The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Good morning, everybody. Are we ready to start?
>> Anyway we can ask for the YouTube link for the session?
>> We all despise control.
>> And desire freedom.
>> We are all united.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Maybe we can turn on our videos.
>> Okay. I can do that quickly. Good morning, everyone. Good afternoon, everyone. Are you able to hear us in the room?
>> Good afternoon, Paul.
>> Yep, we can hear you in the room, Paul. We can hear you.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Okay. We are on time or within a minute of being on time so firstly, welcome to everybody. My name is Paul Rowney. I'm the moderator for this session. We have an interesting and dynamic session. It is a follow-on from previous interventions that we had at IGF which deals with digital inclusivity and unlocking the digital potential in the developing and least developed countries. We have an exciting and well-informed panel.
So on that note, I'm going to quickly hand over the floor to our chair who is going to give a few words and formally open the session. Thabo.
>> THABO MASHEGOANE: Thank you, Paul. Much appreciated. And good morning to all in this session workshop.
My name is Thabo Mashegoane. I'm the chair of AfICTA. We are currently running a summit concurrent to this, and I would like to welcome all in the panelists as well as the moderator as well as all attendees into the session.
The session that we are running which is Workshop 158 on digital inclusivity in developing and least developed countries. It is a very critical workshop in that it addresses now what we call user connectivity versus content.
And within that, I think our panelists are going to address a couple of policy questions. And with those policy questions, it is to look at the barriers to universal and meaningful access as well as the practical locally driven policy solutions. And with that, sharing in terms of the expertise and their experiences as to how to surpass this. And we as AfICTA, this very much lies at the core of our interests and our purpose itself. I would like to welcome especially the panelists into this workshop.
And I will give over to our moderator. Thank you. Is Inye here and Paul?
>> PAUL ROWNEY: I'm going to moderate this session. So thank you, Thabo. And for those who don't know, AfICTA is a private sector led organization in Africa that brings together ICT industry professionals and helps frame the policy on the continent.
So when you look at our workshop, you know, we are looking at user connectivity versus content. And you will see a deeper dive in this as we move forward. You know, we are getting connected, although it is still slow, but we are over the 50%.
But it is not just about getting connected. You know, connection has to be meaningful but also the content that we have access to has to be meaningful to the person that is using it.
So on our panel today we have Isa Ibrahim Jalo. Isa is the Director and CEO of Abuja Geographic Information Systems. Welcome, Isa.
>> ISA IBRAHIM JALO: Thank you very much. Nice to be in this forum. Thank you.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: We have Melissa Sassi. She is in the room. I think she can wave. Melissa, can you wave?
>> MELISSA SASSI: Right here. Thank you, Paul.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Melissa is a great friend and supporter of AfICTA. She is the global project for IBM hyper project accelerator. I'm sure she's give some insight into what that is. So welcome, Melissa.
We have Mary Uduma. Mary is well known in the IGF corridors. She is also a coordinator for the West Africa IGF amongst many hats. I believe Mary is in the room. Mary?
>> MARY UDUMA: I'm here.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Welcome, Mary.
>> MARY UDUMA: I'm here.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Thank you, Mary. And we also have Kulesza Joanna, who is the Assistant Professor International Law, University Lodz in Poland. In the room or online?
>> JOANNA KULESZA: Yes, I am. Hi, everyone, thanks for having me.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Hi, Joanna, welcome. Jane Coffin was also part of our panel. Jane has submitted her apology, she has an emergency that she needs to tend to. But she will be reading the transcripts and will be available to answer questions if there are any that would have been directed towards her.
So our session is driven by two specific policy questions. I'm going to pose these policy questions one at a time to our panelists for their intervention and thoughts. And then after each policy question we will open the floor for any questions and comments. We can use the hands up in the room or online.
This is a nice -- we have got used to this hybrid environment. We are all equals whether we are in the room or online.
So if you are online, please feel free to enter in the chat or raise your hand on Zoom. And in the room if you can raise your hand and then one of our online panelists will ensure that you get to ask your question.
So I'm going to first pose the first policy question which is barriers to universal and meaningful access, what are the main challenges that people face in obtaining or making full use of internet access?
To what extent are these the result of social, economic and cultural factors and to what extent do they result from aspects of the digital environment?
How can we use the response to the questions to better understand the intersection between policy barriers? I'm going to first pose this in order of introduction of speakers.
So Isa, if you can have intervention on it, the floor is yours.
>> ISA JALO IBRAHIM: Thank you very much. Internet access in Africa still costs money because most of the access is still through the telco or mobile operators.
And we know that the bandwidth costs some money so there is need for us to improve on that. It is kind of challenge for because most of the people in the rural areas because the access is through the mobile. And probably this is associated to lack of also fiber connectivity to most of the population.
For example, in Nigeria, we have some of the main operators of the provision when operators are providing access through the fiber like the main one company that brings the fiber in to Lagos, outcome the connectivity downstream is an issue where you have the operators taking the connective to the last line and this is affecting the ability of the people to connect in terms of cost and also the connection is not very, very good even though there is availability of the 4G technology. But this is mostly available in the city areas.
In addition, also, if there is no content for the people to access there will be issues in terms of connectivity. Even if you have the access, if the content is not there, you cannot access. And the content has to be localized. The content that has to do with the local interests of the population.
And also there are other barriers that we need to look at what is preventing people from accessing some of the contents that are out there. But the most important aspect is try to -- ability to try and as much as possible to put up content related to information that the local population need which means that government has a big role to play in terms of policy formulation and in terms of providing the necessary infrastructure creating the environment for the public sector to now provide the infrastructure also and then ensuring that that is situated in terms of content, security in terms of access.
I know there are other service providers that have improved in terms of connectivity, but we still have a lot to do in that area.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Thank you, Isa. Okay. I'm posing the same question to Melissa. The floor is yours.
>> MELISSA SASSI: Hey, everyone. So Melissa Sassi from IBM. I have the wonderful opportunity in my role at IBM to run student and entrepreneur experience globally in my position with IBM.
And that leads me to engage with lots of young people. And I think as we look at the concept of connectivity or content, I don't think it is about or. It is about and. And one of the things that I always say is -- and it is kind of one of my coined phrases -- and that is be an and and not an or. You know, when I look at my own career, I think about what is the intersection of whatever it is I want to be and whoever I am.
And it is not about am I this or that. I am this and that. And we can go out and build all of the connectivity solutions in the world, but if they are not enabling ecosystems to enable people to make meaningful use of the internet we are building technology for the sake of technology.
In my role one of the biggest things that I focus on are two separate things. One is enabling students, so young people as well as individuals of all ages to build digital skills.
And when I say digital skills, I think part of that is being safe and secure online. To really understanding how do you not just be a consumer of technology but also how do you be a creator, a maker and doer empowered by technology.
And I don't think everybody is going to be an engineer. I don't think everybody needs to learn everything there is about, you know, computer science. Regardless of who you are including all of us in the room need to understand the basic building blocks of computer science and understand how things have been built and where have they come from.
I think the biggest piece as well assuming that you have got these digital skills, and I know those are all defined differently depending upon who you are which I can point you to a good framework that I like. The other piece is how do you drive outcomes.
And I look at outcomes in a few different ways. The majority of my focus when I put on my entrepreneur hat at IBM is creating and enabling entrepreneurs. And this isn't just with how do we bring Silicon Valley tech pro from Silicon Valley onto the continent to create a solution.
How do we enable through digital skills and capacity building and funding and locally grown solutions in local languages. I will give you a few different examples of the startups I'm personally working with on the continent.
One is Credit Plus out of Uganda. And they provide temporary loans for, you know, cash flow gaps. This is not about the predator loan that takes advantage of someone who needs support between paycheck to paycheck but really looking at how do we help the unbanked to manage bills in a way that is not predatory in nature.
The second one is Leaf which is all about virtual banking and savings for migrants. The third one, one of my favorites is Pay Hippo. They provide small business loans. They reduce the amount of time it takes for small and medium enterprises on the continent to get access to funds.
And then the last one, and I'm sure that many of my startups on the continent are like wait a second, how did I not make the top four? But Wayapay and they are based out of Kenya and doing interesting things when it comes to cross border payments. And they are launching a challenger bank in the U.S. focused on expats and enabling them to send money back home.
So again, skills, local content, outcomes such as economic empowerment. Thank you.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Thank you, Melissa. Okay. I'm now passing the floor to Mary Uduma. Mary?
>> MARY UDUMA: Okay. Thank you very much, Paul, for giving me the opportunity.
Good morning, good afternoon, good evening wherever you are connecting to us. When we talk about inclusivity, we are looking holistically what and what would affect my connecting to the internet.
Somebody has already raised issue of affordability. I also want to raise the issue of availability. You can afford it, but it's not available. What would make it not to be available? It might be that there is no dial tone around your area. Or there is no data connectivity around your area.
But the fact still remains that we have other factors that affect our connectivity which is the adjacent infrastructure. What are the adjacent infrastructure where you have the dial tone, but you can't charge your device to even connect. So it affects the connectivity or inclusivity. So that is something we should look at.
And then I also look at when you say availability or accessibility, the content, does it address the need of the people? The need of those living in disability? Do we take them into consideration? That is one of the things.
Language, Melissa already said about language. That is very, very important because some want to connect, some are, you know, Indigenous people that would not speak our African language like the colonial masters language of English, French and Portuguese and Arabic. What do we do? How do we make sure that there is language that they could meaningfully understand what is happening on the internet? Even where you want to do financial intervention using the technology.
If it is written in the language that the local people cannot understand so it becomes a problem.
So and then there is issue of trust. In some of our communities, people don't trust the internet. We had a program in one of our communities in Nigeria and one woman stood up to tell me that madam, internet is bad, it is not good for our children, it brings wrong thing, and they will learn wrong language and they will learn, you know, things that are not our culture.
So that brings me back to the education or the skill, digital skill training or education. How do we inform the local people that internet is good, and they can connect and do some of their businesses. Okay.
So somebody has mentioned infrastructure and the session before now talked about community networks. There is nowhere we can get the local people to connect if there is no dial tone, if there is no connectivity.
So we should be looking at where we have infrastructure in terms of local -- I mean community networks, asking the people to own the networks and they will understand it and they will run it and they will not sabotage the network. So that is important for us to also look at.
And last, not the least, local content. If I live in a community where they produce rice, the content I want to see is about the production of rice and also the marketing of my rice and what can I do to improve my economic situation as a rice producer. Or yeah, a rice farmer.
So that local content is very, very key. So there is connectivity, as Melissa said, and content. It is not one or. So it is both connectivity and content.
There are a lot of things, okay, if we even look at health sector, people want to get organized for diseases -- diagnosis for diseases that are not easily treated within their community. So the content on the internet, on the connectivity should be able to solve people's -- as long as you solve the local problems and issues, then people will desire to connect to the internet. Thank you for now.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Thank you, Mary. Insightful intervention. Now moving over to Joanna. The floor is yours.
>> JOANNA KULESZA: Thank you, Paul. I'm a bit puzzled. I have been a fan of Mary Uduma for a long time, and we did not coordinate notes, but I must admit that the points that Mary had just raised are on my list one by one. What is left for me to do is to emphasize the need for regional capacity building.
I work at the university here in Lodz in Poland and my day job is capacity building. I focus on international law. I focus on security. I focus on human rights. So I'm going to emphasize these aspects.
But the overall, the overarching point here is, indeed, capacity building, something that Mary just emphasized in much detail and elaborated on with vivid examples.
So I'm going to try and reiterate that point with reference to specific areas where capacity building might be useful. Because of the pandemic, we largely rely on internet connectivity as we do here today. Keeping the networks safe is paramount, has always been, but has become forever more so the case since we do rely on internet connectivity.
Keeping the network safe, however, means a lot of things. On one hand, it means national critical infrastructures. So connectivity that is safe as provided by large tech companies, national critical infrastructure operators.
On the other hand, however, security means that the end user is safe and knows how to ensure that the device they are using and websites they are visiting are secured.
When we talk about meaningful connectivity and securing connectivity, security comes at the top of that list. We can only ensure security when we ensure that the end user is aware of potential threats.
When we talk about capacity building, this does come down to day-to-day end user education. It is the kids who need to be encouraged, I agree with Mary, to use the internet for the safety of their education. To be aware where the threats lie.
But it is also the education of the older generation. And we had a panel here in Katowice yesterday that was focused on bringing online also those who are not digital natives. When we talk about organized capacity building platforms and going to wear my GPC hat, the global plan for digital expertise.
There is a plan elaborating the standards for cybersecurity education and that means a variety of issues including that we educate end users in the regions what are the particular threats that they must be made aware of.
And I just want to add another point with regards to building meaningful connectivity and starting from day one also the Council of Europe has a focused capacity building project that builds on getting new generations online and making sure that from that very beginning they remain safe.
Safety comes with certain obligations, but it is the safeguard that ensures our rights. So I'm just going to toss in there that second leg up of this debate, the second avenue that needs to be pursued. And these are individual rights and freedoms.
When we do want to ensure meaningful communications, we need to make sure that that education includes also privacy concerns as well as freedom of expression standards.
We will discuss a little bit more during the session as I understand from the agenda the power of service providers, platforms, if you will.
So I'm just going to stop here and I'm very excited to hear what other panelists have to say. Again, thank you for having me.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Thank you, Joanna. So we are going to pause here and just open the floor for questions, interventions from the participants.
As I mentioned those online, you can pose your question in the chat, or use the hands up. Those in the floor, if they could put their hands up. I see a hand up on the floor. If you could just state your name and to whom you would like to pose the question or if it is a general question. Thank you.
>> AUDIENCE: I'm Rada from Pakistan. And I want to know the solution for the third world where the content, local content is less available and harmful content is more available and misuse of the internet is wasting huge budgets. Thank you.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Would someone from the panel like to respond to this question?
>> MELISSA SASSI: I have one thing I can quickly say and then I'll pass it over to my co-panelists.
I spent a lot of time in Pakistan specifically. I was there three times in, you know, 2019. And, you know, I think that this is where I go back to how do we enable local change makers to understand what is in front of them and what are the possibilities when it comes to impacting the world in a positive way.
And I know that when I say positive, that can mean many different things to many different people. You know, whereas if I sit at home in my culture, you know, someone might say hey, this is fine, this is great, this is freedom of expression. And we might go somewhere else and say this is bad, this is harmful for young people.
And when I think when it comes to the internet it is hard to make that balance around what's good versus bad.
But I think the key is really, you know, specifically in developing countries as well as around the world how do we make sure that people understand their ability to have a voice. You know, and this could be as simple as how do you use social media in a positive way to create local content? One of the trainings that I often give is personal branding.
And that is around how do you understand what your individual superpowers are and how do you take the mic, how do you take your voice and put it into something as simple as LinkedIn or TikTok or something that may not require advanced technical skills.
I look at an organization specifically in Pakistan called Circle Women and they are doing amazing work around how do you empower local women in local communities to understand how do they create content, how do they freelance, how do they make a business out of it versus just sharing their own, you know, words.
So it is not just hey, how do I share my skills forward, how do I have a voice, but how do I make an income out of it as well.
>> MARY UDUMA: Paul?
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Yes, Mary.
>> MARY UDUMA: We have Dr. Kossi who is one of the panelists as well. Remember to ask him the question. But for the time being there is another hand being raised. Do we allow Kossi or have the hands?
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Let's answer the hands. Sorry, I wasn't aware that Kossi was with us. Ask the question first.
>> MARY UDUMA: All right. I have two hands here.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Okay. We have one online as well.
>> AUDIENCE: My name is Naza Nikolas and I am the Tanzania Digital Inclusion Program Manager at Internet Society Tanzania chapter. And I would like to share what we are doing in Tanzania in terms of inclusivity.
We have created what we call women and youth innovation hubs. And basically what we are trying to address, we are trying to address the issue of connectivity and content development. This program is a 20 years digital gaps in bridging and innovation program in Tanzania.
And we -- we are trying to create about 200 women and youth innovation hubs all over Tanzania. Given the level of expansive -- or should I say Tanzania is an expansive nation, almost one million square kilometer area. And we have about 169 districts and we are trying to create digital hubs in the areas to close the digital divide in rural and urban places.
And basically what we are trying to do is try to have communities develop a platform where they can share knowledge to solve the issues using the local knowledge.
For example, on the issue of climate change, we think that the Indigenous knowledge is very key in terms of trying to create solutions for the climate change.
And also having things like digital community libraries where they can put content and share content and get the content from the national library so they can also go on and participate in e-learning where they can do their continuing education from where they are.
So basically what we are trying to do is address the issue of connectivity gaps in rural and urban areas and also the issue of the internet multi-lingualism where people can actually share content in local languages.
The issue of digital skills is very key. That is also what we are trying to do. The issue about women get the digital skills that are necessary to make them not only safe online, but also be able to acquire entrepreneurial skills that are available all over the internet.
And we believe with the six million young people and women trained on digital skills that are important over the next 10 years, I think will go a long way to be able to empower and create the capacity for our communities in rural and urban Tanzania.
So that is basically what we are doing. This project is divided into like I said into two areas. Women and youth digital innovation hubs and internet for public schools projects.
So we are trying to empower the schools, the public schools that are in the rural and urban Tanzania. And so far we have connected around 10 schools using internet equipment that is a donation from basic internet foundation who is our partner and who also trying to bring Facebook which is Meta to be able to work with us to connect around 20,000 schools over the next 10 years.
Thank you so much. And I appreciate it.
>> MARY UDUMA: Thank you.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Thank you for the intervention. Mary, we have one hand up from the Zoom. I would like to give the floor to Akintunde first.
>> AKINTUNDE SERIKI: Yeah, thank you. I think it was really nice to hear from the man from Tanzania first because my -- it is more or less a question and idea that I have been thinking about and I just want to put it out there to see what any of the panelists think in terms of this.
For one thing, the cyber plan I think makes a lot of sense and it is something that we have been thinking about, you know, in terms of spreading the need for capacity building for e-learning and for training the young generation to learn more and have more access to be able to learn about digital skills.
But my question and my -- this is just an idea I'm putting forward and I want to ask for what any of the panelists think about it.
I think in terms of capacity building and training young generation to, you know, be more content creators than content consumers as Melissa said, I don't know if we could adopt a system that is kind of already on the ground in Nigeria, for instance.
I know a lot of countries or other countries also have the same in educational system. We have a lot of schools and primary schools that we have the societies or they have -- they have the international societies and all that will have regular activities like on a regular basis and probably some other activities maybe during the holidays.
If this could be an avenue that we could tap into. It is a plan we are working on and already building ideas around it, creating a kind of internet society, for instance, for digital society in schools that we can syndicate across different schools across different regions as well.
And use that as an access to continue to have access to these children or these students and then continue giving them access to be able to learn and also themselves, mentorship ideas that would, with this as well and use that to be something that doesn't go away.
Things in society that is always going to be in the system once they keep coming into the schools to learn and keep being part of the digital asset and continue to grow and we can use that as a way to build the future generation to learn more about something like internet governance, for instance, which most people don't talk about enough and other aspects of digital space.
I don't know even if a project like close to something like this or if this is a good idea to use at all. Thank you.
>> MELISSA SASSA: You can go first.
>> KOSSI AMESSINOU: Thank you very much. Assess the internet education. Learn more about how to use internet in school or permit students to have internets to learn where studying is very important.
It is very important for us in Africa, in rural area and urban area, because when you have government something like you need to plan how people will have internet and how we can do internet. We have strategy, something like you have a national universal access strategy.
And to let people to have internet in health area, education area, agriculture area and something like that is important for them. Every time you are using internet to know I'm using for health, is to have knowledge, to have -- to do my business. And also to have information from government.
You have platform to put information to citizens and that is very important when we are making strategy to make internet for people.
>> MARY UDUMA: Thank you. So Wisdom still has a question to ask.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Last question.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you very much, Rowney. This is the Wisdom, President and CEO of (?) and Internet Research Foundation. We have been doing a lot of work in that regard.
So I have some few observations when it comes to community network in the developing countries.
I think there are some few issues that we need to address. Mary did mention some of them. Local content. We need to align some of this local content to economic activities depending on the locality of that community.
And also when it comes to community network, the question that we normally ask is, is the government interested because government is also a business. They are also doing business. And sometimes we have the big telcos who normally influence some of the process.
For example, the economic activities of certain areas they wouldn't go. And also it comes to license, spectrum allocation. You realize that all of the spectrum that we have in Africa have been controlled by the big telcos so we really need to look at that and see what we can do to address the issues.
If maybe a small portion of the spectrum are reallocated to nongovernmental organizations that means that they can go in for site license and instead go into the communities and developing community networks. The tv-wide space it looks like is not working. The license is very expensive. So that also has -- we need to look at that.
And then finally, looking at cybersecurity and human rights campaigns and all that. I think we are spending too much money in that aspect. We need to channel some of this money into community network. Because if you are saying cybersecurity you are building capacity where there is no network so how do we secure ourselves?
So we need to make sure we have those networks and then capacity can come, and the human rights can come. But for now I think we need to channel more of this money to community network. I'm not saying we should not do cybersecurity, we should do it.
But when you look at Africa, we have those big organizations like the banks, they have money to do those cybersecurity. Government have money to do cybersecurity to secure its networks. Other company organizations, they have those moneys. And then you realize that government is spending more money on cybersecurity campaigns over areas where there is no network, and the human rights are coming with all of the campaigns. So we really need to look at that.
And finally, your initiative, not only had you mentioned Uganda and Kenya and initiative from Western Africa, southern Africa, northern Africa.
>> MELISSA SASSI: I could spend time talking about work in Tunisia and South Africa and activities in Ethiopia and other countries. There are so many other places I could mention, and I apologize as we all know, Africa is a big place and if I spent the next let's say half an hour, I probably would miss something about language culture, religion, food.
(Away from mic)
>> MELISSA SASSI: You know, you are never going to win. Apologies if I missed anyone's location.
>> MARY UDUMA: Okay. Back to you, Paul.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Thank you.
>> MARY UDUMA: And want to support the idea from the online intervention. Sorry if I missed the name. I think they are great, great initiatives that we should also look at.
>> MELISSA SASSI: And Mary, we do have one more question in the room. If it is okay, Paul. I don't want to steal your thunder there.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: We are running a little late so if we can, we can include that question in the next round of questions.
>> MARY UDUMA: Okay. That's fine.
>> MELISSA SASSI: Next round.
>> MARY UDUMA: Next round.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: We still have a bit of a program to follow. I'm now going to pose the second policy question. And I'm going to pose this first to Kossi.
Kossi is with the government. Apologies for not introducing you later. The question is practical policy solutions, what lessons can be drawn and how from successful policy solutions to universal access and meaningful connectivity around the world when taking into account local specificities and needs in particular, what are the relevant practices implemented by local actors such as local governments, civil society and local providers and entrepreneurs to advance universal and meaningful access?
So, Kossi, if I may pose that request to you first. Thank you.
>> KOSSI AMESSINOU: Have many lesson to be learned when we talk about access and universal access to people.
We have to promote the initiative in regarding the capacity of each organization. Private sector, something have some initiative. NGO also have some initiative.
Government, we don't come every time with practical solution and showing we need -- so we need to make this, we have this opportunity, and we look for that money, is it possible to get it in universal access fund for example to make it.
We don't every time have some option like that. The option you have is something like you have activity for our communities and we need money. We don't know exactly what kind of activity we are doing, what will be the impact of that activity for any -- for the countries or in the area. For government, it is very difficult to take a decision in that area. It is very difficult.
When you have the problem like electricity, you don't have electricity, you don't have water, you don't have a road in some place, it is difficult to say people need internet in the area where we don't have electricity.
We are supposed to make first the solution for electricity before looking at internet, look at any other thing, we need also to promote our economy.
We need to promote our culture to the world, we are supposed to use internet for that. But step past that, we are supposed to make something before doing another one.
We have some NGOs who contribute to putting the community network in the place in our countries. In Benin, for example, license to have community network is free to charge for NGOs. It is free to charge. You have only to make declaration not to use that license to make network in our community.
Regulatory operators, people need internet in this area. You can use 1% of our investor assets to let you go to the area and you build the network for the population, in the area. Some NGO can coordinate that network. But not to make benefits, not to make profit.
If it is to make profit, we challenge the operator, that is not good. Operator are working on that. Thank you.
>> MARY UDUMA: Back to you, Paul.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Thank you, Kossi. I'm going to pose the same question to Joanna. The floor is yours. I'm working in reverse order now.
>> JOANNA KULESZA: That is fine, thank you very much. I'm enjoying this discussion. Thank you, everyone, for the diversity of voices.
I'm going to focus on the question, and I do appreciate it because it is a very practical one. And I myself am a very pragmatic person. So I'm just going to point out existing initiatives that could help facilitate that regional, national, or local focus that is being mentioned through and through during this session.
So I did mention I'm a fan of Mary and that is because we both work within ICANN, and we have ICANN networks in place, but I do see many other ICANN colleagues in the room.
I would point to that platform where the African region, Afralo, as we like to refer to it has been very active, and you guys do have strong community leaders who do what seems to be the most feasible thing with regards to ensuring meaningful access.
So what they do is they look at what others have done. And I'm going to use the example of cybersecurity policies or national infrastructure policies and Africa coming online with the next billion, as we like to say, has the freedom of choice to opt in what they find is feasible.
It seems as if there is a market of ideas out there. And African leaders can easily point you to experiences from other regions of the world which worked, or which have not worked.
This likely brings me back to the debate around service providers. We hosted the session with the Polish Foreign Ministry on Monday where we had the African perspective represented where it was emphasized that, indeed, it makes sense to get involved into internet governance dialogues like this one.
Like ICANN. Like ISOC, the Internet Society. I regret that Jane could not join us here today for utterly important personal reasons, but you did have Internet Society on the agenda. And it does exactly that, points you into the directions which have proven to work better somewhere else.
As much as the challenge of coming online is a vivid one, at the same time it gives you an opportunity to select the solutions that are already available. I would say the way to get people active is to show them why it matters.
You will decide what kind of connectivity comes into your area, into your town, your village, your city. ISOC is supporting wonderful projects with solar powered internet accessibility.
So as much as there are infrastructure challenges, I'm going to argue that supporting the leaders, keeping your eyes open to ongoing dialogues and just picking what works for you would probably be the best way to proceed.
And there are platforms as already said with ICANN, IGF, the Council of Europe that I already mentioned that will help you facilitate in engaging the local communities and emphasizing to them, again, going back to capacity building.
Why it matters to get involved, because you will be shaping the local’s internet, the bubble that will fuel the rice workers that Mary mentioned.
I'm going to stop here. I'm excited to hear other speakers, thank you.
>> PAUL ROWMEY: Thank you. Thank you, Joanna. Mary, the floor is yours.
>> MARY UDUMA: I think I outlined some of the practical ways I have said that -- one of the things I want to reemphasize is what Kossi said, there should be a synergy between the government and those that want to provide one thing or the other whether it is a foundation, whether ISOC or any of that group that is providing some interventions.
Our brother from Tanzania has said there is a foundation that is supporting them, but I don't know whether that government is involved in it.
Most times government don't understand what we are doing as civil society. If we could in Egypt, one of the sessions we had in Egypt was the fact that at the Office of the Presidency or Prime Minister, there is all those that want to support Egypt, what do they call it, social corporate responsibility, there is a coordination, there is a synergy.
Not only that they will not repeat what has been done but also coordinate to know okay, these are communities that had expressed needs. So these needs which organization, whether it is local, telco or is the foundation that would. So there should be coordination. There should be synergy so that there is a fact that when MTM was doing school net, the issue of communication -- Minister of Communication in Nigeria was doing school net. They were doing school net. And then another organization will come so that coordination is not there.
If we do it, whether it is capacity building or it is pure intervention on infrastructure or trust or cybersecurity, there should be synergy.
Digital cooperation at the local level is very, very key. It is only there that -- that will help us get these things ongoing and we will see results. I want to support Kossi on that because he is from government, and he will know when we from civil society are making the proposal that that might not be the vision of the government.
But if we do as a multi-stakeholder thing and if there is a platform to harmonize activities, if there is a platform to synergize, I think we will go far. That is my intervention for now. Thank you.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Thank you, Mary. Moving the floor to Melissa.
>> MELISSA SASSI: I will just echo that multi-stakeholder approach, I think we all know. And it doesn't always work in all corners of the earth.
I want to reflect on something that we as IBM did with the government of Cape Verde. For those that may not be familiar with Cape Verde, small island state off of the west coast of Africa.
Another location, I forgot that earlier, guys. Half a million people, small country. I had an opportunity to meet one of the leaders in their, you know, one of their ministries at IGF actually.
And he came up to me, this was in Berlin a couple of years ago. And he said I would love to do something in Cape Verde. I said, of course, bring me to Cape Verde. Still haven't went to Cape Verde.
We had the conversation around what could big tech, meaning IBM, what could we do to support Cape Verde, apology the government. And we looked at areas they were focused on. Building capacity for youth in the area of digital skills. Building capacity in the area of entrepreneurship. Looking at, you know, early stage entrepreneurs and how can we help them to build and scale.
And so we came up with a number of different, you know, activities. And yesterday we had a design thinking session workshop, you can feel free to check it out, and we walked through, you know, how can you replicate this in your corner of the earth and kicked it off by creating a national day of code through the prime minister's office and through the Ministry of Education and through the ministry of IT and their economic development team.
We worked with the Secretary of State who joined us in our talk yesterday and went all the way up to the minister level and down to the teachers and down to the students.
We even brought, you know, some famous celebrities who are role models for young people to say hey, you might have thought that computer science wasn't for you, young girl living in a village in Cape Verde, it is for you. And no, it is not all about math and no, it is not too hard for you. And no, it is not for boys. And yes, you can be an entrepreneur as well.
We did this entire takeover of the day in 2019. We replicated it in 2020 and kicked off a series of hack-a-thons. We did one around looking at the local challenges in the country, tourism. And we worked with the Ministry of Tourism to say what kind of funding might you have available to provide a local entrepreneur with a really awesome idea.
We did capacity building for the startups. Taught them how to build pitch stacks and practice the pitches and talk about why startups fail. We brought in mentors from all over the world to help them look at ideas and refine the ideas and gave them cloud credits to build the solutions around and learn how to deploy around the cloud.
The winner ended with a contract, actual money from the Ministry of Tourism to go out and execute their idea.
I think there are many different things that can be done, but it is often a localized solution that is specific for that country.
That is what we did in Cape Verde. You can obviously again check out the recording if you would like to learn more, or I'm always happy to engage after should anyone want to do a national day of code or other kind of accommodating activities in collaboration with my team.
>> MARY UDUMA: Thank you.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Thank you, Melissa. Okay. We are now going to open up the floor for questions.
We have an online question. I don't know if there is any hands up in --
>> MARY UDUMA: We have some hands up here so do you want to --
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Let me take the online question and then we will move to the questions from the floor.
>> MARY UDUMA: Okay.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Okay. Kayode, you have your hand up. Would you like to have the floor?
>> KAYODE: Yes, this is Kayode. We have currently and as well the IGF session to all of the participants.
So from the house here we have Mr. Inye (?) who has given his intervention. I would like to post it in the chat and then if it is possible I can also read it out to the participants.
>> MARY UDUMA: Please can we take our questions first.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Kayode, let's just post it to the chat, please, so we can continue with the question.
Mary, can you take the question from the floor. Can you please state your name first.
>> AUDIENCE: My name is Risma Dongo, I'm from Nepal. I'm information professor. So thank you for this wonderful session. And I would love to -- I'm getting many learnings from this session. Thank you for that.
And congratulations to panelists for briefing in detail. Like into country I'm far happy internet has been accessible there. Many of the younger children childrens and adults has learned many things through the digitalization.
So as an information professional we have to work like 85% in the internet only. Like we have to give information and cataloging this all. So there is many like I'm happy that Nepal is doing and growing in the internet.
So we have last -- we had on September 2019 like Nepal IGF internet was there in the Kathmandu. I'm happy at least Nepal is doing many things in the internet and we are going in the grants for the capacity building for the childrens and for the community people.
And we are giving the education for the social medias and that all who is illiterate also we are giving the trainings how to use social media, how to get the education. Like for the elderly people also how to use, you know, like they don't know how like for the Instagram and for Facebook and LinkedIn. They don't know how to use, but we are giving the trainings.
Also so we are doing so many on that for using the internet to the ground level like we are doing massive things and still I'm happy if IBM will be giving in our country for collaboration with Ministry of Education and Nepal and my offices, it will be great for us in Nepal. Thank you.
>> MELISSA SASSI: We can exchange derails afterward. I run coding camps with my team all over the world. And it is not just about hey, how do you go out and become a computer scientist.
Part of it is emotional intelligence, communication, you know, the basic building blocks of just being online all the way through to, you know, kind of how do you prepare for the future of work, professional development skills, entrepreneurial thinking.
I kind of came up with this little thing called the Dr. Sassi trifecta of skills. I have a mobile application that should be coming out in March.
Will it be in everyone's dialect, definitely not. But with open-source technologies perhaps others can bring it to the forefront in their corners of the earth.
>> MARY UDUMA: Thank you very much. Please just tell us your name and --
>> KATARICIA TUMUMBAYU: My name is Kataricia Tumumbayu, I'm from Tanzania. I worked with the Basic Internet Foundation where we connect rural areas with the internet. So the major project this year is connectivity,
We involve the government and work with civil society and the likes of content creators. My comment is on the policy because we have been a victim of policy for a long, long time.
I would really disagree with what Mary and Kossi were saying because for the government it feels as if we are letting the government off the hook when we say that they have to prioritize maybe something like building the roads or the classrooms.
When really most developments, stakeholders when they come to the country like Tanzania they want to invest in ensuring that rural areas are connected. In my case in Tanzania it took one full year to have a permit even to go and install. When we say we want partnership with the government, it could be not only about funding, but about the supportive mechanism, what are they putting in place to support people who want connectivity in rural areas.
Even getting the permit to install from the government is the problem. That also being one of the biggest challenge in terms of pricing. I remember we are about to receive donation of devices and we heavily taxed as Internet Service Provider because we are receiving a donation. Exactly. So that is -- that is the biggest challenge so far.
Because we went -- we are speaking with the Minister of Education that the program is about education, and we are receiving this and not making profit out of it. They say speak with the Minister of ICT. And he say speak with the Minister of Finance. We are just going around in circles, and no one is willing to assist, and the program is donor funded.
I think it is about time for the governments themselves to be accountable that they really are speaking big about connectivity but not doing something on the ground.
The grassroots organization are suffering from the consequences of policy. And what mechanism are they putting in place. That is my take from this.
>> MELISSA SASSI: It is hard. I can echo that. When I worked at Microsoft, I had 400 laptops I sent to Tunisia. It took a year to get the contract done. By that time, what device are you on now. You know, the devices are old.
And I had to work with the Ministry of IT and ICT and like the Customs Bureau and I had to have contracts with each, and they didn't talk to one another. It was hard.
And then what happened? I got them over there. I went and visited some of the schools. I'm not going to comment on where some of those devices went, but I'm 100% sure they did not always end up in into the hands of where they should have been. We have all seen that as well.
>> MARY UDUMA: We have another question onsite.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Thank you, Mary.
>> AUDIENCE: Just to add up especially the tax issue is one area that we relate to. My name is Wisdom from Ghana.
The tax issue is something we really need to look into because it looks like these days our government are beginning to shift their attention to the digital space.
And in my country for example, now everything, are e-government, E, E, E. Government want to begin to tax it. As I'm speaking now, parliament is arguing. The minority is saying no, and the majority is saying yes so they are arguing about this electronic tax and all that.
We really need to look at it when it comes to community network. And I know a lot of people that have commented if government is able to pass it then they are going to stop using the digital devices.
Already mobile platforms are being taxed and they want to introduce another tax on mobile money. That means that the sender is going to be taxed. The one receiving the money is also going to be taxed on that same money. So these are issues.
And another thing that we also need to look out for is issues of government PPP. Yes, we really need to look at that because most of it when this comes to government partnering private sector and then they get the consultants, they bring all of the consultant, and they bring consultant from outside. And they come in and educating the projects and don't even involve the local community, don't involve the grassroots.
And then they finish the program and leave, and they expect we the locals to use the platform. And then it is a white elephant, everybody is looking at it because I have not been involved in the beginning, I'm not interested. We really have to look at that.
When it comes to you bringing the machines into the country, I have also experienced same thing. I have initiative and what we do is connecting schools. We have been able to do a number of them throughout the whole country. And then we try to have a partner, Minister of Communication.
So would we have that tax exempt, and it has been years now, it has been years now. But then we find our way out and what he did was try to identify some of the Minister of Parliament and then we just tell them we are coming to your constituency to commit to the project, and we need to work with you.
Once the MP from parliament gives the consent, they move in and help you and that way you avoid some of those headaches and all that. I can even share example. I used to work with government in the Minister of Communication.
And agency, you know, in Ghana we are able to lay fiber cable throughout the whole country, Ghana. That was with the previous government. And then at least he understand the community things, so we did that.
But then after we are leaving, after the previous government leaving and then a new government coming, and that is where the issues started.
So you realize that the policies that placed the fiber was ignored and then the fiber is lying down not being utilized.
>> MARY UDUMA: Yeah.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Thank you, Wisdom. We have a couple of questions online.
>> MARY UDUMA: Okay. Thank you, Paul. But before we end, we should allow Kossi to defend himself because he has been challenged.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Okay. Thank you. But -- Kossi, the floor is yours.
>> MARY UDUMA: Okay.
>> KOSSI AMESSINOU: Thank you. I'm sorry but government is not there to make problem for NGO or private sectors. All the thing is process.
When we need to make something with government, we came with all of the paper. Sometimes we came only with the paper and can interest government. We don't say all thing is outside.
Government is supposed to know all because partnership is not free every time. It is not free every time. There are some no deal outside.
And you will get it and after you go to another negotiation we talk -- we talk to you; we will give you this thing. And I do remember your people get this, remember that is to let you support us here.
Negotiation is -- we are looking for negotiation every time you are getting something, we are going to the project, support to have all of the -- supposed to have all of the information around the project. That is very important for government.
>> MARY UDUMA: May I defend myself that I said the synergy will be at the highest level. Not at the ministries. It should be at the Office of the Prime Minister or the Presidency. Thank you.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Thank you. We have three questions from the online participants. I would first like to give the floor to Inye.
>> INYE KEMABONTA: I tried to comment earlier on the first question, but I assume that is past and not relevant. I typed what I want to speak about.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Feel free to comment on the first policy question. One minute.
>> INYE KEMABONTA: Your permission to -- -- on my -- I will turn off the video for my bandwidth if you don't mind. The interventions heard about the policy questions first and it was clear to me that everyone understood the three, and accessibility. There is a fourth one which was content.
But I say it should actually be appropriate and my proposal here, for example in Nigeria, there are over 150 million phones.
Almost the population of the whole country. More than half of those phones are phones used for texts only. NPN against all predictions as a major service provider in six months made so much profit that didn't shock them, make so much profits in six months that for five years now with future phones and connectivity not internet with phone and with the text was that certain need of the people have been served. But if we think able to communicate using simple feature of text messages.
So you know, they can build solutions around texting so Nigerians can now do financial transactions using text as the codes. They can also access some level of educational content. So the internet access, financial data, discretional material, what is left? There is health material. And someone I know the codes access doctors for instance.
So what is my point? Appropriate content. I learned that the president sometime spoke and said if you want the man to use the pencil, give him the paper to sign.
But if the objective is to use the internet as a tool, how you make -- but letting the paper represent a check he needs to sign to cash his money. Less to mean signing an agreement gives a child scholarship, educational scholarship, the paper to sign to mean access to healthcare. They would be signing. But he doesn't have a pencil. But you provide the content even though it is what he needs. So my position therefore is African government need to understand problems. The needs are -- and I mentioned three.
Health, education, and food.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I want to take two more questions quickly if we can because we are getting close to the end of the session, and then I want to give the floor to the panelists to give a final thought. Yusuf, the floor is yours.
>> YUSUPH KILEO: Thank you, Paul. This was very informative. This is Yusuph Kileo from Tanzania, cybersecurity and digital forensics.
Actually, I heard a lot of people talking of capacity building and spoke of awareness and challenges that probably the government is taxing this and doing that.
And I heard the stories of misusing social media platforms and people not use them to brand themselves and so on. So my comment briefly I would say that our African countries most of the challenge that we experience today is because of a few things, but three major problems that we have.
The first one is that we mostly experience a lot of people with wrong skill sets sitting in the right places. As a result, to find these people are not really assured of what they want when it comes to ICT, internet governance and so on.
They do not really know how to push this agenda of ICT forward. As a result, you see we have things in Africa that probably are coming up or to citizens and unfortunately, the same people start complaining that we are not really doing our things properly. So we have this as one of the very huge challenge.
But second thing is that people in our African country, lack of awareness. And when I say awareness, I mean that people are not aware that these are the things that -- the internet can be beneficial to us in this particular area and so on and so on.
