You are here

IGF 2019 – Day 1 – Convention Hall II – High Level Panel on Internet Governance, SDG's and Inclusion- RAW

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Fourteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Berlin, Germany, from 25 to 29 November 2019. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 

***

 

>> ANDREA THILO: Thank you all very much.  We are now changing to our next subject, which will be the Internet Governance related to the Sustainable Development Goals.  I'm very happy that this was put on the agenda by the IGF this year.  And it will be prominently now seated.  The people I will introduce to you in a second.  May I just start with the presenter and if you were asking for cultural diversity you will experience more in a second with this panel..

I would be kindly invite all the panelists and the moderator on stage.  I start to introduce to you Grace Githaiga.  She's the co‑convenor of the Kenya ICT Action Network and multi‑stakeholder platform for people and institutions interested and involved in ICT Policy and regulation.  She recently joined a board fostering inclusion and supporting marginalized voices, several ICT organizations and interestingly enough since April this year, she's hosting the weekly TV show Take on Tech of the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation.  Panelists enabling the public to talk tech with experts.  So I hope she's already there.  There you are, yeah.  Definitely.

And I hope I'm fine now with the real panelists fitting to my paper.  I think there hasn't been a change.  I try to prepare properly.

Grace.  And Grace will be coming with Jutta Croll, Nnenna Nwakanma, Houlin Zhao, and John Denton if I'm right.  Great to have you here.  So good.  So good.

So may I introduce Jutta to you.  She's a Member of the multi‑stakeholder advisory group at the IGF and since January 2018, she's the Chairwoman of the German charity Foundation working on fostering digital challenges.

Now you're Nnenna.  This is about mine.  So you are Nnenna.  She's a really highly respected tech pioneer.  A strategist and leader in Africa.  She advocates policy and systematic changes over more than 15 years of experience with different UN organizations, and human rights, Information Society, gender equality, et cetera and she has a big capacity to bridge the gap between the global and the local, and the metropolitan and the rural, so we are too happy to have you here.

And going further with Houlin Zhao, since January 2015 he's the Secretary‑General of the international Telecommunication Union, ITU if you don't know it yet is the specialized UN Agency for ICT services and technologies promotion, collaboration standardization so very happy to have you in your second term.  Please take a seat.

And it's Pinky, we have the same, can you please come back, Pinky?  Because ‑‑ can you please introduce yourself because the same thing, it always happens with the females but it's not in my duty so please Pinky.

>> PINKY KEKANA:  Thank you very much.  My name is Pinky Kekana.  I'm the Deputy Minister of The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies from South Africa.  But I'm also the Secretary‑General of the pan African women's organization POW, a specialized Agency of the African Union.  Thank you.

>> ANDREA THILO:  And finally John Denton, a legal experts and Advisor on global policy.  Since May 2017 the Secretary‑General of the International Chamber of Commerce and among other assignments, a Member of the board of the UN global impact.  He presides many other things but I keep it now short.  So enjoy your panel.  I take the iPad and I take your questions on Slido also from the hubs and I come back in 3/4 of an hour.  Thank you.

>> GRACE GITHAIGA:  Thank you so much for joining us for this panel.  We realize it's late in the day but we appreciate those of you who are here.

Since my panelists have already been introduced, I will not go back into that.  And this panel is looking at SDGs and inclusion.  For those of you who remember, SDGs were put into action in 2015, and they are a call for action to have an inclusive society that enjoys peace and, you know, thrives that there's no poverty.

So how do we achieve that?  We can only achieve that if there is inclusion, and inclusion of everyone in this world, so that's what we are focusing on in this panel.

Zhao indicated he might leave.  Your flight you might leave at 4:45 so some of the questions I think I will field them to you and at a point you feel you can leave we'll just allow you to do that and I will just start with you straight away.

If you focus on SDGs, what issues would you say are a priority for the ITU?  Especially on digital inclusion?

>> HOULIN ZHAO:  Yes, thank you very much.  I apologize for that.  I have to catch my flight tonight so I might leave a little earlier.

It's my pleasure to join this session, and we talk about one world, one net, one vision and we talked about one net, we're talking about the Internet Governance really matters and that means for those who are connected online, we have issues of security, privacy, communication, accessibility, all this so that we come together to address this issue.  So that is the one thing.

But we also heard from our engineers, technicians that the current net may not be that way, so we have to increase the level of technology.  For example we just heard from Tim Lee that in the future we like to have affordable service Internet with one key cards, 2% of income from any individual.  That's not the same as 10 years ago, we did not talk about 1 gigabyte per month so this technology advances and we continue.  We had our World Telecommunication Conference in Sharm el Sheikh, we're talking about 5G, we're talking about new technologies so we're working hard with private sector, with companies to provide new technologies to upgrade the level of the Internet.  So that is one thing.  We will not stay at the current service level.  We have to move further and higher.

But on the other hand, you talked about core population, and one world, one Web, one Web should connect everybody.  Today half the population not connected online yet so this is a big challenge to us and we have to extend our infrastructure to those people not connected to be connected.

