September 30, 2011 - 14:30PM
The following is the output of the real-time captioning taken during the Sixth Meeting of the IGF, in Nairobi, Kenya. 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 to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Good afternoon, everyone. I'm thinking that we should start. Welcome to this session, this workshop called connectivity and access in SubSaharan Africa. We want to talk about the status, challenges and opportunities.
I really would like to apologize for the disorganisation, but it's a last-minute change. I went to room 13, then found some of the people set up there. We had to do something really quickly to be able to direct people over here.
Thank you for coming. You made it over here, so this is really great. My name is Ulemu Nyasulu. I'm an academic. But I also work with DiploFoundation on their initiatives; for example, their capacity building programme, but also their research programmes. Through Diplo we get trained about Internet Governance issues, and therefore, we can participate meaningfully in the IGF process.
The reason we are carrying out this workshop is throughout the workshops that we have been attending, we have been looking at Africa, and the trend that is happening with Africa, that there is connectivity happening, but there are pipes coming in, that there is access happening, but I think from the point of view of inside Africa or inside the region, what does this mean to them, what is their perspective, what can they see happening? What challenges are they seeing? What opportunities are they seeing because of this access? I thought an inside/out look would be important in a forum like this, so we have a wholistic view of what is happening in Africa.
Some of the questions our panellists are going to be answering are, for example, what is the status of connectivity and access in their countries or their region. What do they see as opportunities? And then we also have region organisations that will be talking about their role when it comes to access and connectivity, what do they do in that area.
How we are going to do the workshop is that we want to be as interactive as we can. I think it's the most important thing. We are going to have panellists that are talking about their different countries and regions, and then we are going to have the umbrella region organisations talk at the end.
Whenever a panelist speaks, if there is any other immediate intervention that you would like to make soon after they are finished speaking, you can raise up your hand. I'll take note of that. Then we will move to the next person. I can also take note of whatever questions rise up after that. So after all the country representatives have spoken, we can try to discuss a few of the questions that have come up immediately at the end of that. Then we will move on to the regional. The regional will do the same thing too. When an organisation has spoken, any immediate questions can come up at that point. We will take note of them like that.
I think we will have maximum interaction.
Without further ado, I would like to introduce the panel. They are seated all over among you which is good also. I'm not going to talk about them. I want to ask them to introduce themselves in 30 seconds, briefly to run through who they are, we have Nnenna, from Cote d'Ivoire, Baudouin, we are expecting to have Fiona, but she might not, I haven't seen her. She is from Kenya, that will be good. We have Dr. Nyirenda from Malawi, Alex Comninos from South Africa, Towela Nyirenda, we have Moses from AUC, and we have Makane Faye from UNECA. Let's start with Nnenna.
>> NNENNA NWAKANMA: We have met in many different panels, and I keep introducing myself. But for this panel I would like to introduce myself as a business owner. I have a consultancy based in Cote d'Ivoire, and I work across the West African region. It is a small consultancy startup, only four years old.
We are consulting in information and communication technology for development. Thank you.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Thank you. Alex.
>> ALEX CAMNINOS: My name is Alex Camninos, from South Africa, here courtesy of the southern African IGF as well. I'm an independent researcher and a doctoral student at Giessen University in Germany. I'm currently doing my PhD on the use of a crisis mapping software in the Middle East and North Africa.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Thank you.
>> I'm from Malawi, country code operator in ISP, work for the universe of Malawi, do various constituencies. Thank you very much.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Thank you. Next on the row. I'll start from this side, Makane, please.
>> MAKANE FAYE: My name is Makane Faye from the commission for Africa, in charge of ICT for development and eApplications.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Thank you. And Baudouin. Is that the correct way?
>> BAUDOUIN SCHOMBE: I come from Contessa. I am team leader of IGF, national IGF, and also I'm a member of South Africa, Africa union, and in the country I'm also national coordinator of NGO involving to promote ICT in the country.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Moses.
>> Thank you. I'm an ICT expert in the Division of Information Society, at the African Union Commission.
>> Good afternoon. I'm the programmes manager with the eAfrica programme with the NEPAD planning and coordinating agency which is a technical agency of the African union. Thank you.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: The way we are going to do it is looking at the African map, we start with West Africa, Central Africa, Southeast Africa, South African; if we have East Africa coming, we are going to slot it somewhere. Then after that, we will start with NEPAD and AU and finally UNECA. May we start, please, with Nnenna. Thank you very much.
>> NNENNA NWAKANMA: Thank you. Good evening. The first time I used an Internet connection was 1998, something like that, regularly; that was when I worked with the African Development Bank. And we were moving from telex to swift, '95, '96, '97 and '98. But then our Internet connection was via satellite. And the ADB then in Abuzhan, across the region, at the end of last year, we had the works, the set 3, the main one, and the Glow one. And as I was packing my baggage to come to Nairobi, it's just landed in Abuzhan a new cable. The region of West Africa may well be described as the region with the greatest possible bandwidth in the continent.
Now, having said that, I want to show you something. I didn't know I had it. But I actually have it. In my handbag as a lady I have a purse, and ladies know that the most, I mean basically what happens that if you can't take your handbag you pick the purse. That is the most important things are in the purse. I pick three stuff out of my purse. They are these things.
This is my backup for Ivory Coast. This is my backup for Ghana. This is my backup for Nigeria. Honestly, I didn't plan this. But it's because they are always in my purse, in my handbag, basically, because you are never sure of what connectivity you will get. It has become, if a lady can baggage things and put in her purse in her handbag, it means that these are things you can't live without. For the three countries that I visit most often in West Africa, I have taken it upon myself, once I land at the airport I get myself connected, because you are never sure.
Madame Director asked me to respond to a few of the questions.
West Africa is one region in the continent that is moving along as a block, because we have the economic community of West African states, which is not just an economic region, but also a movement-free region.
