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.
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: We'll probably just give a few minutes. Thank you for the online participants for joining us very promptly. And then we should be ready to start.
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: Welcome to everyone. We are just waiting for those ‑‑ a few more people to join us and our ‑‑ I'm one presenter.
>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: I suggest that we start.
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: Yeah. Thank you everyone for joining us this afternoon on the workshop on strengthening African voices in digital ‑‑ global digital policy, workshop 401. I believe we are all in the right room. So if you looked at the workshop aims, strengthening African voices in global digital policy, we will be looking at the outcome of research document that was published by Diplo in September. We have a few copies. But the document is available online on the Diplo website. We have with us panelists from Africa as well as Diplo as well as representatives from the UN special agency for ICT. Anne‑Rachel will be joining us. She is the lead for Addis Ababa for the African region. We have with us Barrack is a Diplo alum and is also the Chair for the African network ‑‑ African Foundation. Apologies. Online we have Dr. Jovan Kurbalija, who is Executive Director of the DiploFoundation.
And Amr who is a strategic advisor who will be joining us online, I believe, the strategic advisor to the deputy chairperson of the African Union Commission. So we have ‑‑ we have apologies from the rest of the discussants. But we will start to save on time. I will give you an opportunity not just to listen but also to interact and ask questions.
So we'll basically have three questions that we will be looking at. And I'll give the opportunity first to Amr to answer the questions. The first question is with regards to what are the digital policy priorities for Africa, whether it is national or regional or ‑‑ we are all aware that Africa is ‑‑ has many strategic ‑‑ strategy documents, policy documents and they are all available at various stages of implementation.
Then No. 2, what are the priorities that we are looking at so that when we are engaging at international fora such as Internet Governance Forum, whether it is at the UN General Assembly, whether it is at the ITU Council, what are the priorities that are African countries should be looking at and should consider.
And how is the region represented.
>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: Could you be a bit louder because colleagues in Ghana cannot hear. Maybe a bit just louder, please.
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: Thank you. Can you hear me now?
>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: I can hear you well. But in Ghana cannot hear you and Jean Paul. You can try. Go ahead.
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: Okay. Okay. The third question is what should African countries and regional, continental organizations do to strengthen the involvement in the digital governance process for African countries ensuring that we are not just participants. And we are counted in terms of numbers present in the room, but actually contributing to the discussion at this international fora.
So I'll give the first opportunity to Amr who is joining us online. If you can hear me.
>> AMR ALJOWAILY: Yes, I can hear you well. Thank you, Moderator.
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: Fantastic. I know you need to rush off for other meetings. Just go through the questions and give us your opinion and how we as Africans can actively participate in global digital discussions. Thank you. Welcome.
>> AMR ALJOWAILY: Thank you very much, dear Moderator. I would like to start by thanking my dear friend Dr. Jovan Kurbalija for the invitation to speak. I actually had to step out of the meeting to quickly address you. But I was very keen to participate in this session.
You have mentioned my current affiliation. However I'm speaking more in my personal capacity since I know there are other colleagues from the African Union who will address the technical issues.
I will basically speak from my experience as one of the African negotiators of the World Summit on Information Society that took place in Geneva and in Tunis 2003‑2005. If we are speaking about increasing the African voices in the global digital governance we can divide the Forums that discuss these issues in it three Forums. One is the Intergovernmental track. The second is the multi‑stakeholder track. And the third is the private sector Civil Society track, we can call it the non‑Governmental track.
And in order for us to reflect on making sure that Africa's voice is well present in issues related to global governance on the Internet and cyberspace and all ICT dimensions we need to address how Africa's voice can be well represented in those three tracks. If you are speaking about the Intergovernmental track there is obviously the UN, which has in particular the first Committee discussing information communication technology in the context of international security which has the second General Assembly Committee about economic and development issues. And the third committee which is on Human Rights and humanitarian and social affairs. And it is very important that Africa's voice be well represented through the African Group of Ambassadors in New York and maybe even elsewhere in the seats of multilateral organizations. But this is also within a larger platform what Africa coordinates its positions with the larger Developing Countries representation, particularly the online movements. And that particular dimension, I think is well matured to be explored and to be further reinforced.
In multi‑stakeholder platforms and one of them is actually taking place in Africa right now in Addis where I'm krntly residing the Internet Governance Forum we probably need to think creatively about how to establish multi‑stakeholder coalitions that not only further Africa's interest and voices, but also attempts to enlarge its space of cooperation to include other Developing Countries.
So African multi‑stakeholder platforms with maybe Latin America multi‑stakeholder platforms with maybe Asian one, may be a replica do. On the multi‑stakeholder realm. Thirdly, within the private sector that's for of a challenge. Maybe Africa and other Developing Countries do not have the same presence of large private sector companies and also cross‑national and transnational Civil Society Organizations which would reflect and defend and promote Africa's voice in that space. And within that track.
So I would, you know, share that perspective that I think I felt more or less personally firsthand at the World Summit on Information Society in 2003‑2005, but that still remain as relevant today as it was 20 years ago. It is important to start from a solid base. And that solid base can be the Tunis and Geneva outcomes where you will find that it was very clear that African countries and other Developing Countries establish very, very well that the Information Society should be development oriented.
Please, please, revisit Tunis. Revisit Geneva and see how the negotiators from the G77 and in particular maybe from Africa had well established and anchored development oriented terminology concepts and underpinnings of the Information Society, something that we need to start from rather than start scratch from zero. I hope that quick intervention is basically a real reflection of how, you know, committed I was to participate in this session. Diplo always offers creative platforms and ideas that well ahead of the curve. So I thank Diplo again and Dr. Jovan Kurbalija for the invitation and our Moderator. For the rest of the session I will remain there silent because I have to utilize the benefits of ICT and the Information Society in trying to multi task a little bit. I thank you once again.