So that challenge, I will talk a little bit later.  And we also talked about this kind of so‑called regulations of technology services and of course people do not like to have heavy technology regulations and we have to encourage development, competition, and core services so that when people talking about proper regulations, not that kind of heavy regulations, not talk about ‑‑ that is another story about that.

For me, the ITU as specialized Agency of United Nations, we definitely put the technologies as our priority but we also put connecting world, connecting people as our priorities, so to address this issue, we have to understand that for those who are not connected yet, why they're not connected.  Because they're living in the poor area, remote area.  There's no profit for the investors to go to that area.  Therefore, to connect these not connected yet we need to make more efforts, create more in favorable environment to attract investment.  That is a challenge to us.  People ask me questions at our conferences, for example in Budapest Hungary, we have our event, Secretary‑General, you talked about not left anyone behind.  We still have half the population not connected yet.  Can we have some idea from you when we have these people connected?  And we connected them all by 2030 which means from now for next 10 years, I thought realistically not that kind of easy.  But we also heard from previous speakers, even from our leaders, we like to see this be achieved earlier.

So ITU put for me, I put four Is as my priorities, four Is means infrastructure.  We have to extend our infrastructure to connect those not connected yet.  We have to upgrade our infrastructure with new technologies because today you have e‑Government.  e‑Government will not be effective if don't connect people.  So you have to connect them, so then you can have e‑Government be effective.

So we have to extend our infrastructure to them and we have to use new technologies to upgrade the services so infrastructure is very important for us and ITU is entrusted by WSIS to take care of infrastructure environment.

Then we need investment, and we know the gap but how can we adjust the gap?  We need investment.  2015 at Davos we talked a little bit about strategy.  We targeted 2020 to connect next 1.5 billion people online.  And we were given some estimations.  We need 450 billion U.S. dollars to connect the next 1.5 billion people online by 2020.

So we ask World Bank can they help us.  World Bank told us they don't have this money.  They have their own priorities, they have their own platform.  When it comes to industry, industry tell me, Secretary‑General, you're joking, 450 billion U.S. dollars to connect 1.5 billion people online by 2020?  You're joking.  We need triple of this and one side we need more investment, one side we don't have money.

So this is a big issue for us so we have to create an environment to encourage the investment so investment is the second.

And the thing we have to have innovation.  If we do business as we did up to now I think we will not be able to help us that much to connect these people not currently connected.  We need innovative ideas to do the business.  We need of course innovation for new technologies.

And here innovation not necessarily coming from big guys.  Innovation could come from SMEs, entrepreneurs, and nobody can have any success to any market if you don't have contributions for nations with SMEs.  SME is know technology, they know the market, they know how to help us connect new technology with communities.  We have to work with them.

And I think last I is inclusiveness, again, is my favorite language.  I have to not leave anybody behind.  Now I'm more and more challenged when we can have everybody connected online so this is something that again I put these four Is on the agenda and would like to work together with everybody concerned with this strategy and to make sure that we extend the benefit of Internet to everybody earlier rather than later.  Thank you.

>> GRACE GITHAIGA:  Okay.  As our Secretary‑General I allowed you to speak for longer because I know you'll be leaving at some point but you raised some very important points.  I like the idea of the four Is and I think directly one of the issues that has been highlighted is on innovation, and I think I'll come to you, John.  You know, from a business perspective or from what we call the industry, there's a challenge right there when the Secretary‑General says he was told he's joking, because that is ‑‑ because in terms of the investments that are required.

But in terms of connectivity and infrastructure, how do you rate the performance of businesses?

> JOHN DENTON:  Thanks very much.  It's great to be here, and it's an honor to be on such a distinguished panel.  But allow me to make maybe a different turn to the question you asked.

If you listen to the Secretary‑General Guterres, you listened to the Chancellor earlier and you read the stuff, it's great to see so many people engaged with the Internet and to be digitally enabled but we still have the reality that half the world is not.  It's not so much rating business, it's just the reality that we actually have a policy value here, clearly Governments have not been able to act at the level and the speed, and with the frameworks required, and I think business as usual won't get us where we want to go to, to deliver on the I of inclusivity.  We actually have to do what we call business as unusual.  We actually have to involve the business community a lot more in helping to create an environment for this massive infrastructure investment to occur.

But we've also got to be really honest.  There are actual disincentives for investment to support the Sustainable Development Goals.  I like to talk about what I discovered, I've only been in this role for a little over a year and I'm not really, I'm not a diplomat, I'm not a politician.  I'm a businessperson fundamentally but what I discovered was that there is misalignment between the intent and the way in which the financial markets operate.

And actually if you look at it, there's the Addis Ababa Declaration was pretty explicit about how you finance and support the SDGs.  You need to invest in infrastructure.  You need to create the environment for investment in developing countries, and you actually need to invest for the long term.  But if you look at the way the financial market operates, how does the financial stability board rate all those approaches?  High risk, high risk, high risk, okay?  So the reality is to actually get access to the capital required is extremely expensive so there's a misalignment.