So our passports are one West African passport. That gives us a leverage over certain things, that that leverage has not got down to connectivity. That is one thing, that the first point I want to make is that the economic and social integration we have in West Africa has not been established at the level of Internet connectivity.
The second point I would like to make is that we actually have native cable owners in West Africa. Glow and MTN are now laying cables in West Africa, but which is a kind of pride, if we should say, pride in that area.
The third point is that I buy Internet connection for my company, for the office, those who work in the office. I buy Internet connection for my home because I work from home. For the past two years, with all the cables landing, with all the improvements, the price has not gone down at the level of the last user. I still pay the same amount I pay.
Finally, I want to stress the differences in pricing. I have published one of my researches on the use of Internet and especially social media part of which was to understand how people are accessing the Internet. I have found out that the countries that there is a direct link between activism online, online presence. Digital electricity is directly linked to the cost of access in the country. So you find out that Nigerians, Ghanians and Ivoirens and Senegalese are more active then in Togo and Benois and Maurtalia. You want to check that, if not that number but that percentage.
We in IGF are looking to create content, looking for youth to be on line, we have to look at this. Finally let's end on a positive note. The positive note is that there is future in mobile technology and mobile connectivity, because mobile connectivity has the portability, the agility, the customization and all those things that go with the youth, that are pro rural, that are pro people.
The way we see the future of connectivity in Africa, is that connectivity deployed on mobile interfaces are the ones that will reach the greater good, the greater number and for the greater good of West Africans.
I want to end by saying that West Africa is the most beautiful part of this continent. We don't have wing tap, over there and if you haven't visited the place, please come and visit us. We have some of the cheapest Internet connection prices. Thank you.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Thank you very much, Nnenna. At least you have highlighted a lot of issues, no integration when it comes to Internet. You have highlighted the prices. The way things are, prices are very different, and also that they still hold because we are looking at mobile connectivity. So thank you very much for that. I will not contest that West Africa is the most beautiful; other people might do that for me.
Let's go to Central Africa, Baudouin.
>> Excuse me. I ask you to understand what I can say because my English is very poor. I'm French spoken. (Chuckles).
I will start by DRC, I want to say, to tell you there is something wrong in the world, if I tell you in the DRC the connectivity, ICT connectivity is big problem. Still now, we discuss about bandwidth, that a couple of fiberoptic. That's from Rwanda Contessa, but I can tell you we don't know where this cable is in Contessa. We don't know. That is a big problem in that country.
Just to tell you in the country we don't have ICT policy; that is a problem also. We don't have also a good, a good instrument, legal instrument of ICT. We don't have it. It is not adapted, with the context.
We also, I can tell you, until now, we have difficult to have a good consultation between among actors, Government, private sector, civil society, and the technical organisation. That is a big difficulty also in the DRC.
UNECA has started to help Government in 2008 I think -- 6, to help Government to implement programme in DRC, but after some months, they stopped. That is a problem in the DRC, to say ICT is in the progress.
But paradoxically in the DRC, I can tell you money phone is a, get a big evolution now.
In ten congress people, you have eight people with mobile telephone. That is a very progress in DRC, because we have 7 operators, mobile operators in DRC. But in that level of ICT, we have also another problem that, problem of can fit in the DRC. The country is very spacious. It is difficult to manage, that ICT policy in that conflict.
In about sector, private sector, we have the association of providers, but the problem with that association, they don't have consensus. That is the big problem. But there is only two operators use that EXP; that is a big problem. Until today, there is a delegation of dot CD, but I can tell you, that until now I don't know very well, we discuss now 7 months, we discuss about dot CD, we don't know exactly who manage this dot CD. That is a very difficult matter we have in the DRC, to tell you in the geographic position I think, we say DRC can become hard for Central Africa. But that the problem is to have a good leader, to manage your ICT in that area.
Just to tell you also, in Central Africa we have eleven countries, but in eleven countries we have only two countries try now to implement a good firmware, only two countries. But in South Africa, in Gabon, we don't have any status about ICT.
I tell you that we hope in this process to benefit some experience from your other countries, but also in the country, we are start to discuss with some persons, we identify some persons who we can push to improve this process. And also we discuss with parliament, national assembly, because in that way, we identify some people who accept to push our effort. But just this I wanted to tell you about the DRC, and we hope -- excuse me, because my English is very poor, but in French I can explain it very well.
>> That was great.
>> Thank you.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Thank you very much. No, it's very good English. Actually I've told him that already when he was complaining about his English.
>> He wants us to recognize that he speaks both languages. (Chuckles.)
>> ULEMU NYASULU: On that note, are there any reactions, immediate reactions to the two speakers we have had? Do you have any questions for DRC? Or in the central region? Do you have any questions for Nnenna? I will start with here. Please say your name. And then the question.
>> I wanted to, my question is directed to DRC. Which part of the economic group do you belong to, is it --
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Hold on. I'll put the question down. Which part of the economic grouping do they belong to. Another question?
>> Yeah, I understand DRC has made tremendous strides in terms of peace building, conflict resolution, peacekeeping. But just from your experience as a country that's undergone severe conflict and is still experiencing some small conflicts, what are the threats to communication infrastructure and the conflict? Is that an issue in the DRC, or do people continue to communicate no matter what is happening?
>> My name is Francis Reno, project manager, Sub Tech Systems, Kenya. My question he is targeted to DRC. To my colleague, can you have an average number as in citizenship in terms of knowledgeable towards Internet innovations and stuff like that.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Thank you very much. Those are all the questions. We can now move on to Dr. Nyirenda, please.
>> Thank you very much, madame Chair. I'm going to talk briefly also about case of Malawi, and the Southern African region. I approach this a little bit differently. I'm looking at connectivity in particular, and maybe it helps to say what it is that I will talk about. I looked at connectivity from the point of the connection between two points, one point with a routable IP address and another one, all other ones, because it could be one to many, as also having routable IP addresses.
