The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF 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.
>> MODERATOR: Welcome, everybody, it's a great pleasure to be here, we wanted to begin ‑‑ extend a big thanks to the hosts of the IGF 2022. Enabled us to have this exchange. But also a big, big thank you to a lot of members of the community that contributed to the report that we'll be presenting today. Of course also to the partners that enabled the support of this report of whom we will be speaking about more as we move ahead. Before I start, I would like to share a few brief points in French to make sure our Franco phone audience has a little bit more information on the availability of the document in French as well. [ speaking in French ]
>> MARTIN HULLIN: With this, again, I'm so pleased to welcome you today and again big thanks also to the ministry for economic cooperation and development that enabled us to work on this exciting project over the course of the last 18 months. So developing into our cross‑border digital policies is increasingly complex policy challenge and lies at the forefront of leveraging digital technologies and the data economy to improve societies and to reach the stable development goals. For the past ten years the internet and jurisdiction and policy network has been working to support the cooperation across different sectors and also it has become increasingly clear that scalable solution pathways cannot be developed without comprehensive understanding of the highly complex and complicated dynamic digital ecosystem that surrounds us with a lot of siloes and also unintended consequences of regulation being put out left and right.
No and innovative policy approaches are needed now more than ever. To reach the SDGs. This is now nowhere more evident than here in Africa after having heard the sessions at this IGF so far.
This is one of the regions where in the follow‑up to COVID‑19, the pandemic, the digital transformation of economies, governance and societies is sharply accelerates.
Against the backdrop of the ambitious strategic frameworks of the agenda 2063, the African continental free trade area and the recently endorsed AU policy framework, we have embarked to enable peer to peer knowledge exchange of stakeholders in the region as they frame, map and address cross‑border digital policies and the report we'll be presenting to you today builds on a unique methodology of the network to mutualize knowledge of key regional stakeholders from states, companies, technical operators, international organizations, civil society and academia, whom we engage through interviews, surveys and workshops. We hope that today the findings you will see will contribute to the broader continental project of data policy harmonization envisioned by the digital transformation strategy of the African Union Commission and as Africa seeks to build its path and strengthen its voice, we hope that the report and especially the community that has helped to develop it will support further dialogue and evidence‑based research to foster coordination on cross‑border digital policies across the region.
Thank you for indulging this monologue, with this Tracy, back to you.
>> TRACY SINKAMBA FAUSTIN: Thank you very much.
To kick start, it is my pleasure to welcome Dr. Grienberger, I hope I said that really well in German, who is the director for cyber, foreign and security policy at the federal foreign Office of Germany. Her previous experience was chiefly in the field of EU foreign policy as well as economic policy. Thank you for joining us today. I welcome you for some opening remarks.
>> DR. GRIENBERGER.: Thank you Tracy, Martin, Jean‑Paul and Neema for having me here. As Tracy said, I was ‑‑ I am currently the cyber ambassador, the abbreviation of my formal title is. In this regarding, I'm happy to contribute to this session. Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great honor we are launching the internet and jurisdiction regional status report today, which provides comprehensive insights from research on cross‑border digital policies in Africa. We understand that the development and harmonization of digital policies is an important priority to the African Union and many of its Member States. The German government is delighted to support this important effort to work towards closing digital gaps and using opportunities of the digital transformation in order to strengthen the digital and economic integration in the region as well as globally. We applaud the African Union Commission in its ongoing working on the AU data policy framework, which will establish a common basis for regional organizations and Member States to develop data policies and regulation.
This comprehensive and forward‑looking framework can ensure Africans step into opportunities triggered by datafication while mitigating risks and ensuring equal benefits and rights in the digital space.
It's a wonderful opportunity that the United Nations internet governance forum 2022 hosted here for the first time in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, gives us the opportunity to present and discuss the key findings of the report in the heart of Africa. The report combines a regional data collection, engaging over 100 stakeholders from across Africa, countries, internet companies, technical operators, civil society, academia and international organizations.
Germany and specifically the federal German ministry for economic cooperation and development has prioritized projects for digital development significantly in recent years.
There is a need for more coherence in policies for the construction of an integrated regional digital ecosystem. Not only during the pandemic, but beyond.