So one of my jobs is not to rate the private sector.  It's to enable the private sector and the whole purpose of the ICC is to enable the private sector, enable business worldwide to secure peace, prosperity and opportunity for all, we genuinely believe in it.  I'm relatively small but I'm the voice of 45 million businesses from the north and the south, from Africa to America, from Syria to Israel, we actually represent all those voices.  My job is to enable them and to create settings that enable them to support the SDGs, because we genuinely support the SDGs because we see it as the citizens bargain for the 21st century.  We support action on climate.  We've mobilized 10 million businesses at global level for action on climate.  My aim to align the policy settings at a peak level and mass mobilize and to use innovation to support the mass mobilization.  We can talk about that later.  We don't talk.  We act.  Sometimes we act and we have to fix things later I think was also said by Secretary‑General Guterres on the way through, as well.

>> GRACE GITHAIGA:  Great.  I think there's the issue of inclusion, again, as one, as another of the four Is.  And I come to you, Pinky.  As Deputy Minister and as Representative of Government, and I assume that you will be speaking for many of the African Governments when you respond, because I know when you go to ITU, you speak with one voice.  When you go to these international negotiations, you speak with one voice.

And maybe you should tell us:  What should African Governments do to bring all Africans into SDGs?  You know, what should these interventions look like, practical interventions?

>> PINKY KEKANA:  Thank you very much.  One of the things that we have achieved as the Continent is to align the SDGs or the SDGs are aligned to agenda 2063, which is the blueprint of the developmental agenda for Africa.  Now, not only did we do that, but various Member States also ensured that the National development plan in one way or the other aligned their programs towards the SDGs and agenda 2063 so that's the one point that Governments have done across the Continent.  But one of the things that also comes very, very clear is that ‑‑ well, even before I go to that, if you look at the SDGs, most of the things that we have incorporated or aligned into agenda 2063 also speaks to some of the commitment that John spoke to.

And I think, John, while I agree with you that the policy and the regulatory framework might be one of the impeding issues for business to invest in the Continent, or in various governments, one we also need to do is to say in as much as the UN has agreed with developed countries to say at least 0.7% of your Gross National Income should be there to assist developing countries.  How much of that has been done?

And that's one of the things that developed countries should also look at, but it also requires us, as the developing countries, to measure and to monitor the implementation of some of those things, because the reality is that you will not be happy that we are left behind as developing countries, and that will also not fulfill the big agenda of SDGs including the developmental aspects that we all want to achieve.

So you, between me and you, you leave developing countries at your own peril.

> JOHN DENTON:  I'm completely engaged with developing countries.

>> PINKY KEKANA:  I'm just saying once we're not committing and making sure the 0.7% is achieved.

> JOHN DENTON:  100%.

>> GRACE GITHAIGA:  Okay, good people.  Address your questions through the Chair.  I think John will give you an opportunity to respond to that so that everybody can hear what I think you've been challenged.  It would be good to hear what the businesses have to say about that particular response.  Jutta, we come to you.  What would you say, you work with women, you ensure that you want women to be brought on board, to be included so what would you say are the gaps or barriers to digital inclusion in 2019.

>> JUTTA CROLL:  If you like I would like to skip my notes and answer to the four I agenda because from my perspective I would add a fifth issue, although it's not starting with an I but with an E and that is education and that's a lesson that we've learned over the last 20 years.  When we started our work, we thought that bridging the digital divide would be a question of access, and of course, now in the Northern hemisphere, many people have access.  We've heard about the 80% or the 20% ratio compared to the less developed countries.

But I do think that we can only overcome the gaps and barriers if access and education go hand in hand.  You can't benefit from the access you have if you don't have the education, if you don't have the competencies to make useful, to make useful use of the Internet and the application that's for your daily life so that's my suggestion, that you add the E, as well.

And that gives me the opportunity to refer to another organization that I'm representing here on the panel, not only the digital opportunities Foundation from Germany but the European umbrella organization for public Internet access points.  The interesting thing is that when the organization was founded 2008, they called themselves telecenters Europe, and you all might know telecenters or telehuts are also called Internet cafes, these were places where people could have access to the Internet when they did not have that on their own.  Now that many people have their Smartphone or their feature phone on the African Continent in their pocket, these places have become another important relevance, and that is that they also provide access to education, and they have a scheme of competencies that are necessary to make useful access.

And I can announce that the Manifesto to enhance digital competences will just be launched during this Internet Governance Forum and I will go a bit more in detail later on in the debate.  Thank you.

>> GRACE GITHAIGA:  All right.  Thank you.  Good people, audiences, we are not trending on Twitter.  Could we please Tweet?  Angela Merkel is still at number one, but it was our function, so can we please Tweet and make sure that IGF 2019 is trending.

Now, Nnenna, I need you to charge the audience so that they Tweet and say nice things about this.

Now, you know, the work that you do is mainly to see that there's digital inclusion of everybody, that everybody is brought on board.  So you look at digital inclusion as an inequality issue.

How are women, youth, and other Marginalized Groups, especially the southern countries, affected and being brought on board?