And in Africa, routable IP addresses come from Afrinet only those, or they come from Icon if you are old enough to got your IP addresses before Afrinet was there. So I'm excluding private networks. I know this is a big issue in Africa, because mobile operators are private networks. And the big question that one needs to ask is whether they contribute to connectivity or to access. I'm looking at this as them contributing to access. So they are a little bit outside my coverage.
Connectivity, based on this understanding, is related to the uptake of IP addresses, and of course, the other Internet identifiers, domain names and so forth. Based on this, if we look at the country Malawi, we can look at it and say we have only one regulator, and there is a legal framework. Just like DRC, we don't have a Malawi nationalized city policy unfortunately. But the regulator is there. If we look at the regulator, it's an all purpose regulator. It covers everything under the converged ICT market, telecons, ICT, broadcasting ports, information services and so forth.
The regulator faces quite a bit of challenges in terms of capacity, in the sense that they have to handle everything. If you walk into the regulator, you can actually see that they do have a capacity problem. The problem with capacity translates in how well they can coordinate and fix the development of the connectivity market in the country.
What do they regulate? Well, they regulate fixed icon operator. In Malawi one of the major issues is there is only one dominant player, Malawi Telecoms. And fortunately or unfortunately, it has been also issued an ISP license.
So, it is dominant in both Telecoms and ISP operations. They are new entrants like access communication, so all the efforts await competition in the fixed line sector. Malawi has 35 licenses for ISPs, maybe a little bit more now that things are changing.
But of these only eight are operational. And they are right now struggling to cope with the dominant players, the fixed line operators. This is a regulator issue. The regulator issue does affect the development of the connectivity centre.
In the last 18 months, Malawi has been going through a lot of transformation, because the connection to the undersea cables was only made and activated in February of 2010. So the sector is going through a lot of change.
There is a development fiber installation base, still headed by NTL, but there is fiber running from their electricity supply commission of Malawi, over power lines. So competition, I mention here because it does affect the price that you pay.
On the national network then, we have the two fiber operators, MTO and SCom providing the national interconnection. We have the ISPs. We have the ever growing wireless network infrastructure. And there is quite a bit of competition.
The national network, Malawi is a small slender country, and so it runs through roughly 60 percent of the length of the country, and for MTO, they claim to have resilient network, and with a redundant ring around the country.
The migration from the switch to fiber over the last 18 months has changed the price of the circuit for the ISPs, but like Nnenna indicated, in Malawi also this has not really trickled down yet to the end user on the market.
We have two mobile operators in Malawi, A, Atel, and Telecom networks Malawi. And most of the mobile access is going through these operators. Also MTO runs dongles with mobile access. And I just need to return my consideration is that this improves access, rather than connectivity, because of the dynamic nature of the characteristics of the end user.
In terms of the international connectivity, Malawi is a land locked country. We have Zambia on our west, and this, I haven't met a Zambian in this conference. Oh. We have Mozambique on our west and south and we have Tanzania on the north. The only way to go to the undersea cables is to pass through either Mozambique or Tanzania since Zambia is also landlocked.
So with the complete dependence on research to 2010 and the move to the fibers, the current connections are going through Mozambique, through the southern route.
I asked the Telecoms provider how big the capacity of that network is. And they indicate that it's a 12 core fiber connection, with an STM 16 interface on the side of the border, southwest side of Malawi, with an upcoming connection through the southeast connection again through Mozambique, and also with an STM 16 connection. We connect to Zambia in the region through microlink from an STM 1 connection, and we are connecting now through Tanzania also through STM 1. The links for Tanzania and Ginji and Tanzania are both microwave, but of late we are receiving quite a bit of interest from operators within the region, to actually use the little country for transit. And I will come back to that shortly.
There is also a project in Malawi, the regional communications infrastructure project, where I do some consultancies, and this project is designed, or but one of the objectives is to lay fiber link from northern Malawi in to Tanzania.
If that happens, then I think that we will have adequately redundancy with respect to international connections, as well as hopefully connection to both easy and C com fibers. Malawi has an Internet exchange for allowing local traffic, that was activated in 2008.
Right now, all the A players are connected to the Internet exchange. One of the things that we have observed was that the designing of the exchange, its connectivity, having taken five years before 2008 to work out the politics, when we activated it in 2008, and then the fiber came in 2010, we found that the exchange point had moved from the centre of the network to the edge of the network.
And right now, we need to reengineer the network, the connections to the exchange point, so that we can move the exchange point to again be central in the infrastructure for the connectivity.
Finally, on mobile operators, we have two, as I indicated. They also mostly access, they have over 98 percent coverage over the country. They offer 2G, 3G, 3.5G connectivity. And when you connect to them, if you take, you always get a private IP address, which sometimes irritates me, because I want to do a little bit more, but that is not available at the moment. In terms of challenges, there is no national ICT policy in Malawi. So the development of the sector is suffering from this. Price over an Internet connection is still high, around 1500 per megabit, per second per month. They lower the rate and which affects content, and we had in here, content is king and is driving factor for improving connectivity. So it's a big issue as I said.
There is a lack of online permits in Malawi, or credit. If you run a busy domain organisation like we do, this has a constraint on how many registrations we can make, and if you have many clients on your connection, then it also limits how fast you can receive the connections.
Finally, the finance is an issue for the sector. In terms of opportunities, the arrival of the undersea cable connections is an opportunity. There is competition on the market. There is a new initiative to revise the law, there is a new opportunity to revise the law in Malawi.
Where is the loudspeaker?
And the new legal reform is an opportunity for us, because it's creating quite a few players on the market, and those players will have additional opportunities hopefully. There is the potential for transit. As I indicated, Malawi is surrounded by Mozambique. One of the things that is happening is that the Mozambique Government is interested in connecting one part of Mozambique to another, but there is Malawi in between. So there is an opportunity that we can correct some revenue from transit. Finally, the EXP is the network connectivity. Thanks.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Thank you very much. I don't know whether anybody wants to have some immediate reaction to that really comprehensive view of Malawi and the region. Thank you.