Better coordination and coherence are essential in order to make the digital transformation inclusive and sustainable so that nobody is left behind.
Therefore, I'm very glad this first regional status report provides an evidence‑based overview about facts, trends and challenges for the digital transformation of economies, governments and societies in Africa. Hence, it sets the basis for a better understanding of the fast‑paced developments of internet related activities in the region and for further action and decision‑making.
I'm convinced that coordinated action in the digital room is key to the success in an Interconnected and dependent world. It is therefore one of our aims to foster international cooperation and dialogue on such topics for which we are here today.
That is why we are pleased to have established a trusted cooperation with the internet and jurisdiction policy network when we funded the first Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network in the Latin America and Caribbean. The findings constitute the base for manifolding discussions and can be used for continued capacity development for stakeholders. In addition to greater coherence and coordination, we agree that increased investment in the digital market could help to overcome the mic and social consequences that economies all over the world are suffering from as a result of the pandemic.
It could be an opportunity to generate jobs and foster inclusion as well as gender equality.
In other words, the importance of the alignment of a legal framework regarding Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network which are strongly related to each other. On the one hand, strengthen a digital transform through adequate legal and institutional frameworks in the region can help to better overcome the pandemic in the sense of guaranteeing the ability to work, education, access to health services and information.
On the other hand, the opportunity to generate jobs through further digitization and working towards a digital common market can turn this sector into a boost that helps the region economically. We hope these recommendations from the report can help strengthen cooperation among countries by promoting free and security intra‑African data flows, paving the way to achieve a digital single market in Africa. The pandemic has painfully shown us how interconnected we truly are, just like with the regulation of the internet, uncoordinated action can have adverse effects on others, cooperation is the key to mutually beneficial development. Germany is and will continue to be a reliable partner to aim for this goal.
I wish you a fruitful discussion today and want to thank all involved stakeholders for the input they have provided for this report.
I hope it will be a tool to further support our partners in the development of digital policies and create strong, human centered regulation in Africa. Thank you.
>> TRACY SINKAMBA FAUSTIN: Thank you very much. You can go ahead and clap.
Thank you very much, Dr. Grienberger. To echo what Martin said in his opening remarks, we are very excited to share this report, which was enabled by the ministry's support. So thank you very much.
In our next slide, I just wanted to share with you our ‑‑ in a pre‑look that these will be our speakers for the round table discussions, so Neema Lugangira a member of parliament. Jean‑Paul Adams, Director of Technology and climate change and we are inviting Andrew Rens joining us online.
I would like to take you through how we got to this journey so far with you all today. So the cross‑border digital policies for Africa and the African Union is a two‑year project, as I mentioned, supported by the German ministry, and it complements existing regional mechanisms for stakeholders on the African continent ‑‑ in the African continent to share knowledge, consult one another, interact with stakeholders around the world and develop a shared understanding of capacity.
And it is, furthermore, we are ensuring ‑‑ we want to ensure a meaningful multistakeholders participation and provide the information needed to develop intra‑operable policy and regulatory frameworks for the digital 21st century. Support the evolution of digital single market and contribute to Africa's agenda 2063 and the U.N. roadmap for digital cooperation. So through the utilization of the regional mechanisms that we have had, the partnerships, the recurring workshops, there will be a multimedia learning modules for policy makers which you'll hear more about at the end of this session, and obviously today's launch on the regional status report for cross‑border digital policies in the African Union.
So this project consolidates timely information needed to enable the necessary capacity, building to pursue an inclusive and digital transformation on ‑‑ based on evidence.
So the ‑‑ how we got to this, the work follows on I&JPN work. And also a global status report, which were developed in 2019 and 2020. We have seen there are similar, broader challenges and issues that have resonated in this report, which include the disparity of unilateral measures, coordination challenge among numerous actors, the tension between free trade ‑‑ free data flows and digital sovereignty. The role in global debate, the narrative, data extraction, and the aspiration to regional integration.
I would like to introduce you to the team on the right hand side and you can see ‑‑ which was shared by Dr. Grienberger, the participation that has been involved throughout the process, including the knowledge dialogue workshops, data contributors for the online survey and interviews combined stakeholders over 300 that had been engaged in the project, and more than 50 countries that have been part of the stakeholder groups where we collected the data.
