IGF 2023 Open Forum #110 UNECA Role in the Internet Ecosystem in Africa

Thursday, 12th October, 2023 (01:15 UTC) - Thursday, 12th October, 2023 (02:45 UTC)
WS 4 – Room B-1

Digital, Media, and Information Literacy
Gender Digital Divide
Skills Building for Basic and Advanced Technologies (Meaningful Access)

Round Table - 90 Min


The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) through its Innovation and Technology section has promoted inclusiveness in its program that fosters on bridge the digital divide among various countries in the Region. In doing so the UNECA supported and facilitated the formation of the Africa IGF and has continuously supported the growth of the African IGF since inception at the end of the Global IGF in Nairobi in 2011. The First African IGF took place in Cairo the following year in 2012. UNECA programs in Innovation and Technology has evolved to deal with issues around Internet Governance domain from the WSIS Process, Capacity Building, Cyber security, Infrastructure, Digital Identity, Technology Policy development programs that spur inclusion of youth, women, and girls. This session facilitated by the UNECA focuses on UNECA role in the Internet ecosystem in Africa, how it works with various African governments to achieve inclusion, policy development and empowerment of youth, women, and girls. The session will involve UNECA personnel and consultants talking about issues relevant to the African Internet Ecosystem that UNECA focuses on focusing on programs that UNECA is carrying out in support of the African Union Digital Transformation Strategy (2020 to 2030) within the continent. The session will specifically look at inclusiveness through Digital Identity its relation to cyber security, personal data protection and privacy. The session will overall note the importance in making the continent vibrant through digital technology programs that African youth, women and girls are fully included based on UNECA work in the continent.

UNECA currently is assisting several African countries in the digital transformation strategies and supporting African countries on policy development and implementation of Digital Identification systems that promotes inclusion and progressing the African continent in terms of its socio-economic aspirations. UNECA has continuously provided support for youth in the IGF processes in Africa and at the global IGF. At the 17th Global IGF in Addis Ababa, UNECA supported the attendance and gave training to 80 youth from various African Member States to attend the global IGF where they served as volunteers during the 17th Globally IGF. UNECA plans to continuous engaging and involving youth from Africa to be engaged in the IGF processes at regional and global levels. Session Interaction and Participation in a Hybrid Meeting The session is planned in very interactive way between in person / online participants that speakers give overview of their interventions within UNECA role in the Internet Ecosystem in Africa (Both In person and Online moderators will be in tandem in this roundtable discussion). The session is expected to bring in various stakeholders from development organisations that collaborate with UNECA on the field, academia, researchers, end users, mostly youth and women, countries in the region and other participants from the global Internet governance Ecosystem. Online participants will be the first to asked to intervene after contributions of each speaker before in person participants are asked to taker to the floor. This is done to ensure the voices of online participants are heard first based on various time differences between Kyoto, Japan and where they joining the session virtually from during the 18th Internet Governance forum.




Name(s), Organizational Affiliation(s), Stakeholder and Regional Group of Speaker(s) Dr. Mactar Seck – UNECA Hon. Paula Ingabire – Minister of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Hon. Aurélie Adam Soule – Minister of Digital Economy and Communication, Republic of Benin Ms. Hilda Mwakatumbula – UNECA Ms. Dobrina Stoyanova Poirier – UNECA Ms. Sorene Assefa - UNECA Ms. Linda Boyo - UNECA CONSULTANT Mr. Dereje Yohannes Ashenafi – UNECA Ms. Nnenna Ifeanyi-Ajufo – Academia Mr. Poncelet – Ileleji – UNECA CONSULTANT

Onsite Moderator

Sorene Assefa - UNECA

Online Moderator





4. Quality Education
5. Gender Equality
9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
10. Reduced Inequalities
17. Partnerships for the Goals

Targets: The session reflects and addresses the following SDGS in 4, 5, 9, 10 and 17. A major reason that, more than ever before, the world is going fully digital and Africa is part of the process. Digital transformation should be top priority for Africa’s leaders: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, August 31, 2020 (ECA) – African leaders need to think digital always, especially now as the continent continues to grapple with the ongoing coronavirus crisis that has affected millions across the world. The above statement that was made at the height of the COVID 19 – Pandemic in the summer of 2020 during a meeting initiated by UNECA for African leaders shows why UNECA programs also include “Think Digital Always” mindset in its engagements in Africa as the dedicated UN agency for Africa development. In doing so UNECA Innovation and Technology programs cut across several of the SDGs, the listed SDGs are stated as it covers all areas of our focus for this session.