IGF 2022 Day 2 WS #160 Connectivity and Digital Rights a View from the Global South

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: Good morning, we'll be starting in the next six minutes.  I'm just expecting a speaker who is just about to pass security clearance.  Sorry for the delay. 

>> MODERATOR: Good morning, I think we will start the session.  Good morning, welcome everybody to this session, hosted by connectivity and digital rights and view from Global South, and Jokkolabs Banjul is in this capacity and I have several Jokkolabs Banjul colleagues here.

Before we start, I have the pleasure and honor to introduce our Honorable Minister of Communication and Digital Economy From Gambia, the Honorable Minister Ousman Bah attending our session.  I will also introduce speakers here as we start.

I have to my left Peace Oliver Amuge Executive Director of WOUGNET and MAG member of IGF.  And next to her I have Terrence Kay from Jokkolabs.  Just coming in I have Honorable Alhagie Mbow, MP of select ICT in Gambia and the member of Parliament and current MAG member. 

Ladies and gentlemen, you are welcome to this session.  And also acknowledge Mactar Seck, the ECA representative.  Welcome to this session.

Without much ado, we continue our work. If you look at what happens a lot in the continent, you will discover that despite the fact connectivity has greatly improved, what has been hampering a lot of innovation and in terms of not only getting to the last mile in terms of making people understand the importance of digital rights very well.  The cornerstone of it has been meaningful connectivity.  It is necessary we look at the intersection between connectivity and digital rights.  How it affects the continent and from what perspective we're looking at it.

Because from different angles, whether you look at it from Europe, North America, or Asia, it is totally different.  I will hand over to Peace Oliver Amuge now to start this session.  Over to you.

>> Peace Oliver Amuge: Thank you very much.  Thank you for joining us and the online participants.  My name is Peace Oliver Amuge.  I'm the Executive Director of the Uganda women network.  So I will put my thoughts, looking at the agenda perspective when you talk about connectivity.  We must all, I think we all agree that Internet access is the number one digital rights.  Because if we don't access the Internet we cannot access the other digital rights. 

So when we talk about access and look at girls, and youth and look at women, there are a lot of challenges, you know.  We have seen reports that have shown us there is improvement in terms of the number of people that are connecting, but we still have a lot of gaps.

We have the usage gap.  For instance, the GSMA report shows that now the ‑‑ 95% of the world population is covered by the mobile network.  But however, out of the 95, we still have 40% who are not using the mobile Internet.

So that means we still have so many people who are not connected.  And most of these people are coming from low‑developed countries or people from the Global South. 

Again, to further put it out, we still always have the gender digital gap.  We still have 60% of women ‑‑ women are still less, compared to men, women ‑‑ 60% of them will still not access the Internet. 

So then we have all the issues that still exist, still have the agenda, the stereotypes that affect the women's access to Internet and usage.  We have the rural and urban gap.  So all of these really affect our meaningful access to the Internet. 

We see a lot of push back for the few that try to access the Internet.  For instance, cybersecurity we have increased rate of digital divide.  Increased rate of online gender‑based violence.  Online harassment.  This is pushing back women, young girls that should meaningfully participate in online spaces.

We still have an affordability problem.  Many girls and many women, many youth are not able to afford the Internet because of the high rate of ‑‑ high cost of Internet data.  And also the devices. 

The GSMA report still shows that when we look at the Internet data at least affordability has increased.  When we look at the devices, so many people still cannot afford.  So some of the things ‑‑ some of the issues are still affecting the meaningful connectivity, you know, for the youth, for the women, for the girls.  So thank you. 

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Peace.  I will go ‑‑ we have in terms of connectivity and digital rights, we know that we cannot work without good policies and sometimes these policies and laws are pushed by our Parliament.  It is good we have a parliamentarian here that is also an ICT professional and here to give the perspective in terms of legislation that can be used in the Global South.  Over to you Alhagie Mbow.

>> Alhagie Mbow:  I'm a member of the Parliament from Gambia and member of the Parliament and member of the ICT in Gambia and part of the ICT network on Internet Governance. 

When we look at the connectivity across the continent or I can say the Global South, you realize there is still now a big disparity.  That is within the continent itself there is disparity in terms of connectivity.

Now, the issue here we have is whether the policy is policy based issue or not.  You realize I should say not, we can do as far as this is concerned.  Most of the investors in the ICT sector is private based.  Meaning they're there to make money.  Now, some of the strategies or policies we have in some of the continent, actually, they're not actually creating a good level playing field. 

When policies are unpredictable, you will realize investors will be affected by what they want to invest in particular countries.  The predictability of the strategy Governments will come up by and large has a large amount to do whether companies want to invest in the ICT sector.

Again the investment is intensive and people want to make sure if they get a penny they get a dollar in their investment.  At this point, you will realize a lot of issues dealing with policy issues across the continent and in the Global South. 

I think Parliaments should have a great deal to work with the executives and show that there are policies or policies in place would actually help to build innovation but not to actually stifle innovation.

Again, as parliamentarians, we really need to work on this, and also working with our executives to make sure we have the policies in place to make sure institutions actually have the right mentality and also above all, the continent is able to operate instead of putting in policies or laws to stifle them.

You want to put in policies or strategies to allow them to be confident and to be able to you know, invest in those areas so they can try to close the digital gap.

For the most part, realize 3.7 billion people are not connected.  Again, major amount in the Global South.  The digital divide is real.  Within the continent itself you realize there could be connectivity, but access also issues.