We would like to thank our data ‑‑ our contributors and parts pants interview ease and partners, this list is not exhaustive, but it represents the many actors that have made this important work possible.
I have included a timeline over here just to show you the different activities that we have undertaken. We are in the 5th phase, the presentation of the report, which will be presented by Dr. Alison Gillwald.
So now, I would like to give the floor to Dr. Alison Gillwald, who is the Executive Director of research ICT Africa and part of the authoring team of the report to present the report. So over to you.
>> ALISON GILLWALD: Thank you very much.
Thank you very much, Martin. The next few slides we'll be looking at are the outcome of the I&J methodology Martin referred to. It draws on kind of crowd sourcing methodology that uses a survey that was applied in certain meetings and conferences, but also could be voluntarily online. It included responses from mentees done during knowledge dialogues and just for the statisticians in the room before they get too itchy, the ‑‑ the percentages are really to show the kind of relational aspects of the responses. So there's no sort of representative sampling frame or anything for this, trying to assist the perceptions around these issues and the relational dimensions of that. So one of the important areas of the report related to policy coordination, and the responses to the question of whether African countries ‑‑ the statement African countries need to work more together on digital issues is reflected in this scale that's represented here.
You can see that there's a very strong sense that African countries need to work far more closely together and still 24 percent agree and 9 percent that strongly disagree, not clear from these kinds of things what those reasons are. Clearly a strong feeling with, you know, that supports ‑‑ resonates with the view that when investigating African stakeholders be found, that policy coordination and common digital narrative was a very important aspect and that stakeholders really underscored the need for African countries to further elaborate and articulate data policy goals. Both inside the continent, but also outside.
So the important issue before I carry on about these responses is that specifically on something like the coordination issue, is that this was done over the timeline that Tracy's already spoken to, done over several months, starting earlier in this year and at some point, the Africa data policy framework actually was released and disseminated along the Africa Member States agreed to that earlier in March, only disseminated later. It really wasn't popularized at the time some of these responses came out.
It's very timely that in regard to the question of needing to be more coordination, we now have this framework that's in the data policy framework that we'll be able to respond to some of the responses here.
Then the other area that arose from the survey of the interviews that were done as well, in response to the question, there is a common ‑‑ strong coordination among African countries regarding digital policy issues, and the response there was that most people disagreed, they felt there was not adequate coordination amongst African countries. You can see, again, also a number of people agreeing or being neutral, at least not disagreeing and small numbers disagreeing. And here, this is also just really enforcing the idea that these global challenges we need to accord nature on that we need to develop a common narrative on what digital single market means, on what ‑‑ what our commitment to digital single market, our policy and regulatory environment, the kind of certainty we need for investment. These are all issues that will require high levels of coordination.
Of course to bring African voices to these discussions.
And then just some of the continent‑specific challenges that arose from these discussions. Again, some of them actually reflected also in the cross‑regional analysis that Tracy provided earlier. But, of course, you know, when offering ‑‑ when comparing the regional studies, we compare other regions with 11, 13 countries, 6, Southeast Asia, maybe go up a little bit more, but we are talking about a very, very large continent.
So the size, the number of countries, geographic extension of the region, and of course the diverse political systems within the region are all, you know, really sort of massive, massive challenges, if you're looking towards coordination.
Of course, we have this very large geographic distribution of populations, over some very sparsely populated areas, of course some very dense ones, but again across a massive geographic terrain.
We have these very uneven levels of development that we are all aware of and seek to address in various initiatives, including the data policy frameworks, African continental free trade agreement and various of the things ‑‑ the context for this.
I was just ‑‑ as I read the persistence of war and climate induced crises, I suppose Africa is not alone now. This is a global challenge.
Of course we do have there are institutional constraints and infrastructural constraints, institutional constraints larger than the infrastructure constraints as we have to move to new institutional arrangements when we haven't even addressed previous ones.
Again, as in many other regions, there are competing visions of what digital society should look like. And again, in the regions, challenges to integrate, for integration, and regional coordination, you know, have reached different levels in different initiatives, but it still remains a big challenge. Actually, full harmonization is, I think everybody agrees, quite a way off.