>> I want to raise the question in terms of Internet costs on accessibility to Malawi. It said that they are paying to a tune of, did you say 1,500?
>> 1050 dollars per megabit (off microphone).
>> What is Malawi (off microphone) how much is Malawi to a Kenyon shilling?
>> One to two, is it?
>> One to two.
>> That is on the high side still. My question is, is there any way the Government can collect, can make it flexible for the citizens to have access to Internet by reducing the cost of experience net accessibility?
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Thank you very much for that question. Yes, Carol.
>> That is for DRC and Malawi. The fact that both your countries do not have a national ICT policy, I'm curious what strides have been taken to actually develop one. And, yeah, it's great to understand that there isn't one, but we would like to know what is happening in that area, developing and policy.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Thank you, Carol.
>> I'll try to reply to Carol's question.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: To give a response? Can you hold on for just a minute? Thank you very much. I'll remember that you needed to respond to that. Can we finish up with the countries by listening to Alex, who will talk about South Africa. Thank you.
>> ALEX CAMNINOS: My name is Alex Camninos. I'm talking about South Africa. I'm taking over from someone called Steve Song who does some amazing stuff on undersea cables. I don't think I need to speak about it too much, because we all know our new cables are landing, and the undersea connectivity is getting better, and we want to see the fruits of that.
We still realize we have got a lot less undersea fiber going towards us than other continents.
So if you wouldn't mind, if you could cycle through these pictures, are you -- it's not on. There it is.
I'm going to cycle through them. But I'm hungry for the Internet. I like the Internet. I like to use a lot of it. I've found the access to the Internet quite frustrating and unaffordable in South Africa. What I really wanted was an uncapped connection. And I could never afford such a thing.
I'm staying with a bunch of people and we share it now. But within the past two or three years, the price has gone down for an un -- open it and press left or right.
>> Use image view.
>> Anyway, it's not important. I thought it might be nice for you to look at them. But yeah, just roughly out of my head, if I wanted to get an uncapped ADSL connection in 2008, or early 2009, that that would have cost me between minimum, yeah, minimum 90 Euros a month, but probably between 90 and 200 Euros a month. So it was very expensive. Not two years down the line, you can get that for one or two -- sorry, for 312 KBPS, you can get uncapped for about 30 to 60 or 70 Euros; still very expensive.
So I don't use U.S. dollars because I'm South Africa. I just times it by ten. It's a lot easier. What also happened recently in South Africa is that fiber cables are being laid, and it backbones between the cities, along the main highways, and it's quite beautiful. I like to look at it, because the operators are laying it together. So we have cable for Vodacom, we have an orange cable for Neo Tell, a yellow one for NTN. We have blue, yeah, we have green or something for Telecom, but it looks very pretty. You are seeing it all the time and there is a lot of fiber rollout.
Unfortunately, it's mainly intercity and then to metropolitan or developed areas. But area quality, first of all, there is many places ADSL doesn't reach. If you want anything installed, you can wait between one to three years. If you are stuck in a neighborhood like me that has old degraded copper infrastructure, you can pay for one or two four KBPS, but you will get a maximum 90 KBPS download speed. There is nothing you can do about it. You can complain to the fixed line operator, Telecom.
Another thing that's caused the prices to go down recently is we have quite a good telecommunications act, and the act was updated about five or six years ago to say that what we call VANS, virtual -- sorry, what we call a value added network service providers, which is basically all your ISPs, retail, the incumbent fixed line operators, bandwidth, which I'm sure you are quite familiar with it. But ISPs were technically allowed to build their own infrastructures.
And they were able to convert their license to what is called an ECNS license or EICNS license, and that means you could build certain kind of infrastructures which before did not used to be legal.
Unfortunately, I think there is often, A, a problem with implementation, and B, a problem with political will, because we actually had to have a network operator called Al Tech take the department of communications to court to enforce this. When the court decided that the act had to be enforced, the department of communications tried to get an injunction, and take the regulator to court, to stop it.
But, yeah, we have had recently a change of leadership in the regulator, and a lot more political will and a lot more of a focus on broadband.
So yeah, that is the situation in South Africa. I've talked mainly about fixed line stuff. Mobile, you can get mobile anywhere. It's the price that's the problem. You can get mobile Internet anywhere.
I would like to deepen the debate and maybe not talk about the conventional infrastructure as my last point. But what I think is very important in southern Africa, South Africa and the region, is also not just the pipes, but the infrastructures of the Internet; server farms, data centres. We want stuff hosted in Africa, not just with the African domain and then the DNS sends it to Europe.
I think it's also important that we build our own cloud infrastructure. Why, you know, how many ministers are you going to meet, ministers or Government officials that you will meet at this Forum, and they will give you their card and you will see it says gMail or Yahoo!
So, that is actually an issue of national sovereignty, I would say. If you have your minister, imagine 50 years ago and your minister said, no, use the U.S. Postal Service. So, yeah, I think we also need to think beyond the pipes, and to think how are we going to build African infrastructures. So Internet exchange points is also very important.
And a slogan that we used a lot at the Southern African IGF which is quite relevant is to keep local traffic local. And that is not about excluding foreign traffic. It just means that if I want to access your Web site, why do I have to go through New York to do such a thing?
At the moment, I don't practice what I preach, because I host stuff in America, because I think on average, it's faster for Africans to access, because neighboring countries they could go through.
And the last point I think is very important is we have no guiding frameworks for making connections across borders.
We have frameworks for the sea and stuff, but if I want to build fiber in between South Africa and Namibia or two operators want to do that, how do they do it? I think it's a lot easier if this is two incumbent operators or ex-state owned incumbent operators. But yeah, there is big politics there. We need to work it out.
That is all I have to say. Thank you very much.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Thank you very much. Any immediate reactions to what he's spoken? Yes?
>> Hi, I'm Dion from Connect Africa. We install rural infrastructure for communications. It's more of an observation rather than a question.