You know.  Again, like the speaker said, it also has to do with the cost of getting those Internet connections from our mobile devices or from any other device we have.  Those are also areas that policy can actually change.  Because again, when you leave everything in the hands of the Private Sector, again, you realize they're there to make money.  But policies can be there in place to make sure they make money and also think about those in the rural communities, so they're able to be connected, you know, properly so they have access.

So as far as Parliament is concerned, I think there is a need for us to look at our policies and to work with executives to ensure we have the right policies in place, so that we, you know, promote innovation.  Thank you. 

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much Honorable Alhagie Mbow.  I will move over to Zanyiwe Asare, the Chairperson of the South African governance Forum and seat sits on the (?) with me.  We will look at it from the perspective of digital rights within the context of South Africa. 

>> Zanyiwe Asare: I am Zanyiwe Asare and I sit on the Zambia technology Working Group.  I will give a perspective from my experience under the independent communication authority of South Africa advisory panel that does look at issues we have today.  I will leave this alone and speak from my heart because it is a human centric topic. 

The work we do as the advisory consumer panel is about connecting rural South Africa.  When we look at data, I will speak about that holistically.  I work there and work outside of South Africa.  The data we get is not the keenest data.  It is not the most reliable.  A lot of times I can't pinpoint why.  Because we can go to the areas and talk to the people.  There is a disconnect.

This misguides us when it comes to identifying real gaps that we create solutions for.  So you end up mismatching the solutions for the problems on the ground.  So for instance, we're still dealing with a lot of, you know, second Industrial Revolution and third Industrial Revolution based issues if you look at solution making.

Let's go to the South African context as I mentioned.  We would literally go into communities and understand what the leadership structures information looks like.  Those are the people that will tell you what is really happening on the ground.  Looking at traditional leaders, gathering people, similar to what we are doing today.  And having real discussions. 

A lot of the times there needs to be a literacy translate.  When you go and speak to people that have not really interacted with information, communication, technologies at a level most of the people in this room have, when you ask questions, they won't give you the right answers.  By right, they are not answers that will lead you to giving proper solutions.

Let's look at an educational issue.  All right?  The connection between ICT and education.  We went through ‑‑ not through a global pandemic because we still have positive cases here and there.  Let's use that term.  We went through the global pandemic.  A lot of children started using digital technologies for education dissemination.  Our rural communities simply did not interact in that manner.  They didn't have that example to see what people in more urbanized communities were doing.  They couldn't juxtapose that.

That big disconnect talks to doing something more than just ICTs.  It talks about working in silos and not getting what we are saying we want to look at.  If we look at the Digital Transformation strategy from the AU.  We can't perform those we still have issues like lack of electricity.  Right?  It is a strange thing to say because we're sitting here and gathered.  But we should have the agencies here with us, having the conversations.

We should be speaking quite bluntly about it, from a town planning perspective, what is happening?  Are we accounting for the migration from rural to urbanized areas.  Are we speaking to the economic value that Private Sector looks at, I think as Honorable had mentioned.  You know, at the end of the day when we speak on the solutions we need a triple P, without public‑private partnerships we won't get anywhere.  We also need to look at what the Private Sector needs.  They're there for profit and gain.

What are we doing to ensure that there is that filler, that gap?  That is my little intro to this particular session.  However, I think some pertinent points that I would like us to look at for this session, which I did note down ... give me two seconds.  Is looking at revolutionizing our conversation.  Right? 

I think we have moved from talking about rural communities as being completely disconnected.  That is not ‑‑ you will find people in the most rural village and most rural, deepest community who has benefitted from house services in some form or another.  Or who has interacted with ICTs, whether it be mobile banking ‑‑ not mobile banking, but mobile money as an alternative, mobile banking.  The question is, how are we getting people in those communities to be part of these solutions? 

Not just speak about connectivity or access, but saying how do they create revenue, literacy, and awareness in their constituencies so they want that for themselves?  So they sit here with us and have these conversations?  Maybe just by a show of hands if I can ask, who is from a rural community in this room? 

You're from a rural community.  So three.  Okay.  But do you live in a rural community at this point in time?  So one, out of so many people.

I think the initiatives of people in our positions right now need to look at integrating the rural voice in here.  So I go as a person who wants to help a rural community.  But the truth is when it comes to proper solution making, we need to come with a person who is sitting right there in that position, lived that experience.  Not just having documented it but having them speak but telling you what everyday life is and what the ICTs can do for them after a literacy conversion.

That is my submission, I want to take a human centric approach and not create policy and speak from the heart.  ‑‑ not quote policy.  And speak from the heart.  When you spend two weeks in a rural village, used to having 5G and you go and can't speak to your family and can't respond to emails and can't be connected to the world in the manner you are used to, you realize this is real life, real people being left behind, but also being disconnected from all of the development and leapfrogging that we speak about.  It is not being actualized.  There is more we can do at a human centric level.  Thank you so much.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you.  I will hand over to Terrance.  Jokkolabs Banjul is involved in a number of connectivity activities with support from the association for progressive communication of which Jokkolabs Banjul is a member.  Terrence, your intervention and how ...

>> Terrence: At Jokkolabs Banjul we focus on the awareness raising part and capacity building.  Letting people know about their rights online.  Trying to help them with capacity to use technological devices.

We have worked with previously worked with mostly in the rural communities, we have worked with market women or farmers.  Showing them how to use technology to market their produce, for example. Using things like WhatsApp.  So for people that can't read or write or haven't had formal education.  So they are able to send voice messages on WhatsApp or take pictures and send it to potential clients of their product or produce. 

We have also tried to work with rural youth on creating more local content.  Building a data repository so they know what they have out the there.  So they have that access to information.  They know where the hospitals are, where to find a bank, how to open a bank account, how to ‑‑ where to get forms from if they want to apply for certain things or for certain public ... public facilities. 

