The following is the roughly edited output of the realtime captioning taken during the IGF 2014 Istanbul, Turkey, meetings. 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 the understanding of the proceedings at this session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. The following is roughly edited.
>> ALICE MUNYUA: Hello. Are we on? Okay.
>> ALICE MUNYUA: Good afternoon. I would like to start the workshop. I hope you had a good lunch.
My name is Alice Munyua, and I come from Kenya, currently working with the African Union Commission and IDCR dot Africa project. And I'm going to be moderating this session, together with my colleague, here, Enrico.
This is a small room, so I'll let especially the panelists introduce themselves, first, very quickly. And then we will have a note of welcome from Dr. Edmund Katiti, who funded the great research on multistakeholderism in Africa and especially the representation in the IGF and what it means for the Africa region.
So Dr. Edmund Katiti, you have the microphone.
>> EDMUND KATITI: Thank you, Alice. My name is Edmund Katiti. I'm the head of the NEPAD African program, which is the ICT unit within the NEPAD agency. And for those of us who may not be aware, the NEPAD Agency is the technical body of the African Union, mandated to coordinate and facilitate regional and continental priority projects and programmes.
My colleague from the African Union Commission, Mr. Mokhtar, is not here with us, but he sends his regards and asks me to convey his sentiments in terms of why the African Union institutions have been interested in promoting multistakeholderism as far as Internet governance is concerned.
In fact, we have had questions raised as to the African Union, as an InterGovernmental Organisation, and many people think that we work for and stop with working with Governments. But you cannot cause the development on the continent unless you are engaging all stakeholders, and I think that the Internet governance dialog is a good example of where there is knowledge and information distributed between academics, the technical community, Governments. You have different stakeholders playing different roles. But, unfortunately, on the African continent, it has been slow in getting the different stakeholders to come together, whether it is at the national level or regional level, even at the Continental level. So I hope this afternoon's discussion is going to look into some of the research that has been done and to discuss the issues. And hopefully by the end of the day be in a better position to promote molt multistakeholderism on the continent.
>> ALICE MUNYUA: Thank you, Dr. Edmund Katiti. I consider you the Chair of this meeting and thank you for NEPAD for facilitating this workshop.
I'll hand it to the panelists and have you introduce yourselves. I'll start with the Minister Johnson from Nigeria. Introduce yourself.
>> OMOBOLA OLUBUSOLA JOHNSON: Good afternoon. I'm with the Government of Nigeria.
>> TITI AKINSANMI: I am with Google..
>> ALISON GILLWALD: I'm with the University of Africa and University of Cape Town.
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: Association for Progressive Communications. South Africa.
>> ALICE MUNYUA: As you can see, we have very distinguished panelists and experienced ones.
So I'll hand over to my co-moderator to first present the research findings, and then we can open discussions based on the research findings.
>> ENRICO CALANDRO: I'm Enrico Calandro.
I'm going to briefly present you some findings from our research on multistakeholder participation in Internet governance in Africa that has been conducted over the last year, year and a half, with different partners in cooperation with the NEPAD Agency, with funds from the School for Communications, the University of Pennsylvania, and with some Google seed funds to start this research project.
In order to assess and to understand, start the discussion of multistakeholder participation in Internet governance in Africa, it's important to talk about this within the specific ICT ecosystem in the African context, and it's important to understand how IGFs, multi-lateral agencies and also the State and other global players actually are influencing policy outputs and are creating conditions for an improved affordability and access of use to its customers and citizens.
In Africa, there is a big digital divide, as you all know. And the way, actually, Africans use the Internet is different from the global North. Research conducted ICT household and individual surveys. It was in 12 African countries in 2012, and one of the main findings is that less than a quarter of the households have a computer and even fewer had Internet access in the 12 African countries covered by the survey.
At an individual level, in 2012, the majority of countries have less than 20 percent of individuals using the Internet. Also, actually, we noticed that there has been a considerable increase compared to the surveys that was conducted in 2007 and 2008. So that our -- very important growth rates, but still the level of penetration in the majority of African countries is very low.
And another important finding from our research was actually that the majority of Internet users in the last 12 months, since the research was conducted, had used the Internet through their mobile phone. So that there is this trend of mobile Internet and using the Internet through -- through mobile.
What are the use of Internet in Africa? The survey says that actually it's too expensive, so African users still consider the Internet very, very expensive and that's why they don't use the Internet.
We also found out that actually access to the Internet, it's not only important at the national level, but it's one of the main Internet governance issues for stakeholders. We conducted a survey which reached 41 African stakeholders across the continent, and they identified that access and Internet for development are the most relevant Internet governance issues from an African perspective.
And also, the IGF does not have any decision-making power. It actually has been recognized as the most effective forum to represent Internet governance issues from an African perspective. The most effective one, according to our Respondents, is actually the African IGF. It's an interContinental meeting that some of our panelists may talk about. But then it's followed by this kind of meeting at the global IGF and the national IGF, which are becoming more and more and more important in the African continent.
Then it's followed by technical bodies such as the ICANN and the ISOC.
As we all know, there are different factors actually preventing the participation of African stakeholders to IGF. And according to our Respondents, we found out that lack of financial resources is the main and predominant factor affecting the participation of Africans to Internet Governance Forums. But then there is also lack of awareness of dates and venues when the forums are actually conducted.
And we would like to start this panel with a few questions for our panelists that maybe will animate our discussion. And the first question is to what extent is multistakeholderism practice feasible or applicable in existing Internet governance and policy structures in Africa?
The second question is what improvements are needed in order to strengthen African's Internet governance ecosystem and make multistakeholderism work more effectively? And what improvements are needed to straighten Africa's Internet governance ecosystem and make multistakeholderism work more effectively?
>> ALICE MUNYUA: We will ask the panelists to respond by responding to the two questions. Alison, please.
>> ALISON GILLWALD: Just to further contextualize some of the research, we have -- for a number of years, we tried to participate in regional Internet fora. We have tried to raise issues at national and regional levels on the continent. And with the exception of Kenya, there is not a great success story since the Internet governance engagement on the continent. And I suppose this is not a surprise to many of us, because essentially what we are seeing is an amