You are here

IGF 2017 - Day 3 - Room XXIII- OF55 Digital Inclusion for Africa

 

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Twelfth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Geneva, Switzerland, from 17 to 21 December 2017. 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. 

***

 

>> NIRVANA FARRAG:  Good afternoon everyone. 

I'm Nirvana, the director for the Egyptian Cabinet Information and Decision Support Center.  First, allow me to thank ‑‑ to start by thanking our distinguished speakers for accepting our invitation to participate in the Second Open Forum organized by the Egyptian Cabinet Information and Decision Support Center in IGG2017. 

Last year we organized our first Open Forum, and it was about creating enabling environment for inclusive economy using ICTs.  It was an attempt to support the decision makers with different policy mix and addressing aspects of enabling ICTs in achieving inclusive laws and impact on Sustainable Development from a multistakeholder approach perspective, including the representatives from international organizations, private sector from Egypt and African countries, building on the success of the first forum, we're encouraged to organize our second forum this year we have chosen the topic of digital inclusion in Africa.

During the questions we want to tackle in this forum today, what are the measures needed to ensure digital inclusion of people in Africa.  What should governments do to foster digital literacy for their nations?  What are the policies and measures needed to address the technology skill gap between Africa and the rest of the world?  Our African education systems, are they up to the challenge of delivering a digital workforce?  What should be done to further unleash ICTs potential economic and societal benefits?  How can technology help in facing crisis and disasters in Africa?  In what ways can new technologies be applied to early warning systems in Africa?  What policies are needed to expand the use of grievance redress mechanisms in Africa?  What are the Best Practices and success stories for digital inclusion in Africa that can be observed and transferred?

I will leave the floor now to our first distinguished speaker, Mary Uduma, to tackle the first question, what measures are needed to ensure digital inclusion for people in Africa.

The floor is yours.

>> MARY UDUMA: Thank you.  Am I audible enough?  If you can hear me, that's fine.

I'm Mary Uduma.  I coordinate the Internet Governance Forum in Nigeria as well as West Africa.  I'm also involved in to the African Internet Governance.

I have a little speech here that I will read out.  Bridging the digital divide between Africa and the rest of the world is the most talked about topic and most debated in the continent since 2001.  We have talked about it, we have debated.  The heads and Government of Africa countries had agreed on actions to bridge the gap.  This is what is included in the report of the meeting on Africa's contribution to a conference in Ethiopia.  There was useful recommendations that reflected Africa's position to global fora on ICTs, including the G8 dot force, all of them, this included what are the things that Africa was looking at.  Information and telecommunication policies, strategies, regulation, improving connectivity and access to information in Africa, institutional capacity, implementing Information Society initiatives in Africa, with opportunities for business and trade and healthcare.  They concluded by calling on concerned stakeholders to commit themselves to specific actions and support, and support all efforts associated with the development of the African Information Society since 2001.  The question is, how far has Africa implemented the above recommendations.  There's been some steps taken by government in Africa in changing policies and strategies since 2001 to bridge the digital divide between Africa and the rest of the world, policies like liberalization and privatization through licensing of the private sector operators and introduction of regulations that have enabled mobile optic and expansion of the phone services and users in the continent.  The mobile phone for instance has brought together financial inclusion and efforts have been made in mobile healthcare, countries have introduced and are supporting eLearning or eEducation, eCommerce, eBanking, mainly in the cities.  Although in my country, Nigeria, we're extending this with the mobile phone because farmers, they can receive their input through the use of the mobile phone.  In Kenya, you know how they have led the world.  Africa is leading the world in that.

Africa has recorded above progress using the mobile phone services to increase digital inclusion.  There is over 60% unconnected or underserved population of the continent.  Those who live in semi urban, rural areas.  This exclusion, it is due to lack of infrastructure, not only that of ICT, but also issues like power, like capacity.  Next is the capacity of users.  Most of them that are in the 60% bracket, they're illiterate, they cannot use the telephone.  Where the level of illiteracy, it is very high and includes the affordability of services and the services.  Are they affordable and the devices, access to the providers and to consume local content and language in content of ICT local and cultural acceptance?  Most don't have knowledge of the Internet and the potentials. 