We have also build capacity in terms of staying safe online.  So we also work with youth, again, in rural youth, teaching them how to protect themselves online.  How to not share misinformation.  How to protect their privacy.  Basically digital rights online.  We also have again, capacity building workshops, raising awareness on Internet rights and freedoms.

So we go out there, we tell people, you know, you have a right to this.  You need to have access to Internet.  How do you use the technologies? 

You know, you have a right to have access to information.  This is how it can change your life.  This is what it can do for you.  You need to demand this.  You need to talk to your policymakers, you need to talk to the leaders in your communities and see how you can get this infrastructure or these facilities in your communities so that you can better your lives, basically. 

>> MODERATOR: If I might add to that, one of the main things that makes it work with job's engagement in rural communities in Gambia, is we have to provide the data.  Because we have problems with cost of data.  It is about $5 for one gigabyte of mobile data, which is one of the most expensive in Africa.  I know our Honorable Minister here, in Gambia is trying to get a second submarine cable.  I think the best average on that cost in Africa is in Ghana, about 61 cents.  We might get there yet, but might get to our neighbors in Senegal, that is doing about 75 cents for 1 gigabyte of data.

In the work in digital rights in Gambia goes into getting connected.  Most use their mobile phone.  Since the data we collected we have 3.5 million mobile phone users in Gambia, which is over one million of the Gambia population of 2.5 million.  You can see natural every household has two or three mobile phones.

Without much ado, since I have the pleasure of having my Honorable Minister here, Ousman Bah, the Minister of Digital economy, since he came into office, I would like to say this.  We hardly see a lot of knowledge about our Ministers.  Honorable, apart from being a technological specialist was working in San Francisco.  Involved in transformation architecture.  And he decided to come back home and when he was offered this position as a Minister, he ‑‑ to be a Minister in Gambia, you have to be fully Gambian.  He relinquished his U.S. citizenship.  Few Africans would do that.

He relinquished his U.S. citizenship to come home and do this.  Since he's been our Minister, the first thing he ‑‑ I find it laudable, and the whole ecosystem in Gambia were very appreciative of, was to call all the stakeholder.  Called all the Telcos, called all the ICT positions and innovators and asked for their stories.  Then called all the ministries, how are you using ICT and what are you using it for.  I think that is commendable.

I would like to hear from his perspective why he decided to do that.  And looking at the way forward, what does he see in terms of breaching the connectivity issues we have to address digital rights in Africa.  Honorable Bah, sorry I put you on the spot.  Thank you. 

>> OUSMAN BAH: Good morning everybody.  Yes, you put me on the spot.  It is all good.  Here, as an African, as a Gambian.  It is important that we look at what is the next 20 years going to look like?  What we want Africa to look like.  That is one of the main reasons I left the 32 years in the U.S. and came back to Gambia.  It is only us that can fix our nation.  Nobody will do it for us but ourself.

Going into what do we need to do ... I have this young lady from South Africa gave a great speech in digital divide and connectivity.  In Gambia, the first thing that I think we should do is what I look at everything that is in place of the infrastructure is that we have to have an open access.  That is the main reason why Internet is so expensive in Gambia.  Not only we have just one submarine cable in the country, but also if you look at the GSM operators, as many have said, they're here to make money.  But they also want to do good for the citizens.

It is the Government responsibility to make sure to empower them and provide them some subsidies, so they can roll out some of the connectivity in the rural areas.

Because if you look at in Gambia, in a place like ‑‑ the rural area, I will use one example, if you want to put a cell tower in certain areas the minimum cost is $150,000, in Gambia, which is about $1,000, or $2,000.  $3,000.  So it is very expensive.  It is the Government duty to see how we can help the GSM operator to subsidize this to be empowered to roll out ‑‑ excuse me ‑‑ this wireless technology out there.

Most importantly, it is the open access that will help us.  Right now we are drafting a document to present to the cabinet with the help of my peers to make sure we give open access to NPN and equine so the GSM operators can connect to the networks and let the core ‑‑ the main telecom in the company see the revenue.  That is the best way to go.  Now, with the supplement of the second submarine cable, which we are working on right now.  Hopefully in the next 18 months we'll have this in Gambia.  Not to mention a tier 4 data center, we're in the process of securing that as well.  You are looking at about 36 months for a tier 4 data center from start of design to implementation.  Gambia is an incubator.

We welcome everybody to come and explore the brains that are there.  We have a lot of brains.  We are not asking somebody to hand it over to us.  But we're asking for partnership.  And we will drive ‑‑ we'll be the driver to get us where we need to be.  A second submarine cable at data center, which is part of the five pillars in my ministry.  The other is the payment gateway.  As we were talking, I was reading about the national payment switch before end of 2023.

On top of that, no country on this planet can get to where you need to be unless you know how many people are in your country.  So we are in the process also engaging other stakeholders in the national digital identification.  It is very important, you know, how many people are born in your country.  How many graduating?  How many retiring?  This is how you plan your economy.  Without that, you can't plan your economy. 

The other one is e‑governance.  As great as e‑governance is providing e‑services to your citizens, it is important that you have a data center to store this data.  Because today, if you want to store your data in the Cloud for Amazon or AWS and Microsoft or Google.  The closest you can reach your data is South Africa or U.K. as Africans we think about securing our tier 4 data center as well to secure some of the licensing to sell the service within our own Africans on the African continent.

I am pleased to be here.  Hopefully this is a fruitful delivery.  Thank you very much.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you Honorable Minister.  I will open the floor for questions before we do ‑‑ what do you call it?  A closing remark.  I will open the floor for questions to the panelists. 