And then in relation to the issue of data flow specifically, and there in the general perception was that, you know, there's a very positive view around the potential of data, and a digital and data economy within a single market. And quite an app tight to engage on this ‑‑ appetite to engage on this issue. Data flows are beneficial, 48 percent of people said they agree, 41 percent of people said they ‑‑ sorry, 48 percent said they strongly agree, 41 percent said they agree. A very minimal number of people who didn't feel this was a correct and positive statement.
Numerous initiatives showing ‑‑ there are numerous initiatives showing the consciousness of this issue, both of digital and data policies in Africa, and of course there are a number of long‑standing initiatives like the African Union's convention of digital rights and protection. It is a treaty that have been in place for close to 80 years now, unfortunately has not had enough countries to ratify it. What was seen as a very positive framework for harmonization in Africa, has really faced challenges both in ratification and many countries hasn't been implemented.
There have been initiatives such as smart Africa over the last few years that have really built private sector initiatives in the country, although it is a multistakeholders initiative. It's building strong public‑private interplays and relationships focusing on a number of areas including data protection.
Then there have been some other initiatives within regions, we present one here, parliamentary forum on the digital economy and model law that's still in its final phases.
And then, of course, the really big framing for a lot of these initiatives within the African union digital transformation strategy or the African Union more generally, is the African continental free trade area in which the digital single market is a very important aspect. Of course, the enabling conditions that digitization or digital readiness creates for improved integrated trade across the continent.
And then finally, and really sort of directly to this, we have the African data policy framework. Which, you know, is very clear on the need for data value creation on the continent. The recognition of the strategic asset and that very often that value
creation doesn't have without adequate data flows, these need to protect citizens and absolutely critical to that. That's something that has emerged during this process and provides a really nice framework there. Specifically because it also is now in its second phase with an implementation phase precisely to address some of the problems these previous policies have struggled with. Why
And then, of course, there was this big question that always faces us around harmonization, we don't have the same legal instruments as the European Union or as probably the best example of a completely harmonized legal entity. So a lot of the documents ‑‑ a lot of the frameworks, a lot of the intentions, however, is we move towards the harmonization particularly in the area of data, and the data economy, this is really only going to be through quite high levels of integration that we are going to be able to get the necessary economies of scope and scale that you need for effective data creation.
Within the harmonization considerations, there are multiple subregional and thematic groupings, within SADC, and ECOWAS. They are able to be plugged in, Africa data policy framework. Just to stress, we have already said the merging frameworks that are there, include some of those we have mentioned, the continental free trade agreement and all of this is happening in terms of the big agenda, 2063 which is the vision of modernized and free, very significant force on the ‑‑ Africa being a significant force in the global community. That provides us very powerful framework for us to work within.
Importantly, particularly in terms of the data policy framework and I think a number of initiatives now and lessons learned from the convention and the inability to get the necessary ratifications for operational modification. We shouldn't wait around for complete harmonization before we move on various of these things. We acknowledge that with the large numbers of countries at different stages of development and a very diversity of political systems and regulatory frameworks and very different degrees of digital readiness in order to move these processes forward, that there's an increasing notion, which is very much in the data policy framework of progressive realization of these objectives. We have this ambitious framework, very powerful objectives and targets, but we need to get commitment to all of those in principle which we have in the African data framework, but we have to accept different countries will reach different milestones at different times.
So I suppose the really important questions arising from that, are there lessons we can learn from European integration experience? The situation is quite different from theirs where there's a very strong regulation and directives regime which allows for enforcement of regulation, which, of course, our African Union does not allow. For. All of these commitments made by Member States are voluntary commitments.
When they are formal treaties, they're more than, but not getting ratified.
Another important question we have shared which we can come to the round table, what combination of functional intra‑operability and fully harmonized approaches might accuracy the necessary coordination with African countries. You can see some pragmatism in some of the frameworks we have now where we're saying, let's not wait for full harmonization, let's accept, for example, in relation to data, common data standards, at least there's a level of intra‑operability and people can participate in continental free trade area.
Tracy, how are we doing for time.
>> TRACY SINKAMBA FAUSTIN: You have 8 minutes.