The only thing that they see is that probably for you the internet you may -- it is there only for entertainment, utilize in the wrong way and publishing wrong things and doing things that they are probably not supposed to be done through internet and end up abusing the internet. So lack of awareness.
That is why I normally call upon governments from different countries to make sure that at least they push this agenda of teaching our people to understand that internet has a lot of benefits. One can utilize it to make money. One can utilize it to simply find things that they are doing, for example, communications and doing different activities and so on.
In addition, another thing I have see in a lot of African countries, we don't pay much attention when it comes to capacity building. Our people's lack of knowledge. They real don't know things that they -- they don't really acquire knowledge that we currently need for us to progress as nations in Africa. And, of course, this happens to be a problem globally as well.
So I would call upon these three things. And I heard the story of collaboration and different countries have similar problem where you go to the country and I heard the lady from Nigeria, she mentioned about not collaborating from one point to another.
So you find different institutions in the governments that don't really collaborate and share intelligence and share informations. And as a result you see things are not moving the way you expect them to move.
This is something that I really call upon people that are attending this particular workshop to go out with. For example, I hope that when we go back to our countries to make sure that institution now collaborate, collaboration will be increased. We have to do the reforms to make sure that we put the right skill set to the right places.
People will want to do these particular jobs of making sure that our ICT is moving and also to raise awareness and provide knowledge and capacity building to our people so we can meet the needed target when these things are needed to be reached some places.
This is what I wanted to contribute from the discussion that I have heard. And I believe that it will be impactful, and people can be able to go back and implement this to bring changes to our countries and to stop complaining different things, instead we need to get things done and make these things moving the way we want them to move. Thank you.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Thank you, Yusuph. I want to give the floor to Yusuf Ahad who has been waiting patiently online. Yusuf.
>> YUSUF AHAD: Good morning, everyone, from this side of the -- mine will just be a kind of a comment and submission to what we have been saying.
A lot of people have spoken my mind, but I just want to bring out a few points where I think that in Africa mostly, you know, we have a big, big challenge which is not targeted, is not properly dealt with. We might just be doing a lot of talk around without getting the necessary actions in place.
And I kind of think that government has a major role to play. Most often I would say in Africa there is also a fear with government which is a fear of allowing people to understand what the benefit of internet really is.
Because mostly when you talk about people having access to the internet, such as having access to really better their life, having access to how best they can do things, going against the primitive way of doing things and better way of doing things, it is this fear of replacement across government institutions and thereby a whole bunch of people think yes, by the time that the digital technology comes in to play in the government sector, a whole lot of people would -- might actually lose their jobs because they have to be replaced with the digital experience. And people don't want to land and think into what we have today.
That is the word of day which also, quote-unquote, the fear of freedom. Freedom, okay. I cannot think that it is being strategic for African leaders trying to make sure that a whole lot of people do not get access to the internet. Yes. And I -- there needs to be a political will for it to work.
Smart laws need to be put in place. We need to look for a very, very uphold legislators that have to put legislation in place and make sure that all of these laws support what we are talking about.
And because most laws are, for instance, most laws in Africa in context of my own country, if you look at the side-by-side purpose, you would realize that the most are for generating revenue rather than -- are targeted at generating revenue rather than going to the core of what it should be.
I enjoy everybody in the corridor, especially in Africa that it is the time for all to put away our sense of -- make sure that we make internet accessible and improved the inclusiveness across so that the future generation will be happy about it.
A lot of doors have been shuttered due to the political will and it goes across every strata from the federal to the state to the local government. I kind of think that it is high time that something is done about that. That's my comment. Thank you.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: I wish we had more time to continue the discussion, but we are right at the last couple of minutes.
I don't know how the session will end, whether we will get cut off, but I want to give each panelist one minute just to give a last passing thought.
And I would like to start with Kossi, if I may. One minute just to give a last thought. Thank you.
>> KOSSI AMESSINOU: Okay. Thank you. Government need to have everybody involved. We are supposed to collaborate and make good thing for our citizen.
When we are talking about content, it is not to go to social media. Social media not real content for us. Content for us is the thing we can do for our education, for our health, for our agriculture and so on, our culture.
We are supposed to let the world know our culture and let people know who is and what thing we will do for the world. It is important for me. We are supposed to make all this together. Thank you.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Okay. I'm told we have one minute left. I want to give the floor Joanna.
>> JOANNA KULESZA: Thank you for having me. And just to commiserate, it is not just an Africa issue. We struggle with it across the board.
Brainstorming sessions like this are highly useful. Thank you for having me, and I regret not being able to catch up on the coffee conversations you guys will have later.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Thank you very much. And just in case we are cut off online.
>> There is need for collaboration and that the government has a key role to play in terms of driving universal access in Nigeria with the establishment or institutions and the communication commission to do the policy which at the moment has driven the 3G and 4G technology in terms of mobile access.
And another key thing that I want to say is that government must come online. By coming online putting services online it will drive traffic and it will ensure that citizens access the internet in order to access government services.
Another key thing that I would like to say is this content development. We must build capacity in terms of content development. It is critical. Most utilize the cloud technology available to create awareness for our citizens. Thank you very much.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: I hand the floor to Mary and Melissa to close out there in case we get cut off. And thank you everybody for joining in case we get disconnected.
>> MARY UDUMA: I just want to say thank you to everybody. And it has been a very exciting discussion. I have learned a lot, and I want to see us action on these things we have learned today. Thank you.
>> MELISSA SASSI: In closing, speaking of action, I'm easy to find in social media. It is Dr. Melissa Sassi. If you are an educator or part of government, an NGO working on capacity building in the area digital skills or entrepreneurship, look me up, DM me, send me a message and I would love to see what I can individually do to take this from a conversation in this room or on Zoom or wherever you may be joining from and turn into actual action and impact.
So maybe next year we can bring this conversation by bringing impacted individuals who have changed their lives through technology and been empowered by such capacity building efforts. Thank you.
>> PAUL ROWNEY: Okay. On that note then, I close this session. Thank you very much. And enjoy the rest of the IGF.