IGF 2022 Open Forum #42 Launch of the I&J in the African Union Report

Round Table - U-shape - 60 Min


In 2021, the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network, with the support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), embarked on a two year project with the primary objective to frame, map and address cross-border digital policies for Africa. This project builds on the outcomes of the African Union Commission and Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network Regional Conference 2020 which addressed transnational and regional legal challenges in cyberspace, emphasizing the value of multistakeholder cooperation to enable digital transformation. The event also saw the regional consultation on the future of the UN Digital Cooperation Architecture (Recommendation 5) in the context of the United Nations Secretary General High Level Panel Report on Digital Cooperation and in cooperation with the Government of Germany in its role as UN champion.

The proposed IGF open forum will set the perfect stage to formally launch and share the findings of the key milestone for the project, the African Union Regional Status Report. It is based on Knowledge Dialogue workshops with key African digital policy stakeholders, data collection interviews and surveys which showcase topical trends, themes, challenges and opportunities related to cross-border digital policies for Africa.

The Report provides evidence on the current status quo among African Union member states with the aim to advance the capabilities of the African Union Commission to develop and regulate interoperability among member states. The community-driven development of the Report allowed to formalize and expand an already existing group of experts in the silo-breaking I&J Global Knowledge Network with a particular emphasis on the involvement of African actors to amplify their perspectives and to provide the needed substance and learning materials for facilitating human-centric capacity development.

The open forum will present relevant findings on what information is needed to develop interoperable policy and regulatory frameworks for the digital 21st century, support the evolution of a digital single market, and contribute to Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the UN Roadmap for Digital Cooperation.

Draft Agenda

0:00 - 15:00 min
Introduction & Welcome

15:00 - 25:00 min
Presentation of the findings of the African Union Regional Status Report & introduction to the planned learning modules

25:00 - 50:00 min
Discussion of the Report findings through the lens of the four open forum questions

50:00 - 60:00 min

Open forum questions:

1. How can African actors influence global governance agendas and outcomes in the interests of the continent and specifically to ensure the realization of global digital public goods? What opportunities are there for developmental data value creation?

2. Should countries without the prerequisites for data centers such as capital, suitable climate, reliable electrical power, high speed data connections and the like partner with other African countries to efficiently create continental infrastructure?

3. Acknowledging that African countries are at different stages of data readiness, what core areas and issues should be the focus of harmonization objectives for the continent in order to create a developmentally driven common digital market?

4. How can a trusted environment for value creation from data be created? How can the objectives of data protection and public value creation from both personal and non-personal data be aligned?

Knowledge dialogues and Synthesis report
- https://www.internetjurisdiction.net/event/2nd-cross-border-digital-pol…
- https://www.internetjurisdiction.net/uploads/pdfs/IJPN_RIA-Cross-Border…

Video: Cross-Border Digital Policies for Africa
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RKs_e01z9A

- Open discussion and impressions with practitioners and key stakeholders on the report findings
- Introduction to the planned learning modules developed as a result of the Report.
- Further engagement of the African I&J knowledge community that actively contributed to the findings of the report

Relation to 2021 IGF messages
The Katowice IGF 2021 related Messages related to this workshop include Economic and social inclusion and human rights; Emerging regulation: market structure, content, data, and consumer rights and protection; Inclusive Internet governance ecosystems and digital cooperation; and Trust, security, stability.


Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network
- Johannes Wander - GIZ/BMZ
- African Union Commission


- Kamugisha Kazaura, Director for Infrastructure and Development, African Union Commission - IN PERSON
- Julia Hannig, Head of Cooperation – African Union, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany Addis Ababa IN PERSON
- Didier Nkurikiyimfura, Director of Technology and Innovation, Smart Africa
- Jean-Paul Adam, Director, Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resource Management Division IN PERSON
- Alison Gillwald/ Andrew Rens - Research ICT Africa IN PERSON
- Martin Hullin, Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network IN PERSON

Onsite Moderator

Tracy Sinkamba Faustin, Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network

Online Moderator

Benjamin Akintunde Akinmoyeje, Namibia University of Science and Technology


Joshua Joshua, Research Assistant, Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network - Cross Border Digital Policies for Africa


17. Partnerships for the Goals

Targets: How to handle the coexistence of heterogeneous laws on the cross-border internet is one of the greatest policy challenges of the 21st century. It has grown to be even more prevalent since the COVID-19 crisis has shown how dependent our lives have become on the emerging digital backbone of our societies. Yet, scalable and coherent policy solutions cannot be developed without a comprehensive understanding of a highly complex and interdependent ecosystem composed of multiple actors, initiatives, and trends across the policy silos of the digital economy, human rights, and security. Without international cross-silo cooperation, the risk of unintended consequences becomes a considerable risk affecting the global south disproportionally.

The need to find suitable solutions for these challenges has also been identified by the global community as highly pressing, and the UN SG Report on Digital Cooperation and the resulting Roadmap with its 8 Key Areas of Action are both the framework for action and a source of inspiration for this project. In addition, the project also intends to enable the sharing of cutting-edge expertise, foster policy coherence, and make a critical contribution to shaping an inclusive future of this policy field, directly contributing to implementing SDGs 8, 9, 16, and 17 (economic growth, industry and innovation, peace and justice, partnerships regarding new digital challenges and opportunities).