Aside from two countries, you look at Malawi and South Africa where they are talking of upwards of 90 percent coverage. Most Southern African countries are geographically large with distributed populations. The rural areas don't have any coverage, currently, or they are very limited in their coverage.
We work closely with mobile network, with a mobile network operator, and it's very clear that the only motivators that they have are profit and legislation. They are not going to go into the rural areas. There is no profit in the rural areas.
So that leaves legislation. Legislation can't be a stick only. It needs to be a stick and a carrot. Some countries have universal service funds, which to date I've yet to see one that is effectively spending those funds.
But there is an opportunity in these countries to utilize that universal service fund, and prompt these networks to go into these countries, offering the carrot of the USF as it was originally intended, but at the same time threatening them to do it, because that is the only way rural service delivery is going to happen.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Thank you very much for the comment. Is there anyone for South Africa, any comment? Yes? Or question?
>> My name is Jude from private sector, Kenya. You mention that your download speeds are 90 KBPS and up is 24 KBPS? Did I get it right?
>> Yeah. I think what I actually get on average downloading -- obviously depends where you download from. But I had 312, I paid to upgrade to 1024, and I've never seen more than 150 KBPS.
>> This is in Johannesburg?
>> Durban and Jo-Burg, but I had a strange technology and I'm at a very old exchange as well.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Nnenna, you would like to comment on the South Africa issue?
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Can I write down what -- okay. So, I just want to go through the list of the questions so that they can be responded to. To DRC, you had these questions: Which part of the economic grouping in Africa do you belong to? That was the question, which one are you. So that is the first question. Baudouin.
>> That is a very good question. I don't know what to say, but DRC is an old group, encompasser, in economic central of Europe, it's CIC. (Overlapping speakers) South Central Africa economic commission. Also I think in it's East Africa community. I think because DRC is in the old group, that is the problem now. On 2009, we discuss with delegation about ICT process in the IC. After some months we discuss also about ICT process. In this level, we don't know how we can do, under which programme we will adopt in the DRC. That is a big problem we have.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Thank you. It is like they don't belong anywhere but belong everywhere. Tremendous strides have been made in terms of peacekeeping. What are threats to communication infrastructure and the conflict? (Door closing).
>> Cities use mobile phone to communicate in the country. But in the east, in the east of Congo, they have connection with the Rwanda, and Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda, the people not east, they have connection with Uganda, Nagoma, they have connection with Rwanda, Burundi and the other one, Katanga area of connection. Since 2010, the regulators start to see how they can solve that problem, to make only communication from the operators in the DRC. Enterprisers have their own system of communication. They have their own system to communicate between them.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Thank you. Yes, in summary, that is the answer to the question. Now, on average, do you know the number of citizens that are Internet literate? That was the last question. Can you say a figure?
>> If I can tell you, that just I can take that with connectivity, but that is just about access. In the country where we don't have a good connectivity, it is a problem. You are talking about that. And also we can see that most citizens, I can say we have 0.5 percent of people who have access, who have access in ICT.
But in the enterprise, in private sector, we can say just 60 or 70 percent, because they use ICT because they have a good connection by satellite.
There is also a level for the Government, that I can tell you frontly, that is a big problem because we don't have a policy to understand very well how the Government communicate. But there is a separate incentive. We have ministry has its own incentive. The President has his own, Ministry of Budget has its own. It's very --
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Thank you very much. There is a lot of coordination that needs to be done in that area.
There was a question to Malawi about Internet cost and accessibility. Is there a way Internet cost, is there a way the Government can reduce those costs, because you talked about them being very expensive.
>> Thank you very much. I think there is probably no way other than through the regulator, and the sector in Malawi is highly competitive. It is privatized.
I don't see the Government stepping in and saying to Malawi, telecons, please go and reduce your price to such a figure. There would be no rush now, so unless they go through the regulator and they pass new legislation which isn't there at the moment for controlling prices, I don't see it going down.
But what I see is that if the Government encourages competition on the market, attracting more players, especially on the fixed lines market, more CS players, then I see that there will be some reduction in price. This is already happening. The number of players on the fiber market probably has gone to three over the last 30 days. And the new entrants which are foreign companies are offering the lower side which is around 1200 dollars, megabit per month, per second per month, while the fixed line provider is still at 1.7 or 1700 dollars per megabit per second per month.
The only way I see it is if the Government introduces small flexible legislation and maybe realise policy, so that there is more competition in the market.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: What strides have been taken in DRC and Malawi to develop their own national ICT policies?
>> Thank you very much, Madame Moderator.
In fact, Malawi and DRC, of course with Togo as the most difficult countries in Africa for developing a policy, and himself can testify because we started the process in Malawi in 2001. We did a very comprehensive consultation. We went through the whole country and the framework was developed and given to stakeholders. Framework was adopted in 2002. In 2003 a policy was developed. The policy was given to Government for adoption. It was not adopted. I don't know why; Internet politics.
In 2005, they call upon ECA to come back because they said they have now a serious minister who will work on adopt it. We did go there. We work with them. After several months again the new policy was put on the table. And I can guarantee that the policy we are talking about today, Malawi policy, was better than the Rwanda policy was. Rwanda was the first one to develop. So Malawi policy had a lot of good things, including double size compliancy, because it was after WSIS, so to date we don't know what is there about. They have a good policy, but it has not been adopted.
For DRC also we start with them in 2006, and we expect to finalize in 2008. But unfortunately, the World Bank came in, and they saw the name World Bank, and they said, oh, you see a backup and there was a constancy project was given to one French company. Up to now we don't see there is a policy. Last year the Government wrote again to ask, please, so that is where we are. That is the progress between those two countries.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: I can see that is an issue we can talk about. Maybe we are going to continue that debate.
But at the moment, I would like to call upon Towela to just tell us in a minute or so, what is the role of NEPAD with this access and connectivity, so we know where we go to with those issues.
>> TOWELA NYIRENDA: I'm not sure I answer the question where you go to the issues, but I will tell you what we do. As I said before, the NEPAD agency is a technical agency of the AU established by decision of the AU summit in January, 2010, and with a mandate that basically speaks to facilitating and coordinating the implementation of Continental and regional programmes and projects. We are also mandated to mobilize resources and partners in support of Africa's priority programmes and projects.
We mandated to conduct and coordinate research and knowledge management, and to monitor and evaluate implementation of programmes and projects, and all this within the construct of the AU and NEPAD vision, mission and core principles and values.
What does that really mean? In terms of how we work, we basically take our guidance from the AUC, through existing Continental frameworks, but also through structures such as the conference of ministers responsible for ICTs.
We are required to work with and through the regional economic communities, in coordination with the AUC, and we also work with other partners on specific projects on a case by case basis.
From the inception of the NEPAD, quote-unquote, ICT programme, the focus areas that were identified as what needed to be addressed were very broadly framed in terms of infrastructure, skills, and applications.
So those are the things that underpin the kinds of work that we do.
Some of the projects that we have undertaken are work in terms of the broadband infrastructure, this is looking at both the submarine cabling infrastructure as well as the terrestrial infrastructure. We have also got projects that are looking at the enabling environment, specifically also in terms of the whole idea of crossborder networking and ensuring that the environment, the regulator environment is conducive to the establishment of crossborder networks.
This is not a one-day or one-month or one-year process. This is something that's quite a slow process, that takes a bit of time.
We had an instrument which is called the Kagali protocol that was actually developed and signed in 2008, I believe, by about six or eight countries at that time.
Slowly, the process has been now one of getting other countries to ratify or accede to it on an ongoing basis. What we found now is that as opposed to trying to go with countries on an individual basis, the strategies is probably better to go working through the regional economic communities, as was already mentioned by Nnenna.
We also had a project that was looking at skill and ICT literacy, eSchools project implemented in 16 countries, six schools per country. Where we are now is that we need to upscale that project and see how we can actually implement on a continental level. But this of course requires very strong buy-in from the countries as far as implementation goes.
New projects that we are looking at is payment gateway to facilitate intraregional payments. We are also looking at Internet Governance as a new area of work as well as community informatics which is meant to look at how we connect grass-roots ICT development with policy and research, and make sure that we are actually closing the loop in terms of what is happening on the ground, what is coming from the research and how that is feeding into the policy processes.
In a nutshell, that is what we do. Thank you.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Thank you, Towela. Any questions for NEPAD? We will move on to AU, briefly, to let us know their role in access and connectivity. Thanks.
>> Thank you. I also try quickly to take you through some of our programmes related to the topic.
The commission's programmes are basically based on relevant heads of states and their ministerial decisions.
To this end, regarding connectivity, the following are some of the activities we engaged in.
There is a programme on infrastructure development in Africa. Currently it's at stage of studies. The outcome of studies will come with the recommendations on the bridging the gap, and come up with projects to bridge that gap.
On the ICT component in that programme, basically to be looking at interconnecting African cities and villages, and also to build Internet extent points at national and regional levels to keep local traffic local, and hence address the current expensive transit schedules that have been incurred.
To then, funding has been secured to implement the first phase of the African Internet exchange system. We have mobilized funding of 5.1 million. So this will mainly focus on the capacity building to set up national Internet exchange points in Member States that have not yet. We do know right now that about 30 Member States do not have national Internet exchange points.
And it also contributes support to establishing of regional Internet hubs.
The other project is the, under the partnership of India. It is ongoing, the pan-African eNetwork. It is providing education and eHealth services between Africa and India.
So people already are undertaking postgraduate and undergraduate programmes, in various Indian universities, and also medical eHealth between, between medical facilities in India and hospitals.
The other projects finally, of course, we do have a number of, if I didn't mention before, I will not be able within the time to highlight all, so this is just some of the key programmes that I want to go in. So last but not the least is the African research, Africa connect centre for education under the partnership between Europe and Africa. We have what we call the Euro Africa joint strategy, and the 8th partnership is on science information society and space.
So funding was mobilized through this partnership. It is an African Caribbean Pacific project. Of course we have the Africa component, which is 11.8 million Euro. Basically, it is to connect our existing national research educational networks to become regional research and education networks, so that our researchers are able to cooperate among themselves. It will further connect them to the European backbone so they can cooperate also with their international peers.
In a nutshell, that is some of the activities that the African Union Commission is undertaking. Thank you.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Thank you very much. That is very promising. I think we just finish straightaway and look at questions at the end of UNECA. Thank you.
>> This is in a nutshell what I'm going to present, because --
>> We can't hear you.
>> Don't break it. The presentation will shorten of course because we are 8 minutes for it, and so it will be on as our role in facilitating access and connectivity, the policy environment, and how access transform Government, and the conclusion.
The ECA role in facilitating access and connectivity in Africa is done in three ways. Development of policy and ICT strategies, as we, I was referring to unsuccessful cases for Malawi and DRC, but we have successful case like Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria and other countries. We do also capacity building in this context, and we promote also measuring impact, knowledge sharing and networking in the framework of this ICT project.
On the ICT policy environment we are working with, all our work is grounded on African information society initiative, which was adopted by the African Ministers of Fine Arts and Socioeconomic development in 1996 and organisation of African Unity Summit. Through AISI, we develop policies for countries, and also we develop policies and strategy for original communities.
Today we have 43 countries which have adopted their policies, and 46 countries also by end of 2011 will do; most of them are in the process.
Now on eLegislation and eSecurity, we have worked with several groupings such as Ecowas, where there is several legislation on Internet action, personal data protection were adopted by the heads of state in February, 2010.
We are building on the assistance to work with African union on the request from the ministers of ICT to develop the African convention on eLegislation which was presented today at our session with UNESCO. We are also assisting countries in developing their cyber-security policies, and the latest one requested to receive two days ago, from Seychelles. We have African online eObservatory, where we discuss issues on eLegislation, and we put together most of the cyber legislation experts in Africa to, in to discussion list.
