Background paper on the Open Forum of the African Internet Governance Forum Organized by The African Union, eca, the Regional Economic Communities and African key stakeholders Introduction

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Background paper on the Open Forum of the African Internet Governance Forum

Organized by
The African Union, ECA, the Regional Economic Communities and African key stakeholders


Africa’s contribution to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) process highlighted by its several regional meetings held from 2002 to 2005 in Bamako, Accra, Addis Ababa, Cairo, Johannesburg, Douala and Tunis; has contributed to the formation of the African Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF) in September 2011 at the 6th IGF in Nairobi, Kenya. AfIGF is convened by the 5 sub-regional IGFs in cooperation with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

The African Internet Governance Forum is fully multistakeholder in nature as it has broad stakeholders’ representation across government, international organizations, regional institutions, private sector, academia, technical communities, civil society and media. Furthermore, it became evident that in order to translate the recommendations of the AfIGF into concrete actions by member States and other regional stakeholders, it is necessary that diplomatic leverage be applied to the African Union political leadership, ECA and sub-regional decision-making bodies such as Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to further advance the African stakeholders’ ambitions and aspirations. This prompted preparation in 2015 of the African Union Declaration on Internet Governance, which is currently being reviewed by member States.

AfIGF is a platform for an inclusive multilateral, multi-stakeholder and multilingual discussion on issues pertinent to the Internet in Africa in general and Internet Governance issues in particular. The Forum held successfully its annual meetings as follows:

  • Egypt, from 2 - 4 October 2012;

  • Kenya, from 24 - 26 September 2013;

  • Nigeria, from 10-12 July 2014; and

  • Ethiopia, from 6-8 September 2015.

The 2016 Forum is expected to be held in South Africa from 17-19 October 2016. (Venue and Date to be confirmed).

Objectives of the AfIGF Open Forum

The main aim of the Open Forum is to facilitate exchange of good practices between sub-regional IGFs on IG processes taking into account the multistakeholder dimension of IGF. The Forum will also be used to share experience on practices that were successful, as well as mistakes, challenges and lessons learned at the African level. Other continental initiatives conveners, such as the Arab IGF will also be invited to present their model and share experience.

Linkages with IGF2016

The African IGF main theme is: Inclusive development and the Digital transformation of Africa, which is in line with the 2016 IGF main theme. The African IGF will build upon the African Union Agenda 2063 towards creating a more inclusive continent, which is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. The African IGF 2016 will discuss the SDGs and other elements addressed by IGF 2016 process such as connecting the next billion, cybersecurity, inclusion and empowerment of women and youth, use of ICT as essential cross-cutting tool to advance implementation of Agenda 2063 and the SDGs.

Tags: Internet and ICTs for the Sustainable Development Goals, Gender Issues, Access and Diversity.

Forum organization

The Open Forum will be led by a Moderator, supported by the African Union, ECA and the representatives of the five African sub-regional IGF.

The expected outcome is to come up with key recommendations on better organization of the African IGF and better participation of African Stakeholders in the IGF process.

Moderators: Mr. Moctar Yedaly and Mr. Makane Faye

Potential speakers: Ms. Towela Nyrenda, Mr. Olusegun Olugbile, Mr. Mactar Seck, Ms Cecilia Mamelodi, Ms. Emilar Vushe, Mr. Cisse Kane.

Discussion: Following the presentation by speakers, the moderator will open the floor for contribution and questions and answers.

Remote participation: There will be remote participation to enable stakeholders who could not travel to take part actively or at least listen at the presentations and the debate.

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