>> ATTENDEE: Hello, I am from Tunisia.  I want to ask how to overcome the gender gap with connectivity?  Is it in coaching, reviewing lecture.

>> MODERATOR: I will hand over that to Peace. 

>> Peace Oliver Amuge: Thank you.  Thank you for the question.  It means that you think it is an important aspect.  So I will just give an overview.  One, I think we need to take a multistakeholder approach when we talk about gender digital divide or digital divide.  We need to involve all the stakeholders in all of our projects.  We need to be very inclusive.  When we talk about women, we have women that live with disabilities.  Women with disabilities that live in the rural areas, women that are not educated.  You know, we have all of these dynamics, you know when we talk about women.

That means that this should be reflected in our approach.  This should be reflected in our policies.  This should be reflected in every step that we take.  The number one thing I think that is very key as well is that we need to do research.  Because we rely on global research that are being done and then we miss out.  We lack statistics.  For instance, I come from Uganda.

Right now, if you ask me about the gap we have the gender digital divide gap, I might not have the statistics.  We need research to know, really know the number of women that are accessing, and their usage, the age gap, know all these things, so then we can inform our steps.  It can inform our strategies. 

So I think research is very important.  Another thing that is very important is education.  We need to change our education system, the syllabus of how everything is done. 

We need to encourage women to be in STEM.  We can't have women in tech in there are no women doing STEM.  It is important that we look at our education system.  It is nice that in this room we have different stakeholders.  People from the Government, you know, we have Civil Society, tech community.  It is important that we look at this.

And also, we need to look at affordability bit.  We know financially, women are still unable, compared to men.  And yet for you to use the Internet, you need to afford it.  If you look at women in the rural setting, someone has to buy food.  A woman that lives in the urban area, she has to buy food for the children and also has to come online to access information and interact, meaningfully engage.  How is this possible?  We still have taxes levied on the Internet and data.  High taxes levied on the devices.  We need to tackle the issue of affordability.  And think about also the affordable means to ‑‑ for us to have connectivity.  Like community networks.  Because we know that they would not put their infrastructure in the rural communities.  These are the communities left out.  We have so many women that live in these community.  We need to look at that as well.

Also having relevant content.  Everybody will go somewhere because they feel something is speaking to them.  We need this content that speaks to women.  Women need to come online and find content that give them what they are looking for.  So I think that is also something that is important.  And digital literacy.

Many times, you will find that women have these phones but don't know how to use it.  They don't know how to navigate and where we have interaction like shutdowns.  Many times when a shutdown is happening, the women are left out because of use of VPN and how to navigate, it is usually a challenge.  Digital literacy.  These are some of the things that would really narrow the gender digital gap.  Thank you. 

>> MODERATOR: Yes, lady, please introduce yourself.  Then ask your question. 

>> ATTENDEE: Okay.  My name is Christine.  I work with digital defenders partnership as a grant officer deliver the whole Africa.  One thing that we realize is that as long as the achievement of connectivity, there is pros and cons of everything. 

The cons is that ‑‑ the challenges that you are facing is that there is a lot of digital threats.  Our organization is trying to address the digital threats in the space of connectivity.  It is overwhelming applications that we receive in a week.  Like up to now, for the year to end, we have over 3,000 applications and the grants are not enough in the organization.  I don't know what to comment about, as long as you are thinking about connectivity you must think about the challenges and how to get the urban address. 

There are challenges, most of the organizations they're achieving connectivity, they're putting work online after COVID.  They don't have the structures to mitigate the attacks that go alongside the work online.  Thank you. 

>> MODERATOR: I think, if I am to address that question, in most of the African countries and most places in the Global South, we have the computer rapid emergency response team that help in terms of threats and stuff like that.

What has happened is especially not for profits and digital rights defenders they don't want to associate with our body because they think it is a Governmental entity.  Forgetting that the computer rapid emergency team is made up of different stakeholders, Government entities and Private Sector and Telcos.  So there needs to be a creation of awareness and trust that such computer rapid emergency response teams are usually there to support not Government systems from being hacked, but the overall community in the country. 

I will say that if you practice the model ‑‑ that is why it is go in the Internet Governance Forum.  What we are doing is we bring these and make sure police and immigration are invited.  Let everybody know.

Once you bring all players in the same table, everybody will now know that, okay, something like this exists.  What are the pros?  What are the cons?  What are the challenges?  How do we address them?  We should try as much as possible to develop that trust within the community and such computer rapid emergency response teams.  Thank you.  Karim, then go over there. 

>> Karim: Thank you.  My name is Karim.  I am also MAG member.  This is my third term as MAG member.

I am also a Telco operator.  The Director of regulation and Uganda international with the Government.  I would like to add another point of view regarding what was presented by Parliament ministry, consumer user.  To say that the reality in terms of access need to be really raised as while user needs access, need connectivity, need quality, in term of implementation in the side of Telco or operator, needs investments, needs the implement of network.  And most of time it needs to be linked with the cost of investment. 

And I think that's as Global South as African, I think the reality here from Gambia is the same for most of our countries in Africa.

So we are relying based on the net neutrality concept, we are relying on no filtration of traffic, open networks.  But the economy of Internet gives revenue on content provider and platform provider.  Ends user, when you are looking for 5G networks and broadband reliability, it is for relaying content and also applications provided by Global North, those who are known as GAFA. 

So I think in Africa, we need to think globally.  Think together how we can set policy to be able to also involve those who are taking value economy on the Internet to contribute also on the infrastructure development.  Otherwise, this last mile.  This costly side of the Internet remain on local actors.  In some countries, we put taxes.  I don't know if you remember in Nigeria, the 5G frequency auction. 