On capacity building, we, I'm just talking about we have done in parliament because we work beyond parliament. We have ICT subcommittees in parliaments in several countries, and building workshops for Parliaments in several countries and also in the eEnvironment.
We also develop workshops. The latest one was 2011, and they were the idea of setting up an African IGF came up. And then I was part of the resource persons.
We have also online the African of ICT essentials for Government leaders. It is an online academy where currently we are giving courses, online courses to policymakers and currently, I believe we have around 30 people who are enrolling in these courses. And on the first model, they link it between ICT applications and development, and ICT for development policy process and governance.
Next. This is the Web site of the --
>> (Off microphone).
>> Go back, please. Yes, so I said that these are the models we are, we have developed which are online. And we did one on Internet Governance in April. During the course we had also DiploFoundation.
This is the online models, where they are housed. And we have our learning staff who are coached from anywhere in the world. The last access were sent yesterday from my hotel room.
ICT4D measurement in the framework of the Ghana ICT, we are supporting several countries in developing their capacity, especially the statistics offices to integrate ICT measurement in their programme.
We are also coordinating the task group on eGovernment indicators, which was put in place by first WSIS in Geneva, where we have all the partners, UN partners, and also OECD and others coming together to develop several indicators, household indicators led by business indicators, sorry, household indicator led by ITU, business indicators led by UNCTAD and Education indicators led by UNESCO and eGovernment indicators led by ECA.
We are adopted core indicators on 17 May, 2011, and the framework document is being finalized and we present it at the WTIM meeting organised by ICE in December, 2011.
Access to infrastructure and knowledge transforming socioeconomic sectors: We organise every two years what we call technology and Government hours, DIGA, where we have seen a big increase in interest of countries in the participating and developing applications on eGovernment.
As you can see here, that several countries in 2010, you had 89 entries. It was 2011. 89 entries were received from 24 countries. 44 projects were short listed, showcasing the applications countries are doing in terms of ICT4D.
In conclusion, we will say that the progress made in policy formulation and implementation with increased investment in ICT infrastructure requires the attention of decision-makers with regard to promoting and increasing the use of new technologies in the context of the international IG debates. We are talking about IG for development in fact.
There is increasing participation in IG issues recently. We believe with the launch of the Africa Internet Governance Forum in the morning, this will also promote participation of all the stakeholders in the IG issues. We believe also that investing on international and leadership capacities is very important to make sure the continent embraces ICT4D issues. And that is why we are organising these courses for decision-makers for ambassadors and also parliamentarians to be able to have them on board, because they are the one who decide on the future of our continent. Thank you.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Thank you very much. I gathered from what we talked about, there is a disconnect somehow, because the countries that, the different countries they have challenges as regards to access, the regional organisations have fantastic programmes that they have. I'm looking at disconnect there. But I open to the floor for questions or comments you may have.
>> I'm deeply concerned, okay. My colleague say that funds have been set aside for improvement on Internet accessibility in African SubSaharan areas. Okay, there was a season here in Kenya when Internet was a little bit of a problem when they were doing the fiber cable replacement in Bassa; I don't know.
So we need to have other entities for other expertise, to come up with a lot more fiber cable installations, so that as they, should there be a problem on the two fiber cables that are there in place in westland, so that now, it should not hinder accessibility in terms of Internet, because I believe Internet has taken over from hard copies. And you will agree with me that we are doing away with the hard copies issue. Guys are going soft copies, on marketing, on anything. We are all Internet, and it's all about Internet.
So, I believe there is a need to adjust the number of fiber cables that are holding in our waters.
Secondly, I have a deep concern in terms of education. We need to introduce, we need to come up with e-learning systems, where we can, when our teachers bring problems, where we don't want to keep our boys and girls in classes. We can have, we can have the information from books to softwares, where we can now, okay, the computer can, the systems can take over, in taking our kids in classes through the subjects and lessons. I have a colleague of mine who is doing e-learning and it's really working out. Those kinds of ideas that we may want to roll out, so that we can have our evolution on track.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Thank you very much for those comments. Is there any other comments, any other questions? Yes, sir. Just be brief, as brief as you can so that we can get as many. Thank you.
>> I think there was an issue of Malawi that was not responded to, but from UNECA, I think Malawi right now, I would say we have two drafts relating to the CD policy, one for ICT policy and other one which is supported by World Bank on universal access. Now, when these two, in fact, the ICT4D started way before the universal access. So when universal access was presented to cabinet, cabinet thought there was another one that was developed before it, and why is it being bypassed.
I think what first struck the other one was that there was ready support from the World Bank. And the cabinet thought no, you need to make the two documents and present it as a single document. As I'm talking, that is still pending to be presented to cabinet. And we are hoping that it will be done very soon.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Thank you very much. Something is happening. Baudouin.
>> Also started in DRC, but I think support from World Bank is that just in separate area, it is not national ICT. We have that problem also. From that support, we are, we produce DPS, there is a Secretariat document for ICT, but we need a national ICT policy. That is the thing, so we do need it.
I think World Bank is a capacity to do, but there is some organisation, they have also the capacity to help, for government to help ICT, national ICT policy. I think that is the two things, there is two different things.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Thank you. Makane.
>> MAKANE FAYE: Thank you, yes. I reply first to you when you say there is a big disconnect between country needs and regional programmes. I think programmes are built in fact on requests from countries, because we don't come from the top down. We don't do that, because it is not allowed. Any country you go, you have a letter from the minister or Vice President or Prime Minister office.
The disconnect, it is that when the minister or the Prime Minister was interested, send a letter. And after a few months he has left or he has gone. New minister, new Prime Minister is interested. That is why things don't move. Or sometimes there are political struggles or within cabinet and things don't move.
Also for the case, I'm happy to hear that these are two policies and the Government have said, let's merge them or to present one policy. I think they are right. You cannot just have universal policies, national ask for the policy, because this one derive from the other one.