>> ALISON GILLWALD: This is a critical aspect of realizing a data economy of the digital transformation strategy, visions, 2063 vision. Is that we have to address these issues while other data frameworks are dealing with the hard data regulation issues already on their own. Many of these preconditions are already met, and yet in our country, although there's been ‑‑ our countries, although there have been enormous gains in terms of connectivity and rollout of backbone infrastructure, backbone infrastructure, and undersea cables, obviously so important developments there, and we have heard various satellites and things that support that. Obviously with regard to data infrastructure, there are still enormous issues around data centers and the viability of these from a policy point of view, from a national interest point of view, very important debates around that. Which hopefully we can raise in some of the round table discussion. The ultimate kind of point on this, Africa still lags many other regions, and these are not only infrastructure, they are very large demand site challenges. That's kind of classical human development challenges. In many ways, these are far more difficult to fix than some of the infrastructural challenges, issues around skills, development issues around skills, issues of affordability, affordability of devices and data and then this really impacting negatively on really digital and data takeoff.
I think we are going to have to quickly try to fit in the data sharing development.
>> TRACY SINKAMBA FAUSTIN: Go to moving forward.
>> ALISON GILLWALD: I'll be very quick on this, to say this is absolutely a critical issue, data sharing, and in all of the discussions that came out very strongly, that we need to development common data standards am formats for intra‑operability, we need to foster the governance of data communities, especially for cross‑border purposes, so we need to look at different kind of subject and thematic communities, we need particular ‑‑ for example, helpful research, but also for actual physical communities. In order to deal with news, we should be looking at alternative forms of data stewardship and of access in terms of data sharing. So we should be looking at the potential of data commons, and of data trusts.
Let's move on because we've not got much time. To the role of Africa in global governance. A very important thing that emerged, everybody felt very strongly we needed to move towards a common narrative. Sometimes there were competing narratives. We needed to be able to, you know, have a single voice why we are able to represent Africa interests in forms of global governance. So, you know, it's very clear that data governance is very high up on the international agenda and ‑‑ such as this, but very often African stakeholders are not active as they should be, it's wonderful that it's being hosted here in Ethiopia and we put so much African participation, this is not always the case, definitely standard setting bodies and these kinds of other forums of global governance and decision making, African voices are very often entirely absent and in relation to standards, Africa is very much a standard, they oversee and not a standard set. You're influencing those agendas and those standards, it's very important.
I think some of those questions that are up on the screen we can hopefully tackle in the round table, issues around, you know, impact assessments that might be used from other regions looking at what the extraterritorial impact of the regulations might be to prevent the kind of unintended consequences that they might have, so for example, you know, assessing what the extraterrestrial implications of GDPR. We have seen enormous impacts of that in context of what they were not intended to be. We'll have to go ‑‑ Tracy, where are you.
>> TRACY SINKAMBA FAUSTIN: Moving forward.
>> ALISON GILLWALD: You want to.
>> MARTIN HULLIN: Take a minute.
>> ALISON GILLWALD: Going to moving forward. Another important response in the survey was, in response to the statement, African countries need to work together to regulate data. You saw again, the strong desire for collaboration and for coordination and for working together on this. There was a view that, as this work is taken forward, needs to be far more research to be able to influence digital policy outlook. At the moment, going on a perception, we need strong evidence‑base in order to develop policy. The African Union is in the perfect position now with the Africa data policy framework to coordinate and collaborate with African stakeholders on evidence‑based policy development. Particularly on the issue of cross‑border flows, which is the focus here. That relates to the fact that African data policy framework has the implementation framework and capacity building phase that will go with it that will allow to us move towards the domestication and implementation of this policy at the national and regional level.
>> TRACY SINKAMBA FAUSTIN: Excellent.
Thank you very much.
Thank you very much, Alison for taking us through that. I've just shared with you a slide here. For your information, the report is now available online, it was made available as we started this session. So you can find it on our I&J website and also by connecting to the link here and QR code. It is just behind me as well.
So I would like to introduce our panel discussion and our speakers for the pan discussion. First up, we have Neema Lugangira, honorable Neema Lugangira, a member of parliament for Tanzania. Will then be followed by Jean‑Paul Adams, Director for Technology and Climate Change and National Resources at UNECA, our host for the IGF. Online, we have Dr. Andrew Rens who has been key in putting together the questions for this ‑‑ the data collection. I'll invite Dr. Andrew Rens after our speakers to share some reactions as well from the report and the findings that we have just heard. First up, I'd like to introduce Neema, please the floor is yours.