Yes in the end, one actor got the license.  If you see the cost they put on this license, when you see it in terms of network deployment, we will have a lack of penetration in this area who Telco knows they don't have a lot of users.

So the Government, our Government needs to really think where we need to have more taxes and where we need the Telco to go and give network to all citizens.  But if we can have a global thinking as African continent.  We can have that. 

>> MODERATOR: I will hand over to Dr. Mactar Seck. 

>> I think it is an important discussion in IGF.  If you talk about digital divide and human rights, it is not something new in the continent or in the south.  We know exactly what is the problem in Africa.  We know how to do it.  But the issue we fail is implementation side.

Let us start ‑‑ when you have a digital gap, we have to start by what is important.  It is a digital ID issue.  You have five hundred million African resolve I.T.  They don't have access to the line.  They don't have access to school.  Or to social service.

The Minister talk about ‑‑ I think the Gambia is on the way to develop their national digital ID.  But without this digital ID, we can't develop right policy in the continent, because we don't have what is needed.  We need to start with digital ID.

Second, infrastructure.  You can have infrastructure, but if you have infrastructure without device, the digital gap is there.  If you have several example dealing of COVID time in the time, one country have 80% penetration Internet.  And during the COVID time 2% access to the device. 

This problem is the same in Africa.  20% of Africa, the device cost more than 100% of the monthly income.  Unacceptable. 

To do that, we have to develop our innovation.  And develop also as an Africa industry and technology by involvement with local Private Sector. 

The other one, we have several statistics we need $100 billion to make this access connectivity universal by 2030 and who will provide this $100 billion?  It is in health, education, security.  We have to evolve in the Private Sector.  It is the involvement of the Private Sector is very important to bridge this digital divide.

Second, skill development.  We have to develop the skill.  Develop literacy skills and Parliament has a role to play.  Because as the 2030 we expect 90% of the job will be digital.  We need to develop the skill of the youth.  As the youth now by 2050 we have 70% of our population youth.  Otherwise, the digital divide will remain.  It is important.  And access Internet is right.  I think the topic is very interesting.  And we have to discuss more on several issues like digital skill, infrastructure development, affordability, also.  And the role of the Parliament is very important.  As well as the first leadership, if you have a good leadership, we can sort out some issues.  We have some example in Rwanda, if the leadership sort out issues.  In South Africa good example of access to device because 80% have access.  It is something very interesting.  Thank you very much.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you.  Hands at this end.  Yes, go ahead.  Introduce yourself. 

>> ATTENDEE: Okay.  Good morning, everyone.  I am from Ethiopia judiciary.  And I hope that everyone is enjoying to hearing this.  Having said that, I want to add some points on the presentations as an Ethiopian and African. 

I want to be sure that ‑‑ we need to qualify.  We need to clearly spell out our interest.  Because our interest maybe ‑‑ our priorities may be different from the Global North.  Therefore, we need to clearly put out what should be our priorities. 

I think our priority should be for the role of people, for the vulnerable people who should get an access for this digital world.

If we are leaving them behind, it is a problem.  Therefore, we need to focus more on agricultural and small scale industries and manufacturers and tourism sectors.

From parliamentarians, their contribution is critical.  And also from law enforcement sector.  In order to ensure and implement the digital rights, the role of the judiciary, the authority and prosecutor is very high.  Therefore, we need to also include in our policies, our strategies to realize the digital rights for the Global South.

The third point I want to raise is the leadership matters.  Leadership ‑‑ political leadership makes or breaks any issues on digital rights.  For example, in Ethiopia we have Dr. Abbey as a Prime Minister.  After he came to power, there are different things.  Actually he is like an I.T. savvy.  He's so interested.  Actually he was in that sector and knows the benefit of ICT, digital economy, and other things.  He come up with a strategy digital economy 2025, not only a strategy, but also different organizations.  Therefore the leadership should be at the center of this digital rights implementation.  Thank you. 

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much for the intervention.  Before I take ‑‑ I want to see if there is anyone online.  We have about 10 minutes.  Anyone online that has a question?  Please, the guys controlling the Zoom will let us know.  Yes?  Go ahead, sir. 

>> Okay.  Thank you very much for all the presenters.

>> MODERATOR: Introduce yourself.

>> My name is Yogi, I'm from Ethiopia, I'm the Executive Director of organization of system development in Africa.  When we come to the point of sessions, I was feeling that we don't only have to innovate on devices and ICT, we have to innovate on policies.  Policy innovation is important, concerning your presentations. 

When we talk of the rural community and this connectivity, the Best Practices that we can really reach them with affordable price.  Making access to rural community in a certain village.  And really disseminating technologies that are really wireless.  So that we can easily reach with affordable cost.

And I do think about the issue of Government and the influx of investment that will get us to invest in physical infrastructure.  So that the private organizations and the business entrepreneurs can easily reach toward this technology and easy for the community.

So when I think of the expensive features of the Gambian Internet line, it is really surprising if South Africa is that much cheap and Gambia in that distance makes $1 for one gigabyte.  We need to rethink how to really invest on physical infrastructure so that the Government and so that the citizens can really get the right to access to Internet.

Concerning the issue of ‑‑ the presentation by the South African presenter is really very ambitious.  My concern is Internet rights for citizens.  That be it rural or urban communities.  Also negative aspects of Internet if we take the case of xenophobia in South Africa, and that is everywhere now.