>> NNENNA NWAKANMA:  Good evening, people.  My name is Nnenna, and I come from the Internet.  Madam Chair, the reason IGF is not trending is because there are some Berliners who are not happy and they're manifesting.  There's a strike in town and that strike is number one.  You could do all your Internet all you want, but as long as people are not happy, that is what is going to trend.  Yes, ma'am.

[ Applause ]

Now, let's come to your question.  Earlier on, the Chancellor said that the greatest value of the Internet is freedom, and I Tweeted that and I noted it down.  However, it is not the Internet in itself.  It is actually connectivity that the Internet gives us, that gives us freedom.  So I would like to rephrase that in saying that the greatest value is meaningful connectivity, and the greatest value of meaningful connectivity is freedom.  Now, what is meaningful connectivity?  I've heard it lots and lots.  50% of the world, global population is online, but that is actually not the fact because I should introduce someone here.  This is my phone, we go together leg to leg.  You see me, you see my phone.

Now, when we talk about meaningful connectivity, it means that I have enough data at an affordable rate.  Tim Berners‑Lee spoke about one for 2, that is one gigabyte of data being available to me for not more than 2% of the mean salary in the country.  Meaningful connectivity also means that I have adequate speed, because there is no point having data and not being able to do anything with it.

Meaningful connectivity means that I have frequent uninterrupted Internet access.  Hello!  Hello, Africa!  Hello, people who shut down the Internet because there's going to be an election.  Hello people who cut down the Internet because people are manifesting.

Hello to people who think that being on social media is a crime.  Hello!  I need uninterrupted Internet access for meaningful connectivity.

And finally I need a device that is capable of doing things.  People are talking about taking videos and uploading them.  If you're using feature phones you can't do a lot of things today.  My phone I have about 150 applications on it, and I can do a lot of things.  So I'm one of those who have meaningful access.

Once again, meaningful access, the greatest value of meaningful access is freedom, freedom from digital inexistence.  Freedom of digital Colonialism where people who are marginalized are meant to have connectivity with their data in exchange.  You basically are selling your digital souls just to get connected.  We need that kind of freedom.  Freedom from financial exclusion, so that I can send and receive money.

Freedom from bad governance so I can raise a voice.  Freedom from lack of voice, so I can speak out and be heard.

Freedom from hunger and poverty.  These are the things that we have in the SDGs.  Freedom from illegal immigration, if I may add that, so meaningful connectivity is freedom from social, economic, and digital exclusion.  And I think that attacking these points that give connectivity its meaning will be helpful, as is launched yesterday in the Contract for the Web, the 9 principles of the Contract for the Web, each has action points that I believe, once we take them on and really begin to work on them, we will have not just connectivity for the other 50%, but meaningful connectivity that will give us freedom.

[ Applause ]

>> GRACE GITHAIGA:  Meaningful Internet is one that offers freedom, and as you spoke, I thought of Martin Luther King.  I thought of Serafina in South Africa and I thought yeah, you actually need a lot of freedom to do all those things and that's why Internet is actually unique in its governance, because it it can't be governed by just one side of society Zhao we come to you because some of the issues that have been raised require some intervention from your end and I'm going to ask you, what do you think is the role of regulation?  And what are measures being taken by the ITU to ensure that all policy processes are inclusive?  Because the ITU has been criticized for that, especially for excluding Civil Society.

>> HOULIN ZHAO:  Thank you very much.  I don't know whether we are crittized by excluding Civil Society, because it's ITU who actually suggested United Nations to organize WSIS, World Summit on Information Society, in 1998, when we realized we cannot leave the future of technology, of communications, in the hands of Telecom engineers and experts only, so we have to engage everybody to come together to address technology development so that's the reason we invited the United Nations to organize WSIS and we organized two phases of WSIS.  One is in December 2003 and our second one was November 2005, and the result of this WSIS process we have IGF so that we actually among UN systems I think we are very proud to be only ones to ask our platform open to the Civil Society, to end use so that we are very proud of.

But anyhow, when you talk about regulation, Madam, I would very much like to highlight that if you look at the last two decades, the world suffered a lot about the financial crisis, and some other crises, but still, the Telecom business is still developed.  And partly in my opinion is because of the hard work of our regulators.  They tried to encourage competition and fair competition to have good development of the market so that thanks to them, we have this development of telecommunications achieved the result as today we can see.

And of course internally we have a platform, we call the Global Symposium of regulators and they often come together to address the issue of challenges from market.  We talked about heavy regulation or light regulation or no regulation and all these kind of things but we found that no regulation may not be the good thing but then heavy regulation may not be good either so we like to talk about the proper regulations.

And today the situation is different now.  It's not the regulation for Telecom business, Telecom services.  The regulators face new challenges to talk about those ICT services for the other ecosystem, like the financial systems, like education systems, like health care systems we very rapidly get into those areas, we are very much engaged with modernization of this system and we use ICT and face new challenges.