It is obvious that the digital divide still exists in Africa between men and women and different income brackets and different levels of education.  It goes without saying that the opportunities for development in the Digital Economy though great are not fully harnessed in Africa.  The program in the effort has not been developed or out of scientific research and resource mobilization driven by the younger generation appetites.

We have not seen people saying look, since we have this institution, let's go there, you make money from there, let's go do some new things, thinking out of the box we're not seeing it, rather it had been intervention is top‑down approach with little or no input from the communities.  Communities are not involved, the big men on top, like her with the presidency, she makes the decisions for them, they don't buy in and key in so the divide is there.  The of it must shift to a bottom up approach and focused on four key pros of institutionalization, the acceptance by the Committee, the local content, what the community wants, okay.  Similar value, social activity, relevant social groups like education, education, education, less education of the people.  Generating revenue streams, getting investors, venture capitalists, it is a dream business which countries in Africa are now trying to put in place.  Research and development.  We need the government support.  We need government to support enabling environment and infrastructure development in the international partnership.  Those are my thoughts in what we can do to have inclusion in Africa.

Thank you.

>> NIRVANA FARRAG:  Thank you.

Now we'll have the question, what should governments do to foster digital literacy for their nations.

He's a member of the presidential advisory council of community development and head of the center of Department of Community development in the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and the national project director for ICT trust fund Egypt.

Doctor, the floor is yours.

>> MENGHESTAB HAILE:  Thank you. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm honored to be here with you addressing the digital conclusion as a key pillar of the Egypt effort in building smart communities in remote areas.

I will give you a background of Egypt in a number:  Now Egypt is 96 million population.  It is not small number by any means, and the bigger part of the number is located and live around here.

According ‑‑ no, the previous one.

Previous one.

Previous. 

According to the U.N. Human Development Indicator that assesses countries long‑term progress in three basic dimensions of human development: One, a long, healthy life; secondly, access to knowledge; and the third, a decent standard of living.  Egypt showed improvement in the value putting it in the medium human development category.

For many years, ICTs had a high mandate in our national strategy.  That's why the Egyptians are in.  Looking at the recent numbers, we see is that numbers of active Internet users are becoming high, mobile subscribers, 103% which means that we're on our way to be on the ICT.

Next, in 2015 the U.N. launched Sustainable Development Goals.  Most of the countries, including Egypt, have ratified them which will help them in releasing the Egypt strategy for 2030.  It is focusing on efforts consolidated for quality of life and the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology responded to Egypt's Strategy 2030, and the SDGs by formulating our strategy to ensure the sustainability of development project.

Before going, I want to give you some Best Practices of Egypt ICT Trust Fund which is an initiative and agreement between and partnership between Ministry of Education and Information Technology in Egypt and the United Nation Development Program to Contribute and Strengthen the Index of the Comprehensive Development of Citizen's Lives Using the ICT.

Before I go, I want to show a film that will brief all our Ministers.

Please, the film.  Please.

>> Take a look at the world around you.  Distances are shrinking.  Life has gotten much easier.  Knowledge has become limitless, and the password to all of this is ICT, Information and Communication Technologies, which has given humanity endless possibilities and which no country could have a future without. 

Our story started in 2002 when MCIT and the UNDP established the ICT trust fund with the purpose of harnessing the power of ICT in helping Egyptians reach Sustainable Development in all the different aspects of their lives.  The very beginning started off by laying the foundation for our projects through developing the technological infrastructure and raising public awareness of how much ICT can impact their lives.  To do so, we depended on a vast number of Civil Society organizations and others with vast geographical reach with urban and rural areas and we reached several places, the first, most important step in the success was building knowledge communities, using and marketing local knowledge in achieving economic development and improving standards of living.  This would not be possible without the multistakeholder partnership with governmental entities, Civil Society and specialized experts.  Knowledge and information were transformed into Best Practice that societal forces shaped themselves, the most prominent example being the farmer that could finding a cultural information at expert systems online or on the mobile to help him in solving any problems he could face and help him increase his agricultural yield, in the past, an Egyptian youth dreamed of a stable governmental job as the best option he could hope to obtain, after training with us, he created his own dream job taking him to the future that he wishes to have.  As for micro enterprises, we improved their competitive abilities by placing ICT tools at their disposal developing projects and increasing incomes.  Persons with disabilities received very special attention and they developed schools and educational curriculum to successfully enable their inclusion within the community.  With the partners in our projects we build a knowledge, educational community for them on the portal but didn't stop there.  We took all of the experiences and success we built and used them to achieve our new target, comprehensive development for remote and marginalized areas and since we always design our projects based on actual community needs along with preserving the Indigenous cultures we encountered, we are successful in linking tools and services to their needs, sump as this oasis, that we made a method for removing literacy projects.  We have marketed their projects all over the world.  We have developed our success story by offering telemedicine solutions and worked on services for students and teachers.  Not only that, but we also help in supporting women empowerment and raising family's standards of living.  In doing so, we offer a complete developmental circle, achieving development for families.  We'll not stop there and continue to reach unreachable regions. 

We reached Sudan, and created the first online agricultural network for the country and we'll expand our horizons until we lend a helping hand to others.  This success was crowned by receiving many regional, international awards. Our projects and ideas, they're boundless, our eyes are always fixed on a better tomorrow for all Egyptians and for the coming generations.

>> Dr.:  Our story in brief, it is digital inclusion and empowerment in remote areas.

Next, our story continues regarding lessons learned, so we succeeded in our project to integrate solutions, we have access to technology that provides better opportunities for education, knowledge, health, safety, employment.

By doing so, we obtain sufficient inclusion and empowerment to achieve the comprehensive, Sustainable Development.  As you have seen from the video, we have a wide geographical reach in Egypt which has been enabled by the adoption of digital inclusion aspects in the complete life cycle of other projects.  It started from our values and with products and services and marketing in this initiative project. The trust fund has been able to integrate the aspects in the project life cycle in order to obtain the digital inclusion.  I will ask the IT to go next and to focus on something.

Next, the values in reaching the reach.

Next.

We see in the region that we reach many places.  And with each school, family members, and our process, it is not easy but always possible.  So we have to create interest, trust, ownership from the community itself to generate with us our initiatives.

The user name is ICT and we're working with all partnerships to be success.

Our products is always innovative and is filed from the community to the community and here I want ‑‑ we show this tabulator.  This table.  We have the low shares.  And they're used on this table.  So we create innovation tabulated, it is a computer, so we always create things affordable to them, not change the culture and tradition.

Please, next?

We have networks of telecenters all over Egypt to serve by the accessibility and the content to all of the community.

There is another model of the mobile with the lab to move around.

The same mobile health unit for breast cancer detection.

The telemedicine model, we have yesterday workshop on the telemedicine solution and how it is becoming very ‑‑ serving the IT community and healthcare services.  This is included in service, the only way forward.  We have a platform of knowledge and content and Arabic content, the Arabic content, it is very minimum on the Internet.

We serve and train and empower the People with Disabilities by many initiatives.  We train them for jobs and skills to have decent jobs. 

We have online children protection program.  We have at the end ‑‑ we have had success and the heritage of products with the people, like this, you see this now on the Internet and the eCommerce solution, the same for Noba.

So we did not stop there.  We made a trip to this region.  We have impact in many categories of health, education, employability.  So we have gained some awards and recognition.  At the end, benefit of the technology uniting for digital inclusion and equal opportunities to empower our citizens and leaving no one behind.

Last word, it is all about integration between projects, between communities, between members, between partners, between countries.  My hope is that this year's conference will secure broad support for digital inclusion that enables our countries to accelerate progress towards the SDGs.

Thank you very much.

>> NIRVANA:  Thank you, Dr. Houda, on the efforts taken by the Ministry of MCIP in Egypt to fulfill digital inclusion.

The next speaker is Dr. Jimson Olufuye, the Chair of ICT with 20-years experience in the national and global ICT industry.

The floor is yours.

>> JIMSON OLUFUYE: Thank you very much.

Fellow panelists, Your Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I'm a business person.  I want to address the issue of digital inclusion in Africa from business perspective because it worked in Nigeria, and we want to recommend the approach that continues to work across Africa.  The businesses are interested in creating wealth and we have to create an incentive for people to be enterprising and so that you can have more digital exclusivity in Africa.

I'm talking briefly about enabling digital Africa and giving business a reboost.  Inclusive digital transformation of Africa, a business a reboost, it is the factor of quality Internet access for delivery across all sectors, notably governance, the running of government processes in Africa.  Let's face it, government is the biggest spender in Africa and the efficiency it brings about in the performance of its function as a potential of generating true transformation of African economy and the Internet economy potential of Africa thereby giving business a real boost. 

Permit me to use the scenario of Nigeria.  Since the return of civil rule in 1999 there's been a lot of things that have changed, structurally with regard to policy, policy changes like Nigeria IGF champion Mary Uduma alluded to this.  As it is now, the efficiency, it is not yet there.  Nigeria was still operating at a fifth of its potential.

Well, we look at WSIS, the mandate, it is there, the earlier speakers talk about the effort of Egypt to meet the WSIS targets.  This is also what with we advocate, that we should focus on the targets, you know them, connecting villages, schools, connecting everybody, and incorporating new ways of connecting citizens across Africa.

We provide enabling environments.

When you have enabling environments provided, a child will naturally develop.  So what provides the enabling environment for children to grow?  Parents.  Talking about an enabling environment for an Internet economy in Africa, the prime enabler, the biggest spender, it is government.  So what the government does and does not do is on the realization of a truly digital Africa.

Here are some factors I think that need to be addressed, Entrepreneurship, the innovation, giving the boost to business.  Number one, there has to be Internet collaboration.  Within structural agencies, you know, it is well‑known that a house divided within itself cannot stand.  When government agencies do not collaborate among themselves and they start to work across the process they inadvertently undermine the business environment.  I'm happy to know that creating this front in Egypt, it brought in a lot of partners.

This is a collaboration required with similar work scope and should true MOU come together to address issues such as multiple taxation, right‑of‑way, enforcement of Intellectual Property rights and there is no digital strategy, one should be developed to provide direction into the future.  It is what you have noted, in the Nigeria government, there was three executive orders on the ways of doing business, that carried Nigeria 24 points on the world business scale.  Number two, collaboration with business stakeholders, governments should not only collaborate within itself but in addition they should collaborate with business organizations and stakeholders to know how best to find trends, policies for business growth and provision of opportunities for Entrepreneurship and innovation, especially in the area of procurement, procurement.

We need to have transparency in this regard.

I would like to appreciate the Government of Egypt and of Nigeria who have signed an MOU with the voice for business, ICT business entrepreneur in Africa, it started six years ago, five years ago and from 6 members to now 30 memberships across Africa.

Number three, support for resort oriented incubation centers, true granting and provision.  It does not need to be replicated, providing the support to new innovation, the innovation with established budget line and funding comparable to the U.S. national science foundation, we have gone a long way to the Entrepreneurship in Africa and there are points and infrastructure, details of data has been mentioned, there has to be connectivity, the 30% of Africans are connected, more need to be connected, Nigeria, 50 to 65% are connected, we need another t Africa the is wide region.  We need new technology to cover the spaces and engage businesses to add policy to use the wide spaces to get to more people. 

Broadband, it is 5% of month income according to U.N. benchmark.  This may remain elusive.  Many countries, Africa, notably Egypt, Nigeria, made an alliance for affordable Internet, 1 to 2 ratio, 1 gig for 2% of the income index.  Generally the cost of broadband access is still very high in Africa.  What can be done to help with access?  What can be done to introduce taxis, reducing spectrum licenses fees, using provisions, et cetera, et cetera?

One network in Africa, we have boosted the business greatly, now up to 50%, business activity, traffic happened.  So we want that scenario across Africa.  Ecuador is trying to do something like that.  The system, it needs to have more hands and it has to be some development for entrepreneurs, they need to be encouraged.  You can't be an entrepreneur if you don't know what to do.

In conclusion, when everyone plays their respective role, friction, friction right now, eFriction according to ICANN sponsored study by the Boston consultant group will be minimized giving countries up to 3% boost in GDP and business a reboost for a truly digital Africa and it has a cascading affect.

Thank you very much.

>> NIRVANA FARRAG:  Now we'll give the floor to 25 years of experience in the different elements of social, economic ecosystems. 

The floor is yours.

>> PANELIST: I thank everyone in the room. 

I take the efforts to talk about the economic inclusion and digital, the economic inclusion.  It is an important topic that we're talking about. I’ll try to illustrate the question of economic inclusion by focusing on financial inclusion.  I'll show that by example, showing how Africa is responding and how people are using digital, they're going faster than the governments in Africa.

I start by showing the World Bank statistic regarding ‑‑ this is a banking penetration presented, and that's a graph only for Africa showing that we have about 77% of African that are unbankable, making 450 million people that are deprived from banking services and we understand well what it means not to have a banking system, they're excluded.  We have different reasons behind that, either the infrastructure, lack of infrastructure banking in Africa, the financial literacy, either many parameters, but that's the situation where we have to ‑‑ we have mentioned development and micro‑enterprise, in Africa you need financial support.

I use the first example which we have, this is the opportunity that I mentioned and I'll use it, that the two interesting tools we have, the word digital is giving us two fundamentally interesting tools, the mobile and the platform and Internet.  We have the chart here.  You have the comparison between the penetration of cellphone in India and two African countries just to show you that surprisingly some African countries have much more mobile use than India.

The second figure, it is showing the expansion of Internet usage in Africa comparing to the world which is not so much better.

It is 46% which is not so much bad as we expect.

How can we imagine Africa people are using wonderful tools?  The first example is an example of what we can't believe is coming from the Somali, imagine that some Sub‑Saharan countries are reacting to the banking, and we have 100% of banking system.  One guy working in telecom, ten years back, invented for the first time, invented a system that is using mobile as a transfer of money, without mobile banking, trust money, it is the first time invented and it was worldwide and we call it that, in Arabic.  And in 2009 we witnessed after about three years, we have 40% of usage and the World Bank by 2012 had a report mentioning that.  Somali is the highest growth rate of using mobile banking in the world with a penetration which is three times more than the average in the world, and imagine a country where we don't have banks but only one branch.  And I have been there, it is so much difficult that we have only the headquarter of the bank and all of the villages in the country, mostly they don't have branches.  Imagine that solution, it brings money to the villages and brings activity and economic activity that's 100% African invention.

Next please.

The second one, using the platform and I guess that most of us are using currently Uber, and we are facing tremendous increase of platform application in terms of economic empowerment like the crowdsourcing and funding.  Here I will mention one example, that the invention of crowdfunding ‑‑ some of you know what is crowdfunding.  Crowdfunding is lending money on the net.  So we have people giving donation and people are receiving it and we have seen the worldwide expansion of crowdfunding.

Africa wasn't far from that and we are ‑‑ Africa is the highest level of growth for platform.  We have about 75 platform of crowdfunding in Africa.  That means that we have ‑‑ we are reaching a very high penetration rate of organization.  And I mention regarding Egypt, Egypt was a first country who was implementing Kiva in the North African country, Arab country.  I guess we're using again the digital in term of economic empowerment much faster than the government.

I will finish by having three messages.

I guess that digital economic inclusion, becoming a fundamental tool in development, we can't escape the digital economic implementation of certain applications, the second Africa is contributing the digital inclusion and this is very nice and we have to highlight the examples where we have real ground invention which we can be proud and we can share the experience and understand that we have tremendous challenges.  The last point of Africa, it is growing a global player in crowdfunding and we feel that Africa may be one day a champion of having the highest level of penetration of crowdfunding.

I thank you for your time.

>> NIRVANA FARRAG: Thank you. 