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: Thank you so much, Amr for taking the time to join us today. I trust you will keep, you know, listen and hopefully answer questions directed to yourself.
I would like now to invite Dr. Jovan Kurbalija, Executive Director of DiploFoundation just to give us the background of the ‑‑ I believe the document and the report that was done on strengthening digital voices from Africa. So Dr. Jovan Kurbalija, please. Maybe answer one of the first questions which is what are the digital policy priorities for Africa, Africa should consider. And then I'll give also the opportunity to Barrack and then possibly No. 2 is are these policies reflected in policy documents in Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria at the African Union level at the regional and economic institutions such as Sadac or ECOWAS. So I'll give the opportunity first to Dr. Jovan Kurbalija. And then Barrack you can jump in, thank you.
>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: Thank you. Thank you very much. It is great to be at this session. And thank you for Ambassador Amr Aljowaily for providing historical context. You probably do not know that he is one of the peers who wrote the text back in 1995 and just State Department establish website.
And he was the negotiator. And I think you are very, very fortunate to have Amr with you in Addis at the African Union. I'm going to answer your questions. But I'm also going to leave some space for you to explore the outer study. What I'm going to do is to basically provide you context of why we started this study with help of Swiss Government. The question was are African voices heard in global digital policy.
And the answer, the short answer is they are not as much as they should be. But exactly this IGF in Addis Ababa and quite a few hubs Ghana, Abuja are a good example that IGF Africa is going to have a stronger voices in the future of digital policy.
Therefore, congratulations for this context. I will go just quickly through the study and answer the question that you pose about our findings of study which took almost one year and interviews with close to 100 people from the ministries of foreign affairs, businesses, Civil Society, researchers and academia in African countries. Good news is that digital ‑‑ bad news is that Africaen voices are not strongly heard in negotiation in the first Committee or in the UN, in New York, Geneva and other bodies.
They are not ‑‑ it is not the case that they are not existing. There are inputs and voices but they do not reflect the not only the size of the continent in terms of the population, people resources but in particular future opportunities that are ahead of Africa in digital reality.
Therefore, that's sort of good news in a way is delayed start. Because the many countries are trying to develop digital diplomacy strategies, foreign policy strategies. There are less than ten countries worldwide, including Switzerland, Netherlands, Australia, France, Denmark. Therefore, African countries can learn on the ways how to ‑‑ how to develop it.
Let me just share a screen with you on the ways how it can be ‑‑ how it can be done and what are the basically main findings of this study. I hope that you can just somebody can say yes, if you can see the study on the screen as it is shared.
Is it seen clearly?
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: Yes, we can see it.
>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: Okay. Let me go quickly through the study to answer your question. It has 206 pages. And French version which is also available. My colleagues can share the link on French version is even longer. Therefore, as we are reading together this study, here is the table of contents that can provide you and then I will focus on a few points that are particularly relevant. The first question is about global trend digital foreign policy and diplomacy. As you know there is unfortunately some sort of digital code word in making. And it shapes the space and place in which Africa has to contribute to a global digital policy. There are in particular the digital tensions between two main digital super powers, China and United States. But also other countries are basically joining this sort of competition.
Africa has to position itself smartly in order to be aware of the dynamics in geopolitics but to maximize on development potentials and avoid some risks that are inevitable. What did the elements of digital foreign policy in Africa? First what we noticed in our study is that Africa needs wholistic approach. Not only Africa I would say but in particular Africa because it needs to activate all possible resources for representation.
Governments, diplomatic service, Government, other ministries of but business community, academia, technology experts. The reason is that issues, there are more 50 issues on digital policy. And very few countries I would say, maybe a few big countries can follow those issues in‑depth. Many other countries are struggling to find resources, to find the people, who can represent them in let's say AI, data, and many, many raising issues in digital policy. Therefore the first point and for that Internet Governance Forum could be useful tool. Africa needs to maximize on all available resources within the country. The Diaspora. There are people who are involved in this processes. And they should be digital diplomats of Africa in Internet Governance Forum, standardization bodies and other places.
Here I'm going quickly through this sub standation approach. Here you can see how many statements on digital Africa made in UN General Assembly. When your Heads of State deliver speech and what was the focus on it.
Therefore the study is or inSecurity Council. And here are a few priorities that we identify. In addition to access, more connectivity, Africa is particularly focusing on cybercrime. Many statements of African countries, Kenya, Ghana in the Security Council focus on cybercrime and protection, in particular women and youth as the digital is used for their attacks on the harassment of the most vulnerable parts of the society.
Here is the analysis of participation of African and Internet Governance Forum. I'm going through the few main points. And then we analyze digital infrastructure. We said okay, how is Africa connected. What are the cables? What are the sort of cable infrastructure that connects Africa to the rest of the world? And here we came to a few interesting, interesting points. Here is basically the map of the cable. I'm sure you are familiar with. And you can see how your respective countries are connected to the Internet.
Those are the most important. And most vulnerable parts of Internet infrastructure. Cutting of the cable, reduce speed and sometimes remove country from the Internet. What is my suggestion after this event, after this discussion, you can ‑‑ we'll share this link. Go to this map. And see how Ghana, how Nigeria, how countries who are with remote participation, how you are connected to the Internet. Let's say Nigeria we have connection here from Lagos to the few networks or Djubiti is extremely extremely part or Egypt between Alexandria and the Suez canal. The first conclusion was Africa is moving well. It is not yet there. But there are more and more cables, there are more and more connections.