And here I am very pleased to also note that our Government, our Authority also put this highly on their agenda.  When I reached some of African countries I heard from the Chairman of Parliament to leave this to the Telecom Authority aalone is not suggest.  The Government have to work at this because Parliament receive request from Telecom, from health authorities, from educational authorities, from different regulations or laws to be approved but all these always link with ICTs so that Government want to see if we can have general policy.  We heard from other side people talked about regulation for Telecom and talk about OTT, the conflict between OTT and Telecom so there are a lot of issues, so ITU is working very hard with the regulatory bodies, encourage them to have open and sometimes less and sometimes light regulations and also look at new areas where we can introduce the support to finance, Government and all these challenges so we are open to all the opinions, and if there's any proposal from anyone who like to suggest us to follow, to take care, we would like to work with them.

Now, since I have to leave because my colleague already asked me to go to the airport now I would just like to answer your invitation from may colleagues that we have to add education.  Education is absolutely important.  I'd like to continue the short story I just mentioned to you, when you talked about not leave anybody behind.  People ask me when can you connect them?  The thing I said 2030 may not be able to cover everybody but then my colleagues, the Ministers, suggest if you cannot reach the goal to connect everybody by 2030, can we do something to reach a goal by 2030 to have youth, young people, to reach some kind of digital literacy?

And we're talking about one billion young people, so this ‑‑ there's something definitely we have to engage the capacity‑building and education so we're looking at this issue and we will be very pleased to work with you and with everybody to see how can we address these challenges.

Of course, at the UN level we work with UNESCO, we work with UNICEF, we work with you heard the presentation from Secretary‑General, we have a common project and we work with others, and we particularly address those issues of capacity‑building and that capacity‑building is a good thing for everybody.  But we will do our best.

So Madam, if you allow me, I have to leave now.  I wish you success for the session, and look for another opportunity to talk to you afterwards.

>> GRACE GITHAIGA:  Okay, thank you so much.  And we wish you a safe journey.

[ Applause ]

Okay, John, we'll come back to you, and because of time and we want to give audiences time to ask questions.

>> ANDREA THILO:  We would have some, Grace.  If you want, shall we bring them on the table?

>> GRACE GITHAIGA:  Not yet.  After John, and then we'll bring the questions.

Because we want the session to be interactive, also.

>> ANDREA THILO:  Please.

>> GRACE GITHAIGA:  But I think this one is important for John.  I think one of the things you need to do is to respond to what Pinky was asking you, and then I would also want you to tell us what priority measures need to be taken by businesses so that we have businesses here.  They hear what we need, to increase participation of all in the digital economy.

> JOHN DENTON:  Thanks very much.  With Pinky's provocation, I actually, I'm Australian.  A few years ago I did a review of the Australian development assistance budget when Australia was on track to hit  .7 G & I and may job was to come up as a business person to support a strategy.  Two things I learned along the way, it's absolutely critical for development to have a healthy and functioning private sector, and one of our games was to direct the Australian development assistance budget to support that.  The second is that development aid agencies have a complete inability to communicate effectively with the private sector.

So the very thing we need to do is actually more complex, because we're talking different languages.  So until we can get alignment that's one of the things we do at the International Chamber of Commerce, is try to create a collaborative relationship and a collaborative environment between development assistance agencies and the private sector, so that we can solve real problems and actually support development.

We won't get there and what we're working on is a scalable solution to that as well, because that's just what we do.  The next question you can, Pinky asked me if I would give her $1.7 trillion.  Well, deal done, Pinky, deal done.  The next issue about what should the private sector do, there's a couple of things.  There's often a challenge in these conversations particularly with politicians, international Governmental officials, et cetera.  Sometimes with journalists they actually don't understand the complexity of the private sector.  The private sector is not lots and lots and lots of big companies.

When you actually look at the private sector, the dominant element of the private sector and we're talking about 95%, are SMEs, small medium enterprises and microenterprises.  I come out of the indo Pacific area and it's actually around, I know it's exactly around those numbers because I worked on nor a long time so our job is to recognize a couple things.  So most private sector entities don't make a lot of money.  They actually have very skinny margins.  If we want to help the private sector support the creation of opportunity for all, the enabling power that we would say the ICC does, we have to provide a tools capability, access, improvement, we've got to recognize the challenges that SMEs have, make Roh SMEs.  Generally it's access to finance.  The other element is too much regulation, too much complexity.  We have to identify real problems.  A classic we're working on at the moment we created a digital hub in Singapore.  The sole purpose of which is to enable opportunity for businesses.  We identified emerging threat in Sustainable Development Goals which is with the increased focus on sustainability.  It's becoming more and more important if you want to participate in a global supply chain that you can show that the goods you produce were actually produced sustainably.  If you're an Indonesian working near a palm oil forest you need to show how that product was developed.  Otherwise you can't access procurement chains.  You can't access value chains and if you can't do that the value of your business will go down, your margins will be killed and you'll go out of business and lose the opportunity to employ people so what do we do?  We've created a blockchain solution because frankly blockchain is interesting but what's the real impact of it?  It's really around traceability to we created a blockchain solution called ICC clarify and the whole intent there is to democratize access to block chain to support SMEs and microSMEs to continue to sis Tate in the sustainably developed world which is weren't and we're giving it away for free because ultimately if we can't help businesses get access to digital tools which can support them in the future, what's the point of this?  What's the point of all this?