I open the floor for questions, and then we move to the next speaker.

>> ANDREA SAKS: We have had four fabulous speakers who have spoken about four different subjects, two from Nigeria, two from Egypt.  They're very important subjects.  Surely there must be one, two people that have a question.

There is a question.  Would you do me a favor, when you speak, would you give your name and if it is difficult, spell it for the captioner, please. 

Put the microphone close to your mouth.  Thank you.

>> AUDIENCE: Hello.

Is it okay?

>> ANDREA SAKS: Go ahead.

>> AUDIENCE: Hello.

I'm from Tunisia.

Thank you for the presentation.  I think in terms of digital inclusion in Tunisia and Egypt ‑‑ sorry ‑‑ we're having the same evolution in the way that Tunisia, half of the population is today connected to Internet, which is quite the same in Egypt.

This inclusion is not broad enough for our country.  If I list the example of tiny shared device, only 0.1% of GDP revenue of eCommerce represents 0.1% of GDP.  In Egypt I think it is quite the same, it is around 0.5% if I consider the data that I found on the Internet.

I'm here in IGF representing the eCommerce private sector.  What I'm seeing in Tunis and what we're reminded is that inclusion ‑‑ not saying that we do not have to promote it or help it, but inclusion, by the way, is also opening a kind of path for the black market in a way that people found some platform like the social network and they use them to sell directly on Facebook in a sea‑to‑sea approach and this fact, I didn't see it in ‑‑ it wasn't really even in some other session.  I haven't heard about it.

What I wanted to know, if in Egypt you have really faced the same case or if it is not, and it might be also the case for Nigeria, inclusion also promoting the black market and did you find some solution to fight it?

Thank you.

>> ANDREA SAKS: Would you like to answer that, please.

>> PANELIST:  The question, it is very valid. 

In fact, we have ‑‑ we're facing a real problem with particularly the problem of sharing the economy and what we call it crowdsourcing and the sea‑to‑sea.  Personally I participate in the World Bank last year at the same time for a session to think about what are the measures to regulate that kind of activity.  Still in Egypt, we're ‑‑ we have kind of regulation for ‑‑ imagine people are looking, poor people are creating micro‑enterprise and they're working at home and they're just willing to move from extreme poverty to poor situation and they're selling on Instagram and Facebook and most of the time they're considered if you go back to commercial laws, most of the countries, that commercial laws are not applicable for certain activity which we call it minor activity.  We can consider that reform of commercial laws may include that kind of activity or we can really organize and sell the application like Instagram and Facebook.

Let's say be positive and consider that kind of things which people who are bottom line are trying to reach the point where we have traders, businesses, registered businesses that are paying taxes, working properly.  I consider personally as a part of the game of the country who are ‑‑ you have seen the tremendous efforts, all of our countries are doing to raise the poverty and reaching out, outreach, we're just starting to attract them to be productive and to be ‑‑ you know, to be integrated in the economic cycle.

Then some countries, Egypt is taking care to have the formal sector and putting incentive for people working in the formal sector to become formal.  The issue is having different angles and not a straightforward legalization of the Facebook or social media.  I guess from one side we're encouraging them to be a part of the active and economic empowerment cycle and from other sides people are regulating, thinking how to make it better to sustain it and to keep rights of governments.

Thanks.

>> ANDREA SAKS: Thank you very much.

We have some questions from the remote participants.  I'm going to do one for Mary and you'll have to come and speak here, Mary Uduma.

We'll get this sorted out.  Then I have the second and third question.  The third question may come a little later.

Thank you.

The question is, why is it taking so long for Africa to realize digital inclusion?

Because of the time, we're giving the panelists only 2 minutes to answer the questions.

Go ahead.  Please.