>> NEEMA LUGANGIRA: Thank you very much, and I must say, I'm very, very humble to get this opportunity, and I'll start off with a quote from Dr. Alison's presentation, where she said Africa voices are usually entirely absent. This has been the case for parliamentarians in a lot of global settings, and it is in realization of that absenteeism, of our participation as parliamentarians we decided to form the Africa Parliamentary internet government, which has 36 members at the moment, and I have the greatest honor and privilege and challenge of being the chairperson. And here at the U.N. IGF in Ethiopia, 23 of us are here, and we are very grateful for the support of GIZ, who have supported a good number of us to be here, as well as the U.N. IGF who has supported a few of us to be here. We hope this will be the beginning, not just for this particular event, but there's a lot of effort and lot of value in us being here, because everything that has been discussed at the end of the day needs parliamentarians. Usually fingers are pointed to us while we are not aware of why they are being pointed to us.
Now just very shortly in this room, we have nine parliamentarians with us, I would like to acknowledge them. We are represented by nine countries, our colleague is there also.
Other colleague is there, not sure if she got the translation, since I'm in Tanzania, I'll take a little bit of advantage here. I see our director general is here. Mr. Justina. I want to put honorable Lowina, just one minute, then I'll use the rest of my time. I'm putting you on the spot.
>> LOWINA: When the boss commands, you say how high do I go. Thank you for giving me this opportunity and all the panelists and the distinguished presenters, and professor, this is the second time I'm hearing her talking, she gave us some before we came to this, it's good to hear you again.
Well just one minute, when I was listening to this carefully, it goes back again to what the chair had said, the reason why it was formed, because most of these things are so important, that parliament was missing in action. And when we talked about the rat fix of the Malabo protocol, how much has parliament been involved in this? We had no idea. To speak for myself, I only had it when I came here, there was something called Malabo protocol for which countries didn't ratify and we didn't ratify.
This is an important aspect of life as people ‑‑ as digital world is becoming very, very important part of our lives.
Now the challenges, I think the challenges was stated by Dr. Alison, some of them are the things we have been hearing since morning in different forms. Infrastructure, connectivity, affordability, whether it is for the devices or for the data itself. And these are challenges that we think, if parliamentarians are not involved, we talked about skills, somewhere she talked about digital skills, I remember somewhere in the report.
We were privileged to have had two days of capacity building, at least to give us skills to understand these things, so as parliamentarians when they are plot to us, we can raise the questions that are required in order to improve on legislation that will have us move forward this thing.
We are privileged and I feel privileged that we are happy we are here, and we could have this knowledge that we have promised ourselves we will utilize it to the best when we get back to our countries with your support, if you can support us to push us in order for us to get back to our countries and get this into legislation and move forward this agenda. Thank you.
>> NEEMA LUGANGIRA: I think that deserves a round of applause.
It goes towards removing the notion that African parliamentarians attend for the sake of attending and don't pay attention.
>> TRACY SINKAMBA FAUSTIN: We mean business, we are here to do our part. It is.
>> NEEMA LUGANGIRA: It is upon you guys to engage us. Before Tracy tells me my time is up.
>> TRACY SINKAMBA FAUSTIN: Yes.
>> NEEMA LUGANGIRA: My reaction, we are talking about cross‑border digital policies. To me everything is around data protection. The crust of it is data protection. Issue of sovereignty data, sovereignty of the data. Who is owning this data. The data is being mined in Tanzania, being stored in a satellite. Who is owns the satellite. When Tanzania wants to access that data, do we get it back for free, sometimes we are being charged to access our own data back. In all honesty, we have to discuss.
There are issues that the revenue generated from our data, mobile network companies sell our numbers to certain companies and they're generating money, how is that also going to be managed. This is across the continent.
But there was an issue of regulating data. That was of the recommendations, how are we going to regulate data if the parliamentarians aren't capacitated to understand the dynamics. It goes back to the need of involving parliamentarians. Even when talking about data protection, there's an issue of digital inclusion. In Africa, most of the countries, there's a huge digital gap, but even further gaps with peripheral regions.