So they're the sort of things that need to be focused on on a continual basis.  I'm happy to give my two cents worth on governance later on but let's not put impediments in the way of the Internet continuing to prosper.  The reality we heard before from the Secretary‑General was the concern about the potential barriers, et cetera, which is the decoupling.  We haven't talked about it hear but there's other ones as well.  We've got Governments right now talking at the WTO about putting tariffs and taxes on the Internet that will stop the access to digital downloads.  It's unbelievable!

And I can't accept that in this Conference, we have not been talking about that.  The maintenance of the moratorium on tariffs, against tariffs on digital downloads is critical to the capacity for innovation in developing countries.  Don't tax, don't put tariffs, don't break the Internet.

[ Applause ]

>> GRACE GITHAIGA:  I think Wael go to the questions.

>> ANDREA THILO:  Thank you very much.  The first question we wanted to drop is very much related to the question how to encourage entrepreneurs to really work in the field.  You have been saying a lot to that.  I go for another question:  What do the panelists consider the greatest challenges to accomplish digital literacy, regardless of gender or age?

>> GRACE GITHAIGA:  Do you want to take that?  And Nnenna also.

>> JUTTA CROLL:  So maybe I start.  I do think that digital literacy is somehow an abstract term.  It doesn't ‑‑ we need to explain what competencies are really necessary and we don't need ‑‑ we shouldn't assume that we all start from common ground.  Of course, it's different how you obtained literacy and what you need in regard to digital competencies, it depends on your age, it depends on your gender, but also it depends on where you had access to places where you can obtain these competencies and there we have the huge differences.  We see that lots of girls around the world don't have the same opportunities like boys have to go to school, to obtain these ‑‑ this necessary literacies and education so there are the differences and we need to overcome these gender differences but we also need to bear in mind that it's not all that start from common ground.

It's different around the world, but nonetheless, we need a common framework to validate these competencies so it's not like you just can say, okay, I've taken a course and now I'm digitally literate.  It depends on what you will use these competencies for, and so I do think that we need validation framework but it needs to work across the work and we need equal opportunities for access to education.

>> NNENNA NWAKANMA:  Thank you.  I wanted to come back to the framework, the policy framework we have at the World Wide Web Foundation.  It's five words:  REACT, react.  So the R is for rights, rights based.  And I want to look straight into the eyes of every person here and say:  Connectivity is not a luxury.

Madam Deputy Minister, it is a right.  Meaningful connectivity is a right.  You don't ‑‑ it's not a favor you are doing to me when you're allowing me to get connected so that's a right.

Education is very important.  Skills, because I don't want to pay $20 for a gig and then not get the return back.  Why would someone who earns $100 a month spend $20 on one gigabyte of data without being able to explain how that brings himself and his family out of poverty?  So we need access.  We need rights, education, access.

We talked about one for 2.  Content is another thing.  If someone is coming online, what are they finding online?  In which language?  What SDGs have been addressed with the content that is online?  Did you get my question?

How does going online reduce poverty in my house?  People don't care about big language.  They don't care about IGF.  They don't care about hashtags and Slido.  They care about bread and butter, education and health.  And finally targets.  I live in West Africa and what happens is that when we measure connectivity, you live in Nairobi, I know you.  We know each other.  You know how we measure these things, we bring in the scientists who come and measure things at the major city and go home.

And then the data you have for the major city is 50, 80, 90% and that's what the Minister comes to announce:  We have 90% mobile penetration.  You are lying!  You need to get out of the city.  You need to go into the village.  How can you have meaningful connectivity without electricity?

How can you have meaningful connectivity without freedom of speech?  So the framework is that first of all, it's a right.  We need people to be educated, education is mandatory even for Government.  I'll take that again.  Digital education is mandatory even for Government.  Hello!  Mm‑hmm.

And access, affordable access, content that is meaningful and can bring us out of poverty, and targets.  We need to fix the target, 100% across the country.  That's our framework, REACT.

>> GRACE GITHAIGA:  Thanks, Nnenna.  I like when you say the Minister comes and announces, this is what meaning most ICT Ministers are male so we are very happy to have Pinky here and this next question, I'm actually directing it to you, Pinky.

There's somebody who's asked:  What about those communities that find digital inclusion as not something worthwhile?  Does the State force or assist them to become represented in the digital sphere?

>> PINKY KEKANA:  One of the things that we have realized especially in South Africa is that you cannot even talk digital literacy when people are not connected, and one of the things that we're even saying and here I'll limit our experience to the South African situation, to say:  Look, when the Democratic order came into being in South Africa, part of the things that we saw as basic services was provision of electricity but today seated here, Internet becomes a utility that you cannot avoid as Government.  So for us to be able to do that, infrastructure becomes one of the things that become primary.

So inasmuch as we're able to cover close to 95% of our communities with electricity, now we have to look at how we're able to roll out broadband infrastructure for our people not to be left behind.  So it's some of the things that we really need to look at, because once you do that, you are trying to include and make sure that nobody's left behind, but you are also wanting them to improve and use the resource that is available around them, use technology to advance their development agenda.  In Africa, being South African in particular, land is in abundance.  Once you bring technology into the agricultural space, you're bringing better life to the people so whatever technology that you bring to our people, it must speak to their day‑to‑day lives.  It must add value to what they are doing.