Can you brief us, really, the impact of Internet is minimizing it or how the level of this issue is controlling South Africa and elsewhere, thanks.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much.  Before I allow someone to answer that later.  Modelling Jokkolabs Banjul, we have to hand there.  Yes, I am, I will get to you. 

>> Thank you for that.  I think you raised pertinent points.  I will go straight to the question that you directed to me around ‑‑ I guess the decay that the Internet brings and the dangers.  I think it was also mentioned.  Looking at cybersecurity businesses, cybercrimes and the xenophobia violation and manifesting in online space has a real consequence.

If I look at the legislation in South Africa that works with develop and Digital Transformation, I can confidently say in my concern, from last year, December 1, section 20 of the cybersecurity act revolutionized the conundrum of jurisdiction or being able to find a perpetrator or suspect of online violations such as xenophobia, hate speech, inciting violence.

What it did, really, is it connected the disparity we had with IP addresses and utilizing them in the judiciary or presenting them in a criminal case or criminal matter for cybersecurity case.  And started using IP addressing.

So that really allows us to compel social media platforms to give us information to get to the bottom of it.

We have had rights, and policies and legislation that speak to hate crime and all sorts of things.

To say the legislations will completely eradicate cybercrimes would be remiss.  I can't say that.  I say there is something to lean back on.  We are progressively closing the gaps on some of the bits and pieces we're telling us, okay, you have a piece of paper, how do you implement?  Implementation is the action part.

Being able to be open to say, this is the new technology.  And traditionally the laws wouldn't allow this certain information to help us close cases, find suspects.  That is the key.  Being open to and learn what we traditionally are doing and learn new methods of finding perpetrators.  New methods of ensuring that the cyberspace is safe.  I hope that answers you.  Thank you. 


>> Good morning, everyone.  My name is Madeline.  I work at Jokkolabs Banjul.  I want to add on to what was said regarding the implementation model that we take when we have to deal with rural communities.  And what was talked about in the realities of what is happening with them.

What I learned in the experience in working with women in rural communities, the problem all of them will tell you, is if you conduct a training for them, how can they make money with this or are you paying them? 

I believe the model we're all taking can be improved upon.  These women already are working and know how to go about getting the means of life.  We should look at how to help them get better at doing the thing.  If you talk about digital rights with them.  They might sit with you for a week to do a training.  In the end, what value does it add? 

We have to take an approach that will directly impact them by specifically investing in the education of their children.  If development is happening in urban areas, whereby we build labs for schools and children in the rural areas don't get the same opportunity as those in the urban areas are getting, what problem are we really solving?  If we look at curriculum when we take ‑‑ our kids are learning case studies that don't even involve them.  How are we teaching them to solve problems if we're not giving them case studies of problems that is happening within their areas? 

You take agricultural for instance.  A high amount of produce.  At the end of the day, most of the women their produce goes to waste or have to sell it at a lower price than they actually invested.  How do we teach the kids, if we have a case study like this, what are the best practice we can do, and what service can we provide to them to make sure that what they are learning is things that are directly impacting them so they can begin to shape their mind‑set and look at solutions that can be aligned to them.

Not teaching them there is a plane.  They don't have planes in the community moving around.  They have learned and saw and know how to farm.  So how can we improve those things for them with the infrastructure that is available before we begin to talk about their digital rights.  What about their basic rights?  If we look at that, we shift the conversations around what is happening so they can see that development comes from that.  Not just having to learn, and at the end of the day you move to the urban center because that is where the opportunity is.  What are the opportunities there for them?  Thank you so much.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much for that divergent perspective.  Madeline, very interesting.  Wisdom, over to you.

>> ATTENDEE: Thank you, I am wisdom, Executive Director for Africa, and Internet research foundation.  I am going to talk about a spectrum.  It looks like we are leaving that out.  And that is a place where it is critical in connecting the rural areas.  It looks like the licensing that we have as they say the big guys, the bigger Telcos.  And if any non‑Government organizations go into rural areas to help them with connectivity, usually helpful.  To look at that so part of the spectrum location can be and it is made available to the non‑Government sector so they can get the licensing and go to areas where the big guys don't want to go.

Another thing is we lack data.  We need to look into the availability of data, last‑mile data.  We don't have them.  It is difficult for someone like me to come to a country and come in and connect to rural communities.

I am happy to see Steve Song here, he's done so much work on data and last miles across the world.  I don't know if you can share some bit of information on that.  I did some work with him, in 2018 in Ghana also.  And so I think that is what I have to say.

Lastly, another issue is we need to look at content seriously.  We have various sectors within our country and most time we talk about connectivity and don't look at content side.  What content the rural dwellers need. They need weather information for a farmer.  If you take a network to them and you add weather information to it.  To inform them that this is how you can begin to farm your produce.  It will help them. 

The other thing is that our food is being produced from farms is going to waste because of no communication.  Farmers in the rural areas are not able to market it online.  This is some of the content we need to look at.

>> MODERATOR: I have to stop you.  Sorry, we are running out of time.  Last intervention.  And if there are questions online, I would like a brief intervention and I will allow our panelists to say something before we close.  Over to you. 

>> ATTENDEE: Good morning everybody.  I am from Ethiopia.  I have a suggestion.  My suggestion is that we Africans are the authority, we have to concentrate on Africa in terms of digital rights.  Second one, we have to appreciate young graduate students who have no knowledge about digital divide.  And you have to appreciate the ICT and project management and skill from African countries. 

Also we have to establish science and technology in terms of African Indigenous knowledge.  So we have to foster young African entrepreneurship skills.  And before graduate the students have to take a course like entrepreneurship, ICT course and other things.  Thank you. 