The problem is how to connect continent within itself. How to make the links. And here we analyze the potential use of satellites and other features. In this study you have in‑depth analysis of strategies, national strategies on digital infrastructure and all other issues which are in the focus. Cables, you see that are connecting Africa. Around Africa terrestrial cables that are going across the African continent. You then have ‑‑ and I will go quickly back to the summary. You will have then question of Human Rights. How is Africa represented in Human Rights discussion? Here in Geneva, I'm connecting now from Geneva but also from the regional level. What about cybersecurity, Child Online Protection, this is one of the priorities of African countries. What about Digital Economy when it comes to e‑commerce? AFriday ‑‑ most of African countries are still in wait and see mode when it comes to WTO e‑commerce negotiation.
It is trying to get more involved in taxation within OECD negotiation to get basically taxes from revenue that big companies are making from uses in Africa. It is on frontier technologies moving slowly on AI and quantum computing. It is also doing rather well on sociocultural issues. More issues on digital identity with all complexity. This part of the study and then we have question of Africa and geopolitics and geoeconomics. What are the initiatives of U.S., China and European Union.
You can see quite elaborate cooperation with European Union, with the ‑‑ with many, many initiatives, especially recently. There are quite a few initiatives. But when you click on that, you can see really detailed analysis of European Union initiatives in Africa.
And also other countries. What is important to keep in mind is that this study is done in‑depth with 500 references, documents that were collected during this study. We want really to go, you see how is different initiative of European Union, investment packages, then United States, China and the other ‑‑ and India as the main actors.
What we also did since there is no African digital policy strategy yet, we haven't identified. Maybe speakers will correct us. We found the elements of digital foreign policy and diplomacy in specific national strategies on the question of connectivity, cybersecurity, data and other issues. And generally speaking, Africa is relatively well covered with strategies. Digital strategies. But the main challenges their implementation.
And that's basically one of our ‑‑ one of our findings. Africa is also not yet enough represented in standardization processes in Geneva. There are very few African mainly from South Africa. And the Senegal and a few other countries who are basically Chairs of the sessions in the negotiations.
And you will see at the end we analyze eight countries, Rwanda, Senegal, Namibia, Cote D'Ivoire and ‑‑ let me see. This is Nigeria. Yep. Nigeria. South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. Therefore we analyze their participation in digital policy since these countries are often consider more active than other countries in the digital policy.
In brief and with that I will conclude the study argues that Africa needs to learn from the other actors, from other countries, Developed Countries, but it cannot just copy and paste the solutions that are developing in other countries. It has to develop its own solutions. In order to maximize all available resources for the representation of African interest in negotiation.
Definitely whole of government approach is needed. But also whole of society. And here Internet Governance Forums on national regional, subregional level can play an important role. It has also ‑‑ Africa has to put higher digital issues on their foreign policy, including African Union. It has to prioritize engagement with specific digital governance processes. You cannot cover all 50 issues.
But some sort of smart sharing of tasks and focus is useful. And Africa has obviously took a prioritize economic development considerations. And it has to also coordinate its position and policies in international digital negotiation.
What we note what was missing is research capacities and academic programs in the field of diplomacy. Regional organizations have to start developing capacities in this field. And training. Training for diplomats. For African diplomatic services. We did it in Namibia and Rwanda and they are planning it now with a few more countries. But one conclusion is the task is enormous. Africa voices needs to be heard not only for African interest, but even I would say more for stable, safe and prosperous Internet. Because without Africa as a continent which is moving so fast in digital field, global Internet and global digital space won't be stable and prosperous. To do that you can start moving immediately with training capacity building and other resources, including resources at Diplo offered Mwende is running a portal on African diplomacy that you can see on the screen. And through Diplo sources. More than 50 students wrote their thesis on the African studies. Let's start this important journey of strengthening African voices in digital diplomacy and foreign policy. Your role whether you are a diplomat or technology specialist or businessman or Civil Society activist will be important. Over to you.
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: Thank you so much for your exciting ‑‑ it is always very exciting to be engaged with DiploFoundation because I think what we produce is really what the stakeholders require. So I will move to Barrack and ask the same questions. And probably maybe you can extend how are we as Africans participating in global policy discussion, international discussions, regional discussions? Because we have excellent policy documents. We have excellent regulations. Maybe they do not have all of them, the concept of international and international foreign policy or diplomacy element. They could be in various documents and that's what the research did identify.
But in your experience with various organizations in Africa and now with dot Africa foundation, maybe you could look at how can we not just be represented but actually meaningfully engage in the discussion. Thank you.
>> BARRACK OTIENO: Thank you very much. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, everybody who is following online. My name is Barrack Otieno and I'm a Diplo alumni for purposes of this session and a proud one at that.
Let me first start by acknowledging and appreciating the work that DiploFoundation has been doing on the African continent. It is important that I cite the history before making my point so that we can really see the real issues that we need to tackle.
I think sitting beside my teacher when I did my first Diplo course, Mwende Nijraini, and you will judge me at the end of the presentation whether she did a good job.
But just to say that the fact that I am sitting here is a testament of what these programs are able to do. And we've come a long way of as the African continent. Permit me to mention a bit of history, when we are reflecting on this subject of Africa's digital policy. I think the initial group or team of Africans those who went ahead of us, who started participating in the Internet Governance conversations were very active in the WSIS processes in 2003. And it is interesting that in 2005 that's when we had a proper definition of the Internet Governance Forum which happened on African soil in Tunis. So I think Africa has played its unique role insofar as development of global Internet public policy is concerned.
We went on and I know many Africans who participated in the Working Group on Internet Governance processes in 2004, those who are active in from 2006 ‑‑ 2005 when the IGF Secretariat was created, I happened to have been an alumni or a fellow at IGF Secretariat. And my brief was very clear, when I went as a fellow, to come back and ensure that the Internet Governance Forum grows on the African continent. And that with lessons that I picked from DiploFoundation and the good mentorship from the Secretariat and the markers in Chengetai at that particular time we were able to do a good job. And I'm glad we have an Internet Governance Forum on African soil which is a testament of how far we have come.