So use that to take them to another developmental level, and once you do that, our people will start to appreciate.

>> GRACE GITHAIGA:  John, you won't escape this one question here:  What are catalysts and drivers of gender, inclusive social tech entrepreneurship?

> JOHN DENTON:  I don't know if I even understand what that is.  Gender inclusive social tech.  Boom.  And what?  And entrepreneurship.  Oh, okay, maybe I can put it in this context.  I'm actually in the process of creating ICC centers for entrepreneurship, and we're commencing our first one, a pan Arab set of entrepreneurship and it will be based in Beirut.  I was hoping to be in Beirut on the 20th and 21st but unfortunately because of the challenges there at the moment as a consequence in many respects of many of the issues we need to be grappling with, I was unable to travel there.  What we're looking at there is actually using connectivity and Internet and tech, and rather than building a bricks and mortar center for entrepreneurship were building a virtual center for entrepreneurship, ICC and we're identifying the target group there is between the age of about 18 to 28.  Most of whom have access to mobile phones with applications.  What we're trying to do is encourage more accessibility for women in the Pan Arab world as well and we're saying this in Beirut and the reason we're doing it this way is we can have the capacity for mass scale.  When I talk about entrepreneurship, we're not interested whatsoever in discovering University corns we're identifying a particular age group in that challenging environment cannot and will not get jobs because multinationals aren't employing.  Businesses are struggling and in many respects the Internet is destroying jobs as well so we have to find a way of helping people create a living.  That's what we talk about with entrepreneurship, and by doing that, by actually understanding how to do that for themselves so we see that as entrepreneurship and encouraging engagement with the private sector and that is not limited to men.

That is actually, we're using this virtual tool to give mass access.  We'll then launch as well in Istanbul, forrure Asia and we're trying to work out the best position for us in Africa.  Francophone, Lucifone, Africa.

>> NNENNA NWAKANMA:  This has been my passion, women in tech.  A couple of years ago I got a couple thousand dollars gifted to me.  They said we love what you're doing, go do it.  I did a trip across five countries of West Africa meeting women in tech and asking what is wrong with us?  The first thing is access to financial markets.  You can, I mean, hey, are there any ladies in the room?  So you have your business, you worked on this presentation, you know your stuff, you walk up there, you finish it, you hit it, and then someone says:  Your lipstick is so nice.

What the hell?  I mean, I'm talking business, and you're looking at my body.  I want the contract signed so access to financial market is really very important.  There is mentorship that is needed for women.  We run something called Africa, women and girls tech in Africa and she's one of the mentors.  You see the girls we have there.  We want to talk to them, lead them.  Money is not the biggest challenge for women entrepreneurs.  It's actually Champions who will lead them across, who will share experiences and get those women to move forward.

The other thing is we've lent, I'm an open source, open tech, open Government person.  Women only spaces are very important.  Whether it's coding, women feel comfortable when they're in women only places.  It helps us thrive and the policies of course, there's policies that encourage women, and to all the women, knowing your stuff is not enough.

Dressing well is not enough.  Unfortunately, it's still a man's world, and you need to hype up your business acumen.  You need to talk shit sometimes, you need to look people in the eye and say I know this better than you do and sometimes you need to be offensive so we need to know business.  Men are ruthless when it comes to business.  Women need to be ruthless when it comes to business and money.

Do your stuff, get your money so when I run the 5 country thing I was asking the women, is it okay for you to be rich?  They're like yeah, I want to help.  Nonsense!

What's wrong with you buying your own private jet?  Make the money, bring it, we'll help you spend it among the girls.  Thank you.

[ Applause ]

>> GRACE GITHAIGA:  PINKYI think I fully agree with Nnenna and I'm saying, we know, give a woman an opportunity, women are change makers, and we may not share us and any business that is run by a woman it's not easy for that business to collapse.  So I agree fully with you my dear sister and the important thing and the challenge is that in most businesses especially in the ICT sector, John, not many women own their businesses alone.  It's a woman and a co‑founder, it's a male and he's a major shareholder.

We want to see transformation, real transformation, in the sector, and have Financial Services.

I know I'm talking to you from the business point of view, but we want real empowerment for women‑owned businesses, for them to run in the ICT sector.  Thank you.

>> GRACE GITHAIGA:  John, unfortunately you are the only ‑‑ .

>> PINKY KEKANA:  He's an endangered species today.

>> GRACE GITHAIGA:  But don't worry, we're empowering you today.  Today your the empowered man.  So we have 6 minutes to go, and yet there were some two questions here.  I don't know how we proceed because it seems like John wants to speak.

> JOHN DENTON:  No, that's okay.

>> GRACE GITHAIGA:  Okay.