When we approach telephone companies to bring access of internet to peripheral regions, they say it doesn't make business case for them, not economical. With the data protection, digital policy we are talking about, digital data, is it just going to be for urban or is it also going to be for rural? Because if it's going to be for rural, we need to figure out how to take the internet there, but the mobile companies are saying it's not worth it for them. The likes of these funds, maybe they need to be capacitated to make sure we get the access.
>> TRACY SINKAMBA FAUSTIN: I really ‑‑ I like what you're seeing, Neema and I wanted to give the opportunity to Jean‑Paul to say something. What you've talked about is also really key with regard to engaging African stakeholders in the international fora and the parliamentarians in these debates. So I'd like to give the floor to Jean‑Paul, and we can come back and talk. Thank you.
>> NEEMA LUGANGIRA: I need to say one thing. We always have these beautiful reports being launched and they end up on the shelf. I think it would be very important for this report to be put into action and have in‑country initiatives. That's my final point.
>> TRACY SINKAMBA FAUSTIN: Thank you.
Like to hand over to Jean‑Paul.
>> JEAN-PAUL ADAM: Thank you very much and good afternoon to everyone. As I am representing one of the hosts, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. I would say to you all, welcome, and the ‑‑ first of all, thank you to all of our partners, I think it's been great to have such engagement. I think what we are seeing in terms of the digital initiatives in the regional context across the continent is that we saw a little bit from some of the results, that there is ‑‑ there is a sense that if there are ‑‑ if there is cooperation happening, maybe it's despite the coordination and the leadership. I tend to be a bit more optimistic because there is a lot being done. We have to realize how relatively recent some of these initiatives are. The African Union digital transformation strategies from 2020, we have the data policy framework for digital ID. The African continental free trade area is still in its final moments of being finalized, but it's going in the right direction.
The Malabo convention is one we worried about. We are one country short of it coming into force. We are very close p and what is interesting to note, countries have done a lot to implement this protocol and not yet ratified it. There are significant movements in this direction.
We had the late last year the declaration on cybersecurity and reiterated the need for movement on the Malabo protocol. ECA is specifically reporting the and anticipating the rat fix. We are hoping ‑‑ ratification. We are hoping this is happening soon. We are in the process of setting up a regional center on cybersecurity in LOMI to and creating a common framework on cybersecurity, related to data protection, as well as dealing with the threats, which, o of course, as we have seen increasingly, this is one of the fronts in terms of warfare.
African countries, I think, are increasingly aware of all the challenges linked financially and in terms of their security in terms of cybersecurity. A few other areas, artificial intelligence, ECA is supporting a center in Congo, this is particularly focused on connecting academic institutions to enhance research, which is specific to certain fields on the continent. Looking particularly at areas such as agriculture and the fight against climate change. We have worked with Africa and the World Bank on inclusive payment systems across the continent, and I think this is one of the areas where increased coordination among countries will be beneficial.
Africa is one of the regions which has innovated in payment systems, mobile money was invented in Africa, but as the honorable Neema mentioned, we still have the issue of last mile. Even though we have used these mobile phones, for example, to connect payments even in rural areas, we have not yet fully solved the issue of inclusion. We have the starting point and can build on that. Digital ID frameworks and cooperation among countries and sharing best practices can also be an opportunity and ECA has worked with the government of Ethiopia on their national ID framework, which was adopted in August of this year, in the spirit of leaving no one behind and being able to provide government services using digital frameworks. In the context of trade, we also need to look at the vehicles that can facilitate this.
I would like to cite the example of the African trade exchange platform or ATEP. We delivered connectivity between providers of goods, as well as the link to financing through the bank and the platform to be able to provide that access to the global level. I'm getting some looks now, I know I have to wrap up. But to conclude, I would say three key points.
Firstly, capacity building, being able to invest in young people in particular, to be able to improve the understanding of how we can access digital technologies, and sharing of experiences n in those aspects, secondly, building resilience and I think a lot of the resilience of systems is going to be designed around regional initiatives. We can reduce the costs of implementing a lot of these best practices by acting region necessarily.