>> MARY UDUMA: Thank you very much for the question.  I hope I'm being heard.  I would say that most times Africa will come together, the heads of the governments, and the Ministers, they will conduct a lot of sensitization programs, conferences, interventions, and not following through.  The political will is hindering us, we've infrastructure challenge.  Not only the main ICT infrastructure, but also the adolescent infrastructure, we have not addressed that.  Again, 60% are unconnected.  When you're not connected, how can you be included?  The fourth thing I want to say, it is that Jimson mentioned coming from the business angle, I don't know ‑‑ I think our governments are still playing the big spender thing instead of putting an enabling environment for businesses to be able to let it grow, come from the business.  If you remember, see, the texting in the mobile phone, it brought about the question of mobile payment.  In our own country, when we had ‑‑ when mobile came, where you want to send money to your brother, your sister, you buy the recharge card, you scratch it, you put the pin number there.  The other side, you can sell it.  You brought about the mobile money idea and things are springing organically.  We need to create that environment and tackle the infrastructure, not only the ICT, but the adolescent one, whether it is financial or most importantly power.

>> ANDREA SAKS: We're running on a time schedule.  That will be given to Mr. Jimson.

What efforts have been done to harness the power of Cloud computing to digitally empower an African people who lack the financial means to get infrastructure and equipment for training?

>> JIMSON OLUFUYE: Thank you very much.

Let me first quickly address what's said about how do you bring those people in.  In Nigeria today the government encourages all from commerce, but you have to pay your taxes, so there is a bank notification number for everybody, you need to get it, if you don't get it, you won't get transactions.  Everybody has to get it and the idea is to tie it to businesses and government for services, people are willingly paying their taxes, that's what government needs.  They encourage enterprises to flourish.  That takes care of that.

In terms of Cloud, yes, there are a number of Clouds, facilities right now.  Emphasis on localization in Nigeria today, there's an act to promote the local content in Nigeria, the emphasis of local software that handles things and uses it, and that's where is to go and they now have data centers proliferating around the edge of the information security.  We have to mitigate some of the challenges and there are things happening.  You see the development things to still do.

Thank you.

>> ANDREA SAKS: Thank you very much.

We're going to move on to other presenters.

We have other remote participant questions.  We'll take them afterwards.

Please.

  Now the African Union, the floor is yours.

>> MOCTAR YEDALY:  The previous speakers made good introduction to this subject. 

For myself, I would say that the digitalization is one of the key priorities of the African Union this year.  This last November we had this AU Summit and digitalization of Africa was on the top of the agenda, and we come up with some recommendations and some programs to boost the digital transformation of Africa and the cross‑sector of digitalization on Africa.

With regard to the digital inclusion, we believe that providing affordable access to the Africa people are the first condition to reach the digital inclusion.  African countries are making big progress in building ICT infrastructure and enhancing Internet broadband penetration in Africa.

We have seen big increase in the international broadband bandwidth especially with the number of the ‑‑ increased number of the submarine cables reaching the continent.

We have seen also the increase of infrastructure within African countries.

Now the broadband penetration in Africa is around 28% while it was 5% in 2007 and according to the ITU report, 2017 for the measure of the Information Society, all the African countries, they have made progress in the ICT Development Index.  Only three kept the same position and we have ‑‑ we were awarded the first country for the most dynamic Information Society in the world followed by Gabon in third position, that's good news for us.

It is progress.  Thank you.  Congratulations.

There is also progress in developing the policies and the regulations with regard to the IC T Sector.  So according to the World Bank, commission World Bank, 2017 report, 42 countries have already adopted the national policies of national strategies for development of IC T Sector.

We have noticed also many countries and many digital success stories in Africa, many countries are moving to the delivery of public services or administration services through the eGovernment platforms which is a good opportunity to enhance the digital inclusion of citizens because it allows all citizens to access the services.

We have seen also many good experiences as the previous speaker mentioned.  The mobile transfer or mobile money which allows the financial inclusion.  We have also other examples like for example in Rwanda, they create ICT centers to allow development of eEntrepreneurship and development of eContent.  We have all this good stories and success stories, and they're just pilot projects in Africa, they are good Examples that we need to analyze to replicate other countries to allow all African citizens to have access to this digital services.  For us, the digital transformation of Africa, it is a good opportunity for the continent to transform itself to catch up with the rest of the world and to develop all of the sectors at the same time.