In 2009 I think we hosted the IGF in Sharm‑el Sheikh. In 211 in Nairobi, Kenya. And in 2022 we are in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Meaning we have come a long way.
The issues that Jovan raises are very important. In the process of involving the Internet Governance movement on the African continent there has been a bit of focus on ‑‑ we started with Government. But along the way I think we lost a bit of steam and there was more effort from Civil Society actors and the technical community which was all good because some of the priorities that I will cite needed to be tackled by all stakeholders from the different players in the multi‑stakeholder ecosystem. And initially there was really nothing that would keep us in a room discussing digital policy, but now we have a lot in terms of infrastructure that is making us to discuss digital policies.
Back to the question that the Moderator asked on priorities for Africa, before I proceed, I think in my humble opinion literacy remains a key priority. And I say literacy, and then I will put in brackets digital literacy. I think without a critical mass of citizens that are consuming services and products on the Internet value chain, there might be no need for frameworks at national and international level that regulate the Internet Governance or the Internet ecosystem. And I think literacy is a fundamental issue. This is an area that DiploFoundation has focused over the years, even to build a critical mass of actors who are shaping public policy insofar as Internet policy is concerned. The other issue is an enabling framework or legal or regulatory framework. If we look at successful case studies on the African continent, you will find one of the initial efforts that went in to ensuring that there is a digital ecosystem was a legal framework. In Kenya we have the Kenya information and communications act. I'm sure many other African countries have this act. But I think it is one thing to have this act or these documents. It is another thing to put them in to use.
And the challenge that I want to give to my brothers and sisters from the African continent and all the players I think we have always been told if you want to hide something from an African you keep it in a book. Maybe that explains the reason why we have a lot of strategies and a little structure or effort on the ground. But I'm glad that now we have more Africans who are actually reading and interrogating the issues that are in the books. And they are actually writing books that shape the narrative on the continent.
The other issue is suitable regulatory frameworks tied to the legal ecosystems. And I'm glad that most of our regulators in Africa have ensured that at least we have regulation that makes sure that Internet users or citizens are not taken advantage of. And ensure there is trust in the Internet ecosystem. Supportive policies, we have seen an uptick of a lot of ‑‑ we have seen communities of practice coming up on the African continent. Because there are many stakeholders where they ‑‑ with the international actors or Governmental agencies that are actually maturing these environments and ecosystems. I was a beneficiary of CD multi, a Diplo program that I believe was aimed at strengthening African voices in global digital policy. I think there was over 50 from small and developing eye land states. And many countries in the Developed World.
And we basically spent after studying spent quite a bit of time within the Geneva diplomatic ecosystem and able to understand how digital policy among other policies are negotiated at the global diplomatic capital. And I think those are really crucial issues that we need to continue pushing.
Again we need open infrastructure in Africa. There is no one piece of technology that is able to address all the problems on the African continent. So we have to embrace open, free and open software and open infrastructure that takes in to cognizance the different economic strengths of different economic ‑‑ of different communities in Africa. And more importantly we need innovation so we are not just bringing in infrastructure that was designed and built for other regions which crumbles as soon as you put it in places where there is harsh weather. Africans need to make sure they have involved in design of their infrastructure. And the other point is the infrastructure should be affordable. Last but not least, communities of practice are key. One of the things that I have done with the knowledge that I got from DiploFoundation in the courses is to be part and parcel of many communities of practice that have come up in the African continent.
I have been involved in the Kenya Internet Governance Forum together with my colleague Judy there, and it is now in its 16th year. It was among one of the first national and regional initiatives. And from 2016 we started a program known as the Kenya school of Internet Governance aimed at bringing in new voices in to the conversation. Over 300 students have gone through this program. And they are serving different digital interests around the world.
Whether in private sector, in government, in Civil Society, or academia. And I must say that these are fruits of the initial seeds that were sown when this Internet Governance capacity building program has started. I had the privilege of being one of the instructors at the African Union, aimed at ensuring that more African citizens participate meaningfully and actively in the Internet Governance conversation and every African country has an Internet Governance process. We are moving slowly towards the strong African voices in digital policy. One of the think that I learned during the CD multi program when we were in Geneva is at times from Africa we only have one Delegate or two Delegates. And you find countries in the global north are bringing in 50 or a 100. And you can only negotiate so much against such a big team that's coming from another jurisdiction or another country. This is an important take‑away. Inasmuch as we have gotten the knowledge let's now build communities of practice that make sure we have strong Delegations to this international global meetings. I will stop at that. I have said so much. And I will come back when you give me another opportunity.
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: Thank you so much for the very insightful comments that you have made.
And I think the most important thing that you have mentioned is meaningful participation and engagement. And the idea as Africans we can participate in a Forum such as this or there are countries that are actually the ‑‑ that are members of the UN Security Council you have Delegates that attend WTO negotiations. But we are not counting numbers of people in the room. But actual meaningful participation and engagement.
I will now take the opportunity to invite questions, if we can have the conversation. We have time because some of our panelists are not here, unless they are online. I can be advised. If not ‑‑
>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: Just one question. I don't know if Adil from African Union is in the room, African Union Commission. I think he is the sort of together with people like Amr, Barrack one of the few people who carried this digital Internet Governance and Internet Governance narrative. I know he was busy in this session. But we can bring him to reflect on what he is doing if he is in the room.
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: Yes. Thank you for ‑‑ Adil, you cannot hide.
>> Adil: You also have Allison with us by the way. So she can also chime in. I think it's ‑‑ you guys are tackling so many points. But let me just step back and just look at it from the policymaker prospectives. What we are struggling with in the African Union Commission is the fact that we don't have the buy‑in from the policymaker when it comes to digital transformation and technology. And there is a lack of trust in this space. And I think this is one of the key impediments to making any advancement.
What we did when it comes to the IGF, for instance, at the African Union Commission, we launched as mentioned by my good friend Barrack we launched the Rita project. One of the components is to do with Internet Governance. We did a study where we looked at why Africans are not participating in the different fora, the technical or policy. And we come up with some recommendation. At the end of the study we realized we needed capacity. So we engage in the different communities, stakeholders, including diplomats, parliamentarians. And just the other stakeholders in the IG process.
Coupled with that also we looked at the structures the Member States. And from the study we found out that 23 countries in Africa never had any IG process. And we started working with those countries to make sure that they have the structures in place. And so far we are making progress. Only 7 countries left, we are also through 2023 to reach out to those countries. But it is still I think we need to think more about motivation for the policymaker. What is it that we need to do to motivate policymaker in terms of getting them involved. Because apparently there is friction. And we need to remove this friction to make sure that the uptick of digital, digital technology in Africa can move rapidly.
And I think some of these questions and ideas will just need to think about it and maybe come off with some recommendation. The African Union Commission we are open to ideas so that we can get this policymakers onboard. I think we did a good job when it comes to parliamentarians. We had now African parliamentarian networks. It has been launched in year during the African IGF in Malawi. They are here now. There is parliamentary tract. They are engaged in the process now. Through them we will make progress to make sure that the legislations when it comes to digital transformations, they are behind us.
For instance, when it comes to Malabo Convention they are working on it to get it ‑‑ to enter in to force through them. And advancement of like, for instance, our digital transformation strategy for Africa. I think this kind of session will just make us reflect and see how we can remove this friction. And get the policymaker on board. Because I think this is an important element we need to think what would be the motivation for them to be engaged because, of course, there is an issue of trust. There is an issue also of priorities.
How can we make the digital a priority for our policymakers. Because I think we will get few chances to approach them. When we approach them, we need to make sure that we send them the right message. So that we can get them onboard.
I don't know if we can ‑‑ I can move the mic to my colleague so that she can also add.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you very much, Adil. I suppose it is so much of the ground has been covered but perhaps to reflect on the sort of uneven participation of Africa in the Internet Governance Forum, and in, you know, various associated forms of global governance, I think, you know, I think we have seen enormous progress. The initiative of the African Union to lead and resources and drive the Internet governance Forum and Internet Governance from an African position has been significant. I think the also underlying global and structural things that make this very, very difficult to overcome. And I think it is reflected in the fact that at a meeting like this in Addis, third time only in Africa, there is a real force of African policymakers, decision makers, leadership on the continent. And I think this is, you know, has been a historical problem within the multi‑stakeholder model that we are using within the ‑‑ in terms of global governance more broadly but in the IGF.
And, you know, I think although there have been some challenges. And I think (Off microphone).
>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: We lost your voice.
>> AUDIENCE: Need for good view ‑‑ sorry, can you hear me?
>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: Yes.
>> AUDIENCE: I was saying even outside of Africa's lack of participation there has been a call for an assessment of the effectiveness of multi‑stakeholderism mainly because we got the sort of principle of multiple stakeholders participating but in fact, in different Forums that participation is very unequal and very often absent. And so in many of our countries, for example, we don't have a lot of Civil Society Organizations and mobilization on which to draw for, you know, multi‑stakeholder processes. And even though there is a commitment to that within this Forum, within the actual policy making processes, at the national level, there is not much consultation or inclusion of different sectors. A lot of the policy is actually very much driven from above, if it is driven at all.
And on the other hand, I think what is ‑‑ some people and this has been a critique that's come up in research, we have done ‑‑ we have argued about ‑‑ have argued that the multi‑stakeholder process as it is played out in the IGF has actually seen an overrepresentation of the private sector, in some instances. And an overrepresentation of Civil Society in some instances in which the same Civil Society people are representing whole messes of new generations of people, et cetera, at these meetings. There is some broader fleed for self‑reflection within forms like the IGF and what that multi‑stakeholderism means. While it is an important place for different stakeholders to represent their interests, to acknowledge that where policymakers are the outcome of dem kratic processes, these people do carry Democratic prerogatives that need to be brought on board. Actively seeking out Governments as part of this multi‑stakeholder movement, the kind of things that have happened within ICANN, and the sense at various times there is not enough Government representation to represent certain state interests and national interests is an issue. It is an issue when you don't have dem ‑‑ the assumptions of Democratic governance behind that make it more problematic. It is not uncomplicated and we have not addressed issues around trying to make that multi‑stakeholder a multi‑stakeholder in the first instance. And carrying that through in to a multi‑stakeholder process. Not a rhetorical thing. Participation in IGF is not a decision making body and people go home and it is made at the national level or something like that without deeper participation.
Thank you for that.
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: Thank you so much, Allison and Adil for the excellent contribution. I wanted to mention that if you have the opportunity, Adam ‑‑ sorry. There is a question.
>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: Hello?
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: Yes.
>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: You can take the question. This is just one illustration of what Barrack and a few colleagues mention of a small delegation negotiate with a big state delegation. But let me just quickly, quickly just pick up the few points from discussion in the chat which are very ‑‑ and what Allison and Adil indicated.
There is ‑‑ there are serious risks that if multi‑stakeholderism just uses slogan that can be misused and not contributed to inclusion. It is a question of inclusion ultimately. And that's a huge task for academic community, especially in Developing Countries to unpack this and to make meaningful participation which was mentioned on a few points. And what Barrack said it is extremely important is the question of communities of practice.
They build trust. What Adil mentioned is missing or what we heard from the hub in I think Abuja about lack of structures, lack of resources. It is not just the training, one‑off capacity building but it is institutional capacity building. Building African Union, national Governments. Universities, academia. Because that can only create sustainable impact. Training is very important. I'm very proud that we did in early days we put a lot of efforts in it. But sustainable impact is created through institutions. And on this point let me just make another important point, where multi‑stakeholderism, whatever you call it, is translated in to reality.
It is basically to have sufficient number of people to support your position when you negotiate in Europe, Geneva, Addis, whatever places are. Developed Countries are doing the same. They bring to delegation, Civil Society, technology companies academia. One untapped resource and I call African Union is to work on that is the Diaspora. African has a very powerful Diaspora at Universities worldwide. And they are ready to do something good for their country.
And involving them in to advising policymakers could be one way to overcome this sort of gap. Over to you, Mwende.
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: Thank you very much, Jovan for that contribution. We had one hand in the room. Thank you.
>> AUDIENCE: Hello. I'm from Poland. We have been dealing with mostly cybersecurity on different levels, technical. And that's why I'm interested in this panel as well.
I think that, you know, some kind of the call for cooperation for making the diplomacy could be very, very helpful. And I would like to ask you how can we cooperate with you to prepare some information about, you know, the things which are here in Africa. And because with the right field asking the question doesn't make ‑‑ can be not very efficient. So thank you for the ‑‑ for all this information which I have taken from this panel. They are very interesting and we hope will be fruitful. But I would like to ask you how ‑‑ what the countries from different continents can help you and keep the contact with you. And share the interesting information about, for example, cybersecurity or just IT outside of Africa.
And I think that can be a very good bridge. It can be a very good bridge. And we ‑‑ be more efficient. Thank you.
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: Thank you very much for the question. Maybe we could take just one more question in the room. If we have to questions, then I will quickly ask Barrack ‑‑ sorry.
>> AUDIENCE: Good afternoon everyone. My name is Ufa. I'm the global leader of digital grassroots. I'm also a Diplo alumni from 2019 when I took one of the courses. I want to add my view with regard to the conversation on how African voices can be strengthening meaningfully to global Internet Governance. For starters I think there needs to be a lot of heavy development from the grassroots. The young. There is not a lot of opportunity for them to fully understand what digital advocacy means and how they can effectively contribute. Almost every young person in the African region is connected online. We have Smartphones and we are able to use the Internet. However they do not really understand all the background work that goes in to ensuring the network works in an open and inclusive way. So I believe that if we want more voices in the African space from the African space in the global Internet Governance sector, we really need to focus highly on these young people. And that is something that our organization, digital grassroots focuses on to be able to engage these young people that ideally do not necessarily have all the knowledge because these are things that are not taught in schools. At the level of DiploFoundation they have been done on or higher education institutes, research and things like that. But now we are talking about the every day people, the young people that are on the streets.
The voices that needs to be included. Thank you very much.
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: Thank you very much for those questions. I will pass on to our Moderators, sorry. I'm the Moderator. Panelists. And maybe I'll start with Barrack and just the question on cooperation with other countries or organizations. As well as how can we utilize all other youth who I believe in Africa the youth that are under 35 are 70 or more percent of the entire population. So I'll give the question, if Amr is still with us online. And Dr. Jovan Kurbalija and Barrack.
>> BARRACK OTIENO: Thank you. I will start with a story. About four weeks ago we had the East African Internet Governance Forum in Arosha. And there was quite a strong delegation of members of Parliament and diplomats who attended the meeting. One of the participants ask whether there was any progress with regards to digital diplomacy in the meeting. But there was no answer because I don't think we had capacity in the room to be able to respond to that question. I suspect the question was directed to the Ambassador. But the Ambassador was also there to learn about Internet Governance and she was following very keenly. But I take this as an important step in us realizing our aspirations over strengthening African voices. I think we have done well with the members of Parliament as Adil has said but we are not there. Now the best thing about bringing the members of Parliament in to for was the creation of their own community of practice. The African parliamentary group on Internet Governance.
And now they are doing it themselves. They are reaching out to each other because previously you would find that experts who are not within communities of practice are the ones that would come to encourage people to embrace the Internet Governance conversation.
This takes me to the issue of youth again. And I think on the issue of youth it is incumbent on all of us who are Internet Governance actors in the room to be mentors. As I mentioned earlier, I think I have been a beneficiary of mentorship and all of us who are here can actually be able to mentor someone. Over the COVID‑19 period I was working in communities, building a community network. And, you know, for them to use the network, they really had to understand the Internet value chain. And we also had to make sure that they are the ones who are building and running the community network. It is called an Hari net. As I speak it is here and it is continuing to serve the community. Meaning that the mentorship paid off. The youth are passionate about using their hands to make things happen. And in most cases they have energy and they have interest, very inquisitive interest to make sure they convert technology in to use. I'm sure most of you in the room know if you give a small child a phone you need to give them 24 hours to figure out the pattern that you use to open that particular phone. That shows the inquizsiveness of young mind insofar as technology is concerned. We need to mentor the youth. We need to guide them structured processes which are these communities of practice.
Because I was able to learn about DiploFoundation because there was a community of practice which was the Kenya Internet Governance Forum that was in place. I learned the knowledge. I was able to practice. I got opportunities for fellowship at the Internet Governance for the Secretariat and I was able to use that skill to contribute in organization of the Internet governance Forum the fifth in Vilnius and sixth in Nairobi and subsequent fora. These efforts are not in vain. Even if we think we are not making any effort, or any strides, we need to move forward.
On the issue of partnerships as I conclude, again there is a lot of goodwill towards the African continent. I think because of the partnerships by DiploFoundation, six months ago I had a chance to meet diplomats from the Swiss Embassy from all the African countries. And speak to them about Internet Governance. And I believe that this ‑‑ they were very keen to understand the Internet Governance ecosystem in Africa. They are willing to work with stakeholders from the local communities to grow this conversation. I'm glad that our friend from Poland and yesterday I had many from the EU and different countries, are willing to extend their hand and share their knowledge with the benefit of ensuring that we have a global Internet that is secure, stable and resilient which I believe is the key purpose of the Internet Governance Forum.