I give the case of Rwanda, World Bank gave a lot of money saying we want to fund eRwanda; went to the President, the President said I have an Internet policy. How do you want me to throw it away and start something? No, I don't do that.
So in fact, Minister of Communication was instructed to contact us. He contacted us, and he did, the first plan was brought on board, and he was the one that did Rwanda 1 and 2 which was a few months ago. So we have to be really cognizant, or as we say in French, with our approach, so when you start something, you have to finish it. You don't have to break it because France is coming.
Everyone knows World Bank has a lot of money. But they don't know ICT4D. Unfortunately, that is the truth. They know applications. They know incubators. But ICT4D they don't know. So the President said, go and so they will come. And we brought our concept and he merge the whole document, and come up with the Nikki plan 2, and now you have developed a few months ago Nikki plan 3 was adopted for coming five years.
>> Maybe we will want to conclude if there are no other burning issues.
>> I have a question maybe involves the African union.
I think that my colleague from South Africa raised this. One of the big issues we have about connectivity in Africa is crossborder connections. I think that while UNECA worries about national ICT policies and the first draft in 1994 that what was needed is a policy on the continent on how to interconnect the countries.
I think this is a relatively big issue. And it will move us from compartmentalizing our connectivity within our countries to really being connected as a region. So maybe, I don't know, while national ICT policies are being developed, maybe there is a need for framework for the whole continent for interconnections. Thank you.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Thank you. That is a very good point. AU wants to respond to that.
>> Thank you. Yeah. I guess I was focused so much on the interconnectivity and forgot the policy component of it. But also in that area, we are, there is a mark ongoing. It may be the way of the HIPSA project, ICT policies in SubSahara Africa, that one they are implementing there or implementing, they implement as ITU, support was mobilized with the European Commission.
So the first phase has just been completed, funding for the first phase, but we have requested the European Commission to extend it, and the second phase begins in January.
We will be looking on these issues, such as crossborder connectivity. Regarding decisions, the decisions are already there. The ministers did adopt the reference framework for ICT policies, so the decision is there now. We are at the implementation level. And HIPSA is one of the projects to achieve this end.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Thank you, Moses. There is one question from Alex. And then after that -- there is a hand. Okay. Yourself and then Alex.
>> Thank you. I just wanted to add on to AU's comment that the East African community is finalizing the initial phase of a framework for the harmonization of ICT policies. That is one.
Two, it has completed a feasibility study on establishment of an East African community, broadband infrastructure network which initially will connect the five East African capital states to create a loop within the region.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Thank you very much. Alex.
>> ALEX COMNINOS: It is not a question or comment, but this came out in the last session I was at. A couple of us had an idea about a south IGF. Whether that would just be an online discussion or, but by the south I mean the global south, we are talking about South America, Asia, Latin America, Asia and Africa.
If you want to get in touch, please send a, if you want to get in touch and involved in the discussion, as to what this would be, please send an E-mail to south.IGF. Or use the hash tag south IGF on Twitter. Or contact us at Twitter.com/IGF. I have an old school information communication technology here, so you can write your name on the notepad if you like. Thank you very much.
>> ULEMU NYASULU: Thank you, Alex. Thank you very much for all the contributions, the valuable contributions. At the moment, I'm just going to ask my colleague, Towela, to wrap up everything. Thanks.
>> TOWELA NYIRENDA: This has been a very interesting exchange of information and ideas.
I want to wrap very quickly, maybe pull out the things that I have picked out as areas, perhaps where there is a bit more that needs to be done.
I think the issue of cost of access came out very strongly as something that needs to be looked at, and this can be done either through incentives such as universal service funds, and I think this is something that perhaps needs to go back to the countries and the Governments and the regulators to actually look at a bit more critically in terms of how do they actually enable the masses to have an affordable access through these means.
The issue of the policy environment also has come out strongly. We have been told that 43 out of the 53 countries, now 54, have policies, and that there are others that have taken almost 20 years to develop a policy, and I think that there is something also that needs to be looked at.
I think the other thing that has to also be considered is that just beyond developing a policy, it's also the implementation aspects of it. It is not just to develop the policy. There has to be the aspect of how do we actually implement and monitor the implementation.
Regional integration and coordination, as far as connectivity goes, has also been mentioned and highlighted as something that needs to be taken onboard. We have heard that the East Africa community has looked at a framework for harmonization of policy, but also for a broadband network covering the East Africa region. And that is something that perhaps the other regions also need to look at. I know Eco also has a programme called Eco Net or something that managed to look at connecting the region.
As we have been told by AUC, there is the HIPSA project looking at the harmonization of the ICT policies in SubSaharan Africa. Capacity building as always continues to be an evolving critical issue, that has to also be addressed.
The understanding of infrastructure also, we need to move beyond now just thinking about the pipes, but looking at now other forms of infrastructure, our data centres, the cloud, etcetera, etcetera.
In terms of our fiber infrastructure, the need for redundancy and for multiple players to ensure that when we have fiber cuts or disruptions, that that does not bring our systems down, that we are able to have redundancy that allows us to enjoy access all the time.
Political instability has been cited as a challenge that can sometimes derail the process, where you have a change of Government or change of leadership, within the ministries, that actually then derails the whole process of either policy development or policy implementation.
And then lastly, the other thing that I captured is this, what I am calling a proactive rather than reactive approach in terms of how we actually manage our ICT development, and this specifically speaks to this idea of not being able to respond appropriately when we have funding or support from multiple sources. And we are not able to take a stand, and after we prioritize in terms of what we actually need for our countries, and I think that for me speaks to being proactive rather than reactive.
I think that does something also, that is something also that should be taken into consideration.
With that, I will thank you all for your contributions. I think it has been a very useful session. I wish you all safe travels to wherever you are going. And we will meet again at the Africa IGF. Thank you.
(Session ends at 16:15.)