We believe to reach the digital inclusion, we need also to develop local content to reflect the African culture in website to allow all African citizens to participate in this digital revolution.  We have some proposal, for example, to enhance or allow or ensure the digital inclusion, we need to include the digital ‑‑ how you say, the digital skills in the schools, early stage, in the school curriculum and allow young people to undertake the degree in science and technology and science computer.  And the awareness of the young people about the importance of ICTs and the cross‑cutting tools, the cross‑cutting tool and also as opportunities of career and job creation for the future.  There is a need to create in a real area more awareness about the ICT, creating centers to build capacity of the general public on the use of ICTs, the safe use of ICTs I would say.  I will not belong, I have used all my time.

Thank you so much.

>> NIRVANA:  Thank you.

>> Now we'll move to another perspective about crisis and disaster management and early warning systems in Africa.  We have the deputy director of the crisis and disaster management sector in the Egyptian cabinet and decision support center.

The floor is yours.

>> Good afternoon, because of the limits of the time, I'm just going to highlight very specific points.

Number one, the African continent holds half of the world and is experiencing a raising number of disasters, these disasters have negative impacts on the continents development achievements and this requires that all stakeholders recognize and react to the importance of Disaster Risk Reduction in order to make a progress towards Sustainable Development.

In this regard, I would like to refer to the Sendai framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2013, 2030 which articulates the needs for improved understanding of disaster risk and a most important target of the global target of the Sendai framework for Disaster Risk Reduction is target number G which focuses on substantially increasing the availability and access to multihazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to people by 2030.

Egypt is subject to different kinds of disasters, risks such as resulting from natural hazards, transport accidents, et cetera.  Also it is highly available to impacts and faces numerous thoughts to the economic, social, environmental sustainability.

Accordingly, Egypt has developed the national strategy for the disaster risk reduction taking into consideration the role of new technologies in this regard focusing on two main components which are developing an early warning system and raising public awareness.  In to the area of early warning and national emergency management system has been developed by a specialized team from the information and support center benefiting from the successful international experiences and Best Practices in the field.

Also the system is a standardized approach to emergency management in Egypt intending to facilitate the coordination between all stakeholders and responders on different levels, national and internationally and locally, it provides a comprehensive framework for emergency monitoring and evaluation using integrated databases for records for all types of incidents, risk identification, Levels of risk, emergency response plans and contents concerned to the response teams and has it with the use of GIS for risk mapping.  The system is provided with systematic data and warnings from different concerned agencies through their parameters for different types of natural Harmut Glasers and the warnings are disseminated to concerned local governments to take necessary actions for informing vulnerable people in vulnerable areas.  The system has been introduced through the local level through a training course providing a basic introduction, featuring a follow‑up mechanism.  The system can be introduced to African countries as a role model for emergency management systems and early warning.

Also in the area of raising public awareness, as one of the non‑structural ingredients of the disaster management cycle, which plays a crucial role in disaster mitigation and preparedness, the Egyptian government is widely using the social media to conduct emergency communications and issue warnings by providing information and instructions with realtime alerts and warnings, establishing situation updates, accurate risk coverage or to counter balance rumors and manage the reputational affects.

Finally, I would like to conclude with building the resilience to disasters involved with building the capacity of individuals, communities, societies to adapt and bounce back better from hazards without jeopardizing long‑term development.  It also calls for inclusion of Disaster Risk Reduction in development programs, and this requires more efforts to maximize the use of technology and digital inclusion in the area of early warning and disaster risk management in Africa.  Enhanced regional cooperation for developing regional databases for disaster risk reduction.

Thank you.

>> ANDREA SAKS: Unfortunately, we had such interesting speakers, we ran over a couple of minutes.

We're already into the next session's time.

This is not unusual.

The comment that came through that we'll end on is that ‑‑ this is a comment of many remotely, governments ‑‑ the government path uses the interest to focus more on infrastructure, power, education, content, illiteracy and language because without them little can be done.  It is extremely important that Africa gets on the ICT bandwagon and all of these people are working very hard to try to accomplish that.

We will give them a big round of applause.  Sorry it ran over.

 

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