Thirdly, payment systems which I think is one of the key elements and building blocks. Again, this will be ineffective unless we can address it region necessarily. Thank you very much.
>> TRACY SINKAMBA FAUSTIN: Thank you very much.
Thank you very much, Jean‑Paul and for wrapping it up quickly as well. And I just wanted to check if Dr. Andrew Rens, are you available online, can you hear us?
No? Our IT team can you unmute him. Excellent, thank you. As we are limited with time, if you could just share your quick reactions in a minute to what Dr. Alison Gillwald shared, that would be great, thank you very much. Over to you.
>> DR. AN DOCTOR RENS: Vision 2063 talks about an integrated Africa, and the report, as well as the after cap data policy framework ‑‑ African data policy from work suggestion one of the important policy components of that is cross‑border data sharing. The question I have for today's session going forward and beyond today, how do we do that? How do we bring about data sharing cross‑borders in Africa. Not just personal data, which honorable Neema Lugangira talked about. Other types of data, nonpersonal data, which has important economic and developmental benefits. That's it.
>> TRACY SINKAMBA FAUSTIN: Thank you very much. I know!
You did that really well in one minute. That is amazing.
>> DR. ANDREW RENS: A legal academic.
>> TRACY SINKAMBA FAUSTIN: Thank you very much for sharing those points. As we are coming to the end of this session, I wanted to hand over to Martin, it seems that the PowerPoint is down, but he's just going to take us through the next steps and what we can expect. Over to you, Martin.
>> MARTIN HULLIN: Thank you, Tracy and thank you so much again to the esteemed panelists and those that enabled the preparation of the report. This is a stepping stone towards the many points you were making about the question of implementation and increasing data and digital literacy and how to actually act now. Once we have our slides back on the screen from our IT colleagues, let's see if it plays with us or it doesn't. If it doesn't, I will just, play it by ear.
Part of the project now in the company three months will be that we will use the content of the report findings, and we will, together with dedicated service, now try to translate that into on boarding learning modules for specific audiences, and given what we hear today and also given the participation of our esteemed parliamentarians from the region, what we would like to propose, it's an offer, is that as part of the workshops we are foreseeing in the coming months, that we would like to lever Raj the methodology of the network of co‑developing those learning modules, because this is about the substance we create. There's a lot of know how already in the report. Something that always comes short in many of the mechanisms that develop this learning content, there's too little peer to peer knowledge exchanged. We have a lot of colleagues from other global self-representation, Latin America, from other global south regions in the world that had similar challenges and would like to share their insights and experiences amongst other parliamentarians, that would be an offer we can make today, and we'll discuss how we can put that into action, and this learning modules at a certain point will lead to the possibility of certifying knowledge. For us, this is a starting point of creating a baseline and we will investigate together what are the additional areas we can dig deeper, what are the topical areas, the questions related to AI or to mobile payments across borders, what are solution pathways that might be interesting to on board the areas. This will be pretty exciting to embark upon, it will be just not about the report, about the question how do we put it all into action? There's such an app tight and ‑‑ an appetite and so little time. We admit this opening, we should have started last year. We couldn't be happier to have you with us in the room. I would be remiss not to make an additional announcement. The policy network will have its town hall session on the 1st and December, also here at the IGF, we will be presenting other activities as well.
There will be one announcement also we will make, I won't be disclosing too much information, but we will be starting in next year a new project related to cross‑border sand boxes for data in Africa, as a potential solution pathways and African forum and we will investigate them there in the session and also in the intersessional discussions on who the right partners are, to jointly identify areas and sectors where there would be the biggest willingness to engage in experimental cross‑border sharing of information where the urgency is the greatest, the political buy‑in is the most considerable and also what technical solutions are existing now to actually have lighthouse projects that showcase African stakeholders and actual coalitions can be an example for other regions of actual putting things into action. With this, thank you so much, I hope you enjoyed the findings and we'll be here available, of course, with our esteemed authoring team, big shoutout again and a big thank you for having supported us so far also in the writing of the report.
To answer any questions that are there, we are too short on time for the Q&A, which as usual is so unfortunate, but we'll be here, don't hesitate to grab us, thank you for having joined us today. Thank you for having enabled us to present today.
>> TRACY SINKAMBA FAUSTIN: Thank you.