Thank you, Mwende.
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: Thank you very much. Jovan if you have a comment or Amr if he is still with us.
>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: Check with Amr. But while we are waiting for him, let me quickly comment on what Barrack said. In a few points, especially community networks are very important. And it is related to the question about our former student and colleague, I forgot the name, who is involved in grassroots digital grass root movement. The real problem with digital or challenge or beauty of digital technology in Internet Governance is that it affects everyone. It can only be done by companies, diplomats. It is very local on impact on society, from families, individuals communities. And I just participated in an interesting discussion that community networks are crucial for the sustainability in the situation of natural disaster. Therefore this bottom‑up approach, bottom‑up diplomacy, grass root diplomacy is extremely important. It is representation of interest.
Group, state in some cases. But it is not just the state representation with the flags. It is also representation of communities. I would like to invite our colleague from grassroots movement to work more on it and please contact us. We are keen to help that bottom‑up. But I will just hear comment on buy‑in which Adil mentioned and Barrack as well. I was in Addis yesterday and delivered the course to parliamentarians. What really impressed me, Parliament tare yarns come in the morning and usually they disappear in the afternoon. They stayed actively involved for two days. One of the questions that was important was to explain them in something that they can relate to their practice, what it is all about.
No phrases. No big sort of slogans. And we, for example, showed them these cables. And said hey if there is a cable problem your country may be disconnected. You may not be able to talk to each other, this even all old telephone system is now run on VoiceOver IP. Then they realized, African parliamentary network group will start quite a few initiatives to see what they can do on the national level with Internet exchange points by answering the simple question they want to make sure their cities and companies are connected in case of not unthinkable disaster, cutting one of these submarine cables. Quite a few countries has submarines cables.
Second point our Polish friend indicated, I share one screen, we many, many drawings. And here is basically what is currently missing, not only in Africa but worldwide. There is ‑‑ there are no organization and institutions that can answer the phone calls. As a matter of fact there are, but people do not know who to call. In the famous key ‑‑ he ask whom to call when he needs to call Europe. This is a huge problem. And yet this morning I was at a session where one gentleman from I won't mention the country was a literal almost crying I need help on cybersecurity. Who can help me. I'm sorry Moderator and speakers are giving him a general answer. You go to Interpol. You go to ITU. But he needed concrete help. Even for Developed Countries. Phone calls are ringing from people being removed from Youtube, from cyberspace, cybersecurity attacks and nobody is answering the phone. That's something we can follow up from the community, the colleague from Poland. We have to help small and developing countries, but not only them, find a phone that they can call. Place where they won't get just empty answer or why you don't go to the ITU or Interpol. No.
What is your problem. Is it child safety? We will help you with this. There is this document to be drafted. This e‑mail to be sent. This policy paper to be prepared. We have to be more and more practical and concrete and in my view this is the main challenge. How to answer these calls. If you don't get it right in Africa and worldwide we are going to lose the trust, buy‑in and relevance of the international cooperation spaces, whether they are international organizations or IGF or regional. That's the main challenge I would say.
Over to you.
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: Wow, thank you so much, Jovan. Maybe I would ask our online Moderator Katarina, if there are any questions from our online participants. Sorry, I have no view of the online participants.
>> BOJANA KOVAC: Hello. There was one question in the chat room which is what is the motivation for students who would desire to be part of literacy and digital voice out. But are actively engaged in their normal studies. Also quite a few comments that it is quite expensive to engage without a structure to keep up the engagement. It will be a slow growth. And that the Government representatives and parliamentarians are not involved in many of our countries and that the next generation is the present and the future of the world.
But not just to talk, we have to work with on it as well. These were the comments in the chat room.
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: Thank you so much for those questions. I will invite Barrack and anybody in the room who has a comment on how to engage the next generation. As well as got the question correct, is it participation of Government officials engaging in the discussion. I might have missed something but if you did get it, please feel free to answer, Barrack.
>> BARRACK OTIENO: Yes. Thank you. And I will share from my experience working in the area of community networks.
The current generation, I think they prefer to call themselves GenZ they don't follow any particular structure for lack of a better word. But they are interested in the why. Why are we doing things in a certain way. In approaching them, that's why I mentioned the importance of mentorship, we need to be good role models. If it is in the area of Internet Governance or infrastructure, I realized that when I am in the field, probably doing training or giving instructions on what needs to be done, they don't listen to what I say. They look at what I do. And I think that is what I would say insofar as ‑‑ (Off microphone).
That's what I would say insofar as the issue I'm concerned. I think we need to start early and make sure that they have adequate infrastructure. We need policy frameworks that make sure that from the very beginning they are suitable infrastructure that provides the right knowledge to youthful people. If it is ‑‑ we have had a proliferation of what you call it, the innovation hubs, where young people are able to go and they are able to learn from their peers.
We've also seen a lot of proliferation, I don't know why I'm using that word. We have send a lot of coding schools also come up in our communities. And I think we just need to make sure that we have institutions. They have clear governance structures. And once the young people are part and parcel they know that from point A we will be able to move to point B and point C following this way. But still we should also allow room for disruption. That's my submission.
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: Thank you so much. I just wanted to recognize the work of one of our Diplo alumni from the Gambia. If you see all these young people in a black T‑shirt, he did an excellent job in facilitating, ensuring that you know where the room is. And just the work that followed from the Gambia has done to start with GenZ because that's the right place to start. So the next question maybe on the room and then yes. And then Adil. Thank you.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you so much for that. And I just want to thank the online speaker for bringing up the question of youth engagement and those also in school. I am the founder of digital grassroots. And we have been in this space for five years now since the IGF in Geneva 2017 and I would say that young people are already in involved the space. What is happening is that there is a big gap between what is happening on the high level and what is happening at the grassroots. For us as digital grassroots we have trained over 200 young people in over 40 countries with to core support. And that has only been possible through the innovation that young people have developed, we've collaborated and made networks in order to create our own tables. We are no longer interested in coming to the table to be tokens or to just volunteer. And not been taken as experts.
