IGF 2022 Town Hall #67 Growing a New Cadre of Tech Diplomats

Tuesday, 29th November, 2022 (13:15 UTC) - Tuesday, 29th November, 2022 (14:15 UTC)
Caucus Room 11

Round Table - U-shape - 60 Min


One of the escalating factors contributing to the fragmentation of the internet is that governments, still adapting to the technology ecosystem, are often dealing with emerging issues discretely and in isolation from each other, seizing short-term gains at the expense of long-term security, stability and prosperity. As technology converges with all aspects of policy, governments cannot afford to treat its role in foreign policy as an afterthought. Tech foreign policy is a key part of any country’s hard and soft power on the international stage and to participating in and benefitting from global coalitions such as the Declaration on the Freedom of the Internet. A handful of countries have already taken the lead on addressing this challenge either through appointing tech, digital or cyber-ambassadors, creating dedicated teams for tech foreign policy, and drafting tech-focused foreign policy strategies. By leveraging these measures, governments gain a competitive advantage over those who are yet to adopt them. Africa, Latin America and other LMICs, have yet to develop a cadre of tech ambassadors who can fully represent their countries’ interests and are losing the opportunity to have their voice heard in tech geopolitics. For most, integrating tech into their foreign-policy strategies requires significant upgrades to their structures, institutions and personnel. Knowing how to build the structures to engage in tech geopolitics seems like a daunting task that is secondary to other pressing issues. In this session, we will explore the steps that African and LMICs can take to build their tech foreign policy capacity, the pathways that can be taken to an approach that suits their country’s aspirations and capacity, as well as draw on the experiences of tech ambassadors who have utilised their tech foreign policy capabilities to increase their profile and reach as a tech power.

Both online and onsite participants will have access to the written reports in advance of the session to be able to bring questions in advance, but the session will also include a brief overview of the report and the recommendations to ensure everyone is up to speed. This will be followed by the expert speakers sharing their experience of implementing/obstacles to working in this field. The moderator will invite key questions via sli.do for open discussion and knowledge exchange.


Tony Blair Institute for Global Change
Sinit Zeru, Tony Blair Institute, Technical Society, Africa Melanie Garson, Tony Blair Institute, Technical Society, Western European and Others Daouda Lo, Tony Blair Institute, Technical Society, Africa Rosanna Fanni, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Technical Society, Western European and Others


Daouda Lo Head of Tech - Senegal TBI Think Tank, Africa André Xuereb Ambassador for Digital Affairs Government of Malta WEOG Andrea Renda (or other LATAM expert) CEPS/Government LATAM country Think Tank/Government (WEOG/Latin America)

Onsite Moderator

Sinit Zeru

Online Moderator

Melanie Garson


Rosanna Fanni



Targets: Building a new cadre of tech diplomats in Africa and other LMICs will not only enable these countries to prevent internet fragmentation through more informed participation in internet global governance (SDG 16:8). This in turn actively contributes to SDG 9 Building a Resilient Infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation. Tech diplomats are a vital part of the tech ecosystem creating opportunities for investment into local tech ecosystems and participating in global conversations from cybercrime to AI governance that helps countries be at the forefront of accessing new tech and ICT infrastructure. Further, the exchange with tech diplomat practitioners from the Global North can contribute to establishing a network of experts with mutual interests and North-South, South-South and triangular knowledge sharing mechanisms (SDG 17.6)