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much.  Any questions online?  Going.  The intervention online.  Go ahead.  Please, you can read the question for us the online moderator. 

Can you speak? 

I think you can speak. 

Please, can you unmute them if they are to speak, if anyone wants to speak, their hands are raised. 

Okay.  I will hand over to Anika.  There is someone?  Let me give them an opportunity.

>> ATTENDEE: Thank you, Chair.  I'm with the South African human rights commission.  And here with colleagues from the respective human rights institutions throughout Africa.  We form part of an alliance.  I don't have much time, but to say we can't have this conversation without recognizing the integral role that NHRI play.  We are interlocutor, independent, supposed to be established under the Paris principles, under the auspices of the U.N. 

But to indicate that there is a lot of conversations happening within our respective countries but I don't hear much coming through with tech Governments or even Government entities that are engaging with the National Human Rights Institution.  That is critical which he had which he had in the formulation of policy and legislation.  I can pick up on gaps around the room in discussions in what is happening.  And the NHRI is not transmitters to tech companies.  There is a gap.  We too have presence on the ground in terms of engaging rural communities.

Particularly a question around xenophobia and hate speech.  Within the NHRI context we're responsible for certain activities, within the Government context we push for the Asia‑Pacific against racism.  Some of our NHRIs have done work on social media and racism.  Within the South African context with, handling complaints and track people that post inflammation posts we take them to the Courts.

There is not enough on the discussions.

I encourage your respective Governments or agents that are here to engage with the national human rights institutions.  We have speaking rights at the United Nations as well.  So if you are categorized as an A status NHRI.  That gives an opportunity to really speak to the issues your country is facing on the ground, and what kind of change needs to happen.

It is a recommendation very quickly from my side, Chair.  I am available afterwards.  I would like to speak to my South African sister.  Please.  I see a colleague online that I know.  Hi, Isaac.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much.  That is very necessary within our national Internet Governance in Gambia, the national human rights commission is still very new, about three years old now, it is very involved.  As you mention, it is good to involve all of the people in the discus.  Very good intervention.  Anika, over to you.

>> Thank you.  Thanks for this opportunity.  Global digital inclusion partnership, you might know our work as formerly the alliance for affordable Internet.  That is the framework.  Couple of things, I agree with pretty much most of everything said today.

So for me, I think the issues of policies, a gap in infrastructure investment required to connect everyone on the continent.  Globally that is $180 billion.  Even if Private Sector could provide 50% of that, Government has to come and make a commitment towards this digital development investment as well as private‑public partnerships and our development agencies.  So a multistakeholder approach towards investment is also critical to get us to this universal access.

On affordability, there are several policies that are beginning to erode some of the gains we have made in some of the countries.  One of them is this growing digital taxation.  Talking about taxes that face consumers.  Communication service tax.  Each levy, taxes on digital transactions.  Those are consumer‑facing taxes that are making connectivity even more unreachable, including for countries that may have met one or two of the affordability standards.

We have to build the demand side issues.  The usage gap is about two things.  It is about affordability and demand side issues, such as investing on skills and making sure we have affordable devices.

In this continent, when we did an affordability research on devices, we found that people are spending 40 to 60% to be able to afford an entry level smartphone in some of the markets.  That is the cost of a microwave in some countries.  You can imagine buying this for one individual to utilize in a household is cost prohibitive.  We need to talk about local assembly.  We need to talk about local manufacturing and need to have a conversation with the manufacturers around this.  But also the input duty taxes that are levied on the devices that are imported.

Lastly, there is still a lot on that infrastructure policy sharing, infrastructure policy, spectrum allocation for community networks.  You know, different financial models.

I want to quickly touch on this gender issue.  This growing digital gender gap that is concerning.  It is about affordability and safety issues.  Women, especially female politicians, and journalists, we find that women are active online select to be less active online because of the violence that they experience when they're online.  We have to address this issue of online gender‑based violence.  It is no different from the inequities women experience in real receive.

In 2016 we convened the first African Summit on women and girls in technology.  We brought women at the intersection of policy and technology.  And deal with the framework of inclusion.  The framework instructs us to take a rights-based approach and that framework.  Rights based approach, focus on education.  It is really important.  Perhaps in addition to STEM we look at STEAM, including the humanities in our manner of getting girls in technology.

So as SRE, rights, education, access.  That is the affordability and safety issues fall on that.

Content, absolute person.  We have to have relevant content.  The Internet can't be just social media and cannot just be English reading.  Thirdly and important for our communities.

Lastly but not least, we have to set targets.  The inequalities exist because we have inequalities in society.  And COVID exposed those inequalities.  We have the opportunity to set a clear and realistic target of who we have not reached.

And mainstream ICT policies and beyond ICT as well.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Anika.  I will give my panelists two minutes of closing interventions.  You start. 

>> Alhagie Mbow: Thank you for the opportunity.  My closing remarks are along the lines of how do we close the gap in the Global South.  Number one is the commitment, when I talk about political commitment, it is our Governments.  In our countries, I would like you to check how much is allocated.  Check on that.  Compare and see how much money is contributed to the GDP.  What are they giving.  It is it the responsibility of all of us as citizens to ensure our Government give those ministries the right amount of money and allocation to do their work.  In doing so also, the responsibilities they have.  And the basic infrastructure. 

Talking about 19 to 20% of people are connected.  But the same amount of people don't have access to electricity.  So they go hand in hand.  If there is no electricity, I can tell you connectivity will also be an issue. 

What do we do with that also?  The Governments should be able to ensure to provide electricity and when that happens they ensure the Private Sector will be able to provide the other conversations.  Because it is very expensive for the Private Sector to invest to provide electricity and build more on their own.  And make the Internet connectivity more expensive because of the cost.

And the policies that ministries are to do in terms of services.  How can each telecom build their own items that they don't share.  I am glad the Honorable is in line to have that kind of policy, where you can share services, data center or otherwise to make the cost reduce.

The third one is about education and capacity building.  You know in the Global South, you go to many of our schools, basic secondary schools don't have access to Internet or don't even have the curriculum with Internet or technology.  They don't.  We need to build from there.  Look at curriculum and change curriculum to reflect our aspirations, in the curriculums, if we don't change, it will be difficult, if we're left behind.  And this will be left behind.  Make sure the curriculum is changed.

Lastly, also, I think our Governments, we need to work closely with the Private Sector to ensure that they support them in areas where they can actually provide.  Again, the Private Sector they're there to make money.  Even though they have the component where they would provide access.  But the economic networks need to do something to support them, whether it is policy or going to build infrastructure to support them.  I think they need to do that.  I will end it on that.  Thank you. 

>> MODERATOR: All right. 

>> Thank you, everyone.  What I want to focus on is the inclusion.  So using inclusive language to make sure that everybody understands, especially with technology, understands the technology they're using.  Understands what they're doing.  So yeah.  We need to make sure that if you are trying to build capacity or educate people on these technologies that we use things that are relatable to them.  Relatable to their societies or communities.

I also want to speak about the risks.  Because with connectivity comes risks.  Right?  People need to know or we need to know what is happening with our data.  And we need to know what our rights, especially like when it comes to what's happening with our data, what we share online.

So especially since a huge percentage of young people that use the Internet now, they don't know what they're sharing.  They don't know what happens to the information they're sharing.

So we need to make sure we use simple, inclusive language to make sure that ‑‑ to raise awareness, to know, to teach them what they're doing ‑‑ what happens to their data, where it goes.  Also with privacy settings, especially with tech ‑‑ big tech companies to know what to share, what not to share.

I also think they should ‑‑ big tech companies should have the privacy settings by default.  We also need I think a common data protection act.  So maybe from the African Union we can have a common data protection act to be implemented by AU Member States.

>> There is a question online.  Okay.  Okay. 

We have consensus of policies.

>> We have a lot of policies, laws.  We have, I think, very good legal frameworks.  I have looked at a couple of laws in different African countries.  I think we have them.  What we need to talk about is the implementation.  We need to evaluate these policies that we have.  Because if we evaluate the policies we already have, we would see the gaps.  Then all the reports that we regularly, you know, we would see them and then it would push, you know, the reforms, the amendments, and this sort of thing.  I think for me, Honorable and her have talked about this recommendation, when I was getting back to you, I think I pointed out all of that.  I want to say we need to reevaluate the policies we already have to look at reforms and maybe amendments and know the gaps.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Yes, you had something to say? 

>> Maybe we need the Ambassador to give us as well (?)


(audio skipping)

>> MODERATOR: Thank you.  The person online if the question can be read?  If not I would move to Dr. Mactar Seck.  And because we have the Honorable Minister here, I would like him to give a closing remark.

>> Thank you very much.  It was an exciting session.  We learn a lot during this session.  And we have also several ideas from this session.  The role of the commitment of the Government is very important.  And I'm sure as well as we need to focus on the infrastructure of the content development or skills because without this, in Africa, we have 2,200 languages.  And only a small percent of Internet. 

We are going to follow this session.  We have a table to respond to the digital gap and we have this digital ID, digital economy, we learn March of 2020 this year, the African intelligence.  Cybersecurity is very important for the continent because cybercrime costs 10% of our GDP and also we have several issues in the region.  Why we decide in collaboration with Government of Togo. 

We also adopt this Declaration this year to see how African country will fight against cybersecurity.  Yesterday, we launched the report on cybersecurity in the (?) and we'll learn the cybersecurity model guideline.  We are here to support all in the digital gap, we are working on that to develop a STEAM center.  And focused on the global issue ‑‑ all of the issues discussed here, we're going to rise it in the digital compact to have one voice for Africa.

As you know, for the Minister, it will be organized Ministerial Summit in 2023 under Global Digital Compact.  We need African countries to be there.  We'll support all African country to bridge this digital gap divide for achievement of the U.N. Sustainable Development 2030 and the African Union.  Thank you very much. 

>> MODERATOR: Thank you.  I hand over to the Honorable Minister for closing remarks.  I'm sorry. 

>> OUSMAN BAH: Thank you very much, everybody.  It is my first time attending such a meeting.  I think everybody that is here has something to take with them in terms of what is the next step.  We gather in some of the things and talk about initiatives, you know, a lot of great things.  At the end of the day, what do we do with it?  So I encourage everybody that is in this meeting or has attend this meeting from the notes you have gathered, and in writing, please share your email with everybody so that we can get some feedback on what's the next step from here.  And some recommendations.  We're also open to that.  I think that is very important.

Whenever we are in these meetings, it is important we have something to take with us to make good use of.  Thank you very much.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much Honorable Minister Ousman Bah, Minister of Digital Communication in Gambia.  We're grateful for you to attend this session.  We're grateful to all of the online participants and all participants here present.  My email and information is on the IGF website on this session.  And on behalf of colleagues from Jokkolabs Banjul that are here present for this session, it is a discussion that continues.

We have to discuss it.  We have to get our parliamentarians involved and our ministries involved and we have to take part in our national IGF.  When it exists, make sure you are part of this discussion.  That is the only way we can build an Africa and get solutions for the Global South in terms of aligning connectivity with the digital rights.  So thank you very much, have a blessed day.  See you soon.