So that is to say many of our communities are young people who started in Universities, or who were just entering our youngest was as young as 16. And we have been able to work with a diversity of expertise. So really what I'm trying to say we are trying to overcomplicate things by saying we need policy or resources. It is really simple. It is a political will. Make space. As digital grassroots youth led and female led organizations, what I see is that in terms of connecting and creating those partnerships it is very extractive. As young people do not have the resources to engage at the same level as those who are being paid to be here. So we have to do much more work in order to be heard equally. And I just want to challenge everyone in this room that even if we are saying let's involve more youth, let's critically through our organizations have that space for collaboration equitably. Thank you.
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: Thank you very much. Adil.
>> Adil: Just a couple of thoughts come to mind from the discussion. I think it is all prompted by the colleague from Poland. And the response from Jovan. At the UN level there is a lot of discussion about confidence building measures. This is an area we need to invest at the national level so that at least, like it is going to be a person who is going to answer the phone. If we exchange contact information naturally and also cross‑border. So that, you know, there is going to be collaboration between African countries and Poland, for instance, when they know who to reach in the country for specific issue, cyber or what the issue is.
So I think need to invest more in confidence building at the UN level and the UN is doing a good job in the open‑ended Working Group, is working towards building this confidence. So that we can increase the uptick of digital technology.
The second thought I think we need to think critically of processes like the IGF. I think we need to think maybe five years from now what we ‑‑ the IGF would look like. We need to attract more stakeholders to these discussions. And we need to make it like when they are here, it is going to be worthwhile. Like as mentioned by somebody that is going to be ‑‑ is not only talk and then you go home. And you forget about what happened in Addis Ababa. We need to have some tangible recommendations and results that can be implemented on the ground. Thank you very much.
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: Thank you very much. We just have four minutes to go. If ‑‑
>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: Mwende, maybe just one suggestion, concrete suggestion to this excellent, excellent discussion. We six years ago organized the training exactly for youth at Amsterdam University College. And we put posters, you can see the program. We can share it. Posters in cafeteria explaining to students why digital matters for economics environmental science health, humanities, law, psychology, sociology. And every day there were posters in cafeteria, people come to eat and they were then listening for half an hour with experts covering all of these issues. All of these posters are available as creative commons like called Diplo's work. It can be relatively simple to print them, to put posters in the cafeteria and to energize people who do not study necessarily IT. Who study law. Psychology and other subjects to start doing research on interplay between their subject and digital. My suggestion to all young people whom I see in the hubs is to converse in this interplay. People who understand digital but also help with law. It is a very concrete suggestion. You can drop us an e‑mail. You can download the poster. And we don't have it as a special project but we have all of these facilities. I would advise donors if they are in the room to support this type of projects which are low cost, high impact project to energize young people to do research and to prepare themselves for the career that will matter. Over to you.
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: Thank you so much, Jovan. Maybe just if there are last questions on online ‑‑ from the online participants.
If not, I don't see any questions in the room. Maybe I will just give the next two minutes, one minute each, Barrack and Jovan for final comments ‑‑
>> Evidence that is collected is then admissible in court. Because, of course, that's absolutely crew sthal that the evidence can be used as part of the criminal proceedings if it is going to be able to support processes of attribution and accountability.
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: Sorry.
>> Now we just have a few minutes left. So I would like to open the floor back to ‑‑
>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: We got some other channel. But it is relevant. It is about courts. And ‑‑
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: Okay. Thank you. Yes. Relevant questions. Maybe Jovan, I would ask you to just make ‑‑ if you could project the building of Internet Governance issues and with final comments. If that's possible. Barrack if you could have your final comments and then we can end in the next one minute.
>> BARRACK OTIENO: Thank you. My final comments is let's maintain the tempo or keep the tempo. We have come so far and I think in this decade, the Internet and by extension digital technologies will enable Africa to actually be on par with our friends in the global north. And I think to be able to do this we have to strengthen our capacity which means we have to strengthen our voices. I don't think that you can speak about something that you don't know or you don't appreciate. And what's ‑‑ that's what this conversation is all about. And I believe that there is willingness as we have heard from the youth across all sectors to make sure that Africa plays its respective role in the global ecosystem. Thank you.
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: Thank you. Jovan.
>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: Just in a brief. Have a vision. Move forward. Don't be intimidated by terminology, by sort of traditional structures as our youth said. Have your say. You have a lot to contribute. But while having a vision where you want to go also try to make a first practical steps which would ‑‑ which are low hanging fruits, like organizing this research fairs at your Universities. And call for international organization donors and other actors especially from the global north is to have a smart interventions in helping this both grassroots and diplomatic parliamentarian engagement with a clear idea. It is not only about helping Africa to participate, it is about helping all of us to navigate this Internet Governance building and to make stable pros perrous Internet. Without dynamic African participation it won't be possible. Therefore it is not about Africa. It is about all of us.
>> MWENDE NJIRAINI: Thank you, Jovan, for your comments. I believe we go away with food for thought. The idea is not we accounted as we had ten Africans. We had four Africans but the African did say something. We invite you again to look at the document or the study that we have published. And I believe rather than have numbers that we shall actually have meaningful conversations. Half our contribution is in text, various, what, reports, strategies, recommendations, Resolutions. And we look forward to your continued participation and engagement with us as DiploFoundation. We have a booth at the village. But also just go online. We have numerous resources which as Jovan has mentioned are available for you for free to share when you go back home. So thank you to you who are here in Addis and those online in various hubs from all over the world. Have a fantastic and lovely evening.
>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: Thank you.