> JOHN DENTON:  It's okay but I don't disagree with you about ICT but don't forget that enabling the digital platform has actually helped a lot of women entrepreneurs to access e‑Commerce, and actually build businesses.  Again why would you put barriers in the way of e‑Commerce?  Why would you do that?  Why would you stop access to innovation to women in business?

You've got to actually work on it so I mean, we see this as a fundamental.  We've declared for example the ICC has declared that we will work on ensuring access to the digital economy because we know it's good.  It will help reduce global inequality.  It will actually help in terms of leading for the long‑term.  It will help deliver the Sustainable Development Goals and actually create an environment where we can do something about Paris which we haven't really talked about at all today so we're there.  We're there, and I can tell you one thing, the women of the ICC and one of them will be speaking on the next panel, Maria Fernanda from Mexico, they're not quiet.  They've got strong voices, as well.

>> GRACE GITHAIGA:  All right.  I think any of the panelists can take this.  It has to do with the future of work.  And how do we equip the work force of the 21st century with the skills to take advantage of the new employment opportunities that come with digital transformation?

I don't know who wants to speak to that.  Jutta?

>> JUTTA CROLL:  That gives me the opportunity to once again refer to the Manifesto, because this is all about the digital competencies you need for the work force.  I also want to pick up on I think what Pinky said, give women an opportunity and they will use it, and of course, digitalization offers so many opportunities, especially for women that we have not yet unearthed so we need to support that.  We need to open up that opportunities to make women, to make use of it.  That is most important.

And a final point I think it was already referred to, safety and trust, as the two pillars that, stable pillars, that enable us to make use of such opportunities, and I do think that we can't achieve digital inclusion when we neglect that we need safety and we need trust also again, because what would it be worth to bring the next billion to have access to the Internet if they don't trust in the Internet and if they don't feel safe when using the Internet?

So I do think these are also pillars that count in the work force.  It's about private and about work force use.  So let's not neglect these two stable pillars for digital inclusion.  Sorry, I lost the trail.

>> GRACE GITHAIGA:  I request to keep your interventions very short.  In football they call it now we are in the injury time.

>> NNENNA NWAKANMA:  I work from home and I think the future of work is me.  Offices in London, Jakarta and in D.C. and my teammates are here.  They're scattered all over, and I really want to say that we need to understudy remote work.  I don't like winter.  I like eating starch and vegetables.  West Africa is the right place for me.  I have no intention to migrate.  I'm happy where I am.  I have good, meaningful Internet connectivity and that allows me to be productive so whether we are women or marginalized population, I think that greater access, work from home, respect with the people that we work with is a good way.  Of course, we didn't talk about artificial intelligence, and robotics, but I think that is also the future of work.  Whichever way, connectivity is at the center of it.  My name is Nnenna and I want to thank you very much.

>> PINKY KEKANA:  Just one last cement.

>> GRACE GITHAIGA:  I think Pinky, I would like you to respond to this because we can't be talking of inclusion and not deal with this question.

So as you respond, please also respond to this:  How can children's rights for protection, provision and participation be equally addressed and guaranteed in the transforming digital environments?  We have one minute, 30 seconds.

>> PINKY KEKANA:  Just two comments.  One is on the future of work.  And one of the things that I would want to urge all of us to look at is that currently as we speak, and I'll give the South African situation, lots of jobs are shared.  What is it that we do currently to save the jobs that are there?  Whether they're in the Financial Services or other things, so skilling and reskilling and learning.  It's one of the things that we should focus on, because inasmuch as we want to deal with the future, currently there are realities that confront us.  That's one.

But, two, if you look at the other African Constitution and people like saying it is the most progressive Constitution, Chapter 2 of that Constitution speaks about the Bill of Rights.  And this Constitution was enacted in 1996.  Now, in that time, Internet penetration was not the way it is, so if you look at how the protection of children and other things were incorporated, today we need to talk about digital protection of little ones, because online protection for children is of paramount importance.  So some of those things that we now have to look into going forward.

[ Applause ]

>> JUTTA CROLL:  Just a final word on children's rights because I do see the need for protection of children, but first and foremost, I would put the right to Freedom of Expression, the right to access information, all laid down in the U.N. Convention on the rights of the child, ratified by 196 states around the world, so they all are legally bound to commit to these rights, and to adhere to these rights.  Also there is the right to education, and that means today, digital literacy education so we need a balanced approach between the right of protection and those rights of freedom to expression, freedom to information.  Thank you.

[ Applause ]

>> GRACE GITHAIGA:  Okay, so thank you, John Denton.  Thank you, Pinky Kekana, Deputy Minister.  We hope that next time you'll not be Deputy, you'll be the substantive Minister.

Thank you, Jutta, and thanks, Nnenna, for never disappointing.  So please help me applaud this panel.  I think they have been a very interesting group, and we want to thank them.  So thank you so much.

>> ANDREA THILO:  Thank you very much, Grace.  I can thank you, also.  Perfectly in time.  Thank you all very much.  Thank you very much taking into account the questions from the audience too, thank you very, very much and for your strength on the panel.

[ End of Session ]

 

Contact Information

United Nations
Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Villa Le Bocage
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland

igf [at] un [dot] org
+41 (0) 229 173 411