IGF 2022 WS #401 Strengthening African voices in global digital policy

Thursday, 1st December, 2022 (10:45 UTC) - Thursday, 1st December, 2022 (12:15 UTC)
Caucus Room 11

Organizer: DiploFoundation and Geneva Internet Platform



  • Amr Aljowaily | Strategic Advisor to the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission - possibly online
  • Anne-Rachel Inné | Regional Director for Africa, International Telecommunication Union
  • Jovan Kurbalija, Executive Director, Diplo
  • Barrack Otieno, dotAfrica Foundation 



Mwende Njiraini, African Initiative Coordinator, Diplo

Online Moderator

Bojana Kovac, Diplo


Katarina Bojovic, Head of Knowledge Ecology, Diplo


Round Table - Circle - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

What are the digital policy priorities of Africa (at a national, regional and continental level)? To what extent are these priorities reflected in Africa’s engagement in international digital governance processes? How is the region represented in such processes? What should African countries and regional and continental organisations do to strengthen their involvement in international digital governance processes and ensure their interests are represented there?

Connection with previous Messages: This session builds on one of the IGF 2021 Messages which underscores the importance of ‘inclusive and multistakeholder [Internet governance processes] where the interests of all actors can be addressed’. It takes the debate on this issue further by making the case for a more active involvement of African actors in international digital governance processes, and exploring concrete suggestions on how to achieve this.


9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Targets: As mentioned, the session will explore suggestions on how to broaden African digital diplomacy footprint in international processes, with a focus on those dealing with access and infrastructure, cybersecurity, AI and data governance. A more active participation of African countries and their stakeholders in such processes could contribute to them being better prepared to work on achieving SDGs such as those under SDG9.


Africa needs stronger voices in global digital governance. This is not the case today. As of June 2022, no African country has a readily available digital foreign policy strategy. And there is little active involvement from the region in international negotiations on digital rules. There is, however, more vibrancy when it comes to the participation of the African technical community and civil society in processes such as the IGF and ICANN. The session will look into how to strengthen African digital voices globally, by leveraging what already exists, while developing digital foreign policies for countries, regions, and the overall continent.

It will start by exploring the digital policy priorities of African countries and their involvement in global digital governance processes. In doing so, the session will build on in-depth study titled ‘Stronger digital voices from Africa’, to be published in September 2022. The study analyses the current participation of African countries, companies and communities in technical, intergovernmental and other global processes focused on digital policy issues.

After looking at the current situation, the discussion will provide practical insights and suggestions on why and how to broaden African digital diplomacy footprint in international processes, with a focus on those dealing with access and infrastructure, cybersecurity, AI and data governance. In brief, the session will outline the picture of Africa’s involvement in international policy processes in the digital realm by identifying existing building blocks and missing pieces for African digital diplomacy. It will then propose practical steps for the development of African digital diplomacy by strengthening the voices of national and regional actors in global digital diplomacy.

Expected Outcomes

A set of concrete recommendations on how to broaden African digital diplomacy footprint in international processes.

Hybrid Format: The session will rely on two experienced moderators who will – throughout the entire session – pay equal attention to onsite and online participants, ensuring that questions and comments from both audiences are treated equally. Online participants will be constantly encouraged to contribute their views, both by voice and by text chat. An additional experienced online moderator will engage with participants in the chat and ensure that the discussions happening there are integrated into the overall session. Moreover, onsite participants will be encouraged to log into the online participation platform and interact with the online participants as well. Last, but not least, some of the sessions’ speakers may be joining online only.

Online Participation


Usage of IGF Official Tool.