because we only have three minutes left.

>> MARY UDUMA: Read them out.

>> AICHA JERIDI:   First, from Lidian from Cameroon, what are the criteria being supported by PRIDA to strengthen a national IGF? What is the role of PRIDA in Central Africa?

The second question is from Lordis, journalist from Kenya, what is AU and PRIDA doing to avert online violence? Thank you.

>> ADIL SULIEMAN: Thank you, Aicha. Let me state the questions. We may not have time but I think most of the questions go to Dr. Margaret Nyambura. Basically, the question on online violence, what is the PRIDA criteria for selecting the countries, and what is the opportunity for countries that never had the IGF, what are PRIDA doing for Central Africa, and the preparation for Global IGF, and the connectivity question from Her Excellency Parliamentarian.

>> MARY UDUMA: Thank you, Adil. Probably I start with the question on criteria for selecting the countries. Basically, we did a study in 2019, just to understand which are the countries that are lagging behind in terms of school of IGF. Our study showed that out of the 55 member countries ‑‑ can you hear me?

>> ADIL SULIEMAN: Yes, we can.

>> MARY UDUMA: Our study showed out of the 55 African Union member countries, 23 of them had not held a School of IG or IGF. They didn't have the structures in place. Therefore, our focus has been on those countries. So far, we have remaining seven to work with them. Come next year, we plan to work with all the countries, basically. We have a pool of experts that will be helping us to support the School of IGs at the national level. Going forward, our focus is on seven countries, and while doing that we'll still be supporting the other countries. The other question, what are we going to ensure that we have more women on board. I think this is a question for all of us. When we are recruiting participants to attend the schools, and we work with the countries, we work with the national convener and we ask them to ensure gender 50/50. And even when we get the least, as much as we try to balance from our end, by ensuring that all the ladies that have applied for it, they automatically become participants, we still are not able to balance, which clearly shows that the challenge is deeper than that. We probably need to go back to early childhood development, including the women from that level. How are we ensuring that we don't have these diversity or exclusion and we start now wanting to take action when we are at a different level? At the tertiary, at the working level, I think we have to go deeper than that. That's why, again, we need to work with teachers, primary school teachers, early childhood teachers, secondary school teachers, let us address that gap at that level. Otherwise, 20 years down the line, we're likely to be talking about the same thing. From the member of parliament from Tanzania, it's very, very important to ensure we focus on women as well in politics. And not just in politics. With that kind of statistics we're saying the women who are online, only 28%, we don't have confidence when we get to the internet. We don't understand the pros and cons of being online. Therefore, we need to come up with a strategy for all the women, but more so for the women in parliament who are leading us in terms of policies and the like. Again, I call of you. Let's work out together and see how best we can address these challenge. I know you advocate for women issues, the one questioner, we want to make sure women are brought to the table. Let us work together and come up with a strategy for that. And I think that is about it from my end. Probability from Central Africa, we worked with the MAG organizing the Central Africa IGF last year, we supported in terms of a technical capacity, where our technical experts were able to facilitate out to provide content last year. This year, I'm not sure how far we have got because I don't think you have held your regional School of IG or IGF, but basically we are available to provide you with experts and also to work with you to see how best we can ensure that we are not being left behind. Thank you. And back to you.

>> ADIL SULIEMAN: Thank you. I put you in a difficult spot but I think you managed to navigate through the questions. There's an email address in the chat line if you want further info. You send your question there. If your question is not answered appropriately, please also resend the question so it can be answered. Lastly, before we conclude this session, I want to address the question from Emmanuel regarding the Global IGF. UNECA is leading this effort, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, with the support from the African Union Commission, and also the government of Ethiopia. And the plan is to formulate a task force, so that we can, together, work on this one. And I think more to come in this front.

I think with that, we come to the conclusion of this session. We thank you very much. I know that every year we say the same message. We are short on time, unfortunately. We could not field most of the questions. And we apologize for that. But I think it was great seeing you again, even though it was virtual. And great interacting with you, as usual. And we look forward to our next Open Forum. Hopefully it will be physical so that we can meet, we can chat, and discuss these African issues for the benefit of Africa. We all work for Africa. And we want to see Africa in a positive light. With that, I thank you. And we conclude this session. Thank you very much.

>> MARY UDUMA: Thank you very much, Adil. Thank you friends that came to be with us. Thank you, Africans. And let's make it the 14 to 16 of December for the African internet governance forum. And Mactar will be briefing us on the hosting of 2022 IGF in Africa. Thank you.

(End session at 8:03 a.m. CT.)