IGF 2019 WS #330 Overcoming Barriers To Digital Inclusion in Africa

Organizer 1: Natasha Tibinyane, ACTION Coalition
Organizer 2: Jennifer Ido, freelance consultant
Organizer 3: Frederico Links, ACTION Namibia Coalition
Organizer 4: Koliwe Majama, Medai Institute of Southern Africa - Zimbabwe Chapter

Speaker 1: Serge parfait Goma, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 2: Nardine Alnemr, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 3: Chenai Chair, Civil Society, African Group

Policy Question(s): 

➢ What are the barriers to digital inclusion & are there specific groups that are particularly vulnerable to digital exclusion?
➢ The right to free expression, which includes the right to access information, is a key factor in this discourse. How are these rights relevant and applicable in the age of internet shutdowns?
➢ Can digital inclusion enhance the lives of the digitally excluded and strengthen human rights? If so, how? Please provide examples?
➢ Is it important, or not, to consider digital literacy when discussing digital inclusion, and why? Please provide examples of how digital literacy improved people’s experience on the internet?
➢ Who are the main stakeholders responsible, thus accountable, for digital inclusion? What is the track record of these stakeholders in regard to digital inclusion?
➢ How can multistakeholderism and collaboration be applied in the interest of digital inclusion? Do we have case studies where such approaches were successfully applied?
➢ In some countries, large and costly infrastructure, that can take a long time to construct, continue to be a main form of providing coverage. Are there alternative eco-friendly and sustainable technologies to consider? What are the cost considerations?
➢ How can policy address the fact that an expanded network does not necessarily reduce digital exclusion?
➢ What policy considerations should be made for sexual minorities, women, children, the disabled and indigenous languages?
➢ What are three of the most important policy interventions required for the achievement of digital inclusion targets? What are some of the potential barriers to these interventions & how can they be overcome?

Relevance to Theme: The session is mainly aimed at discussing how to achieve digital inclusion targets, while considering the challenges that are typical to Africa. The focus on solutions and best practices discussed will explore how to achieve digital inclusion from an empowered perspective, and not as victims.
The panel’s diversity will provide a variety of narratives that can only enrich the discourse on digital inclusion in Africa.

Relevance to Internet Governance: Digital inclusion is associated with almost every SDG, without it, the achievement of the SDGs is impossible. Africa lags far behind other countries in regard to digital inclusion, despite the fact that some countries have extensive broadband coverage.
The session will consider the barriers to digital inclusion, but most importantly how to overcome them.
The session can provide representatives from all stakeholder groups with rich insights into how Africans can bridge the digital divide.


Panel - Auditorium - 90 Min

Description: The session will be a panel discussion featuring a moderator, five (5) panelists and a rapporteur.
The moderator will initiate the session by welcoming those in attendance, with a particular mention and short introduction of the panelists.
The moderator will also provide short introduction to the session and why digital inclusion is important.
The moderator will ask panelists questions related to their field of expertise, and facilitate the discussion in a way that would allow for free thinking and expression, as well as provide key insights and recommendations on the theme. These can be used for policy development and advocacy strategies.
The discussion will be limited to the panelists and moderator for 45 minutes, after which the panel will be opened for engagement by everyone present and online. The moderator will conclude the session with key observations from the session.

Expected Outcomes: ➢ Enhanced understanding of the dynamics that influence digital inclusion in Africa.
➢ Increased awareness on best practice models in digital inclusion, and opportunities for collaboration among African stakeholders.
➢ Enhanced understanding on how human rights and digital inclusion are linked, and how they enable each other.
➢ Key recommendations on how to achieve digital inclusion in Africa.

Onsite Moderator: 

Koliwe Majama, Civil Society, African Group

Online Moderator: 

KOMI MOKPOKPO WOATEBA ELITCHA, Technical Community, African Group


Jennifer Ido, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Discussion Facilitation: 

Half of the session will be dedicated to engagement by participants. The moderator will encourage free expression, using policy related questions to guide the discussion.

Online Participation: 

Remote participation is a key component of this discussion as it will allow for more views to be expressed.

Proposed Additional Tools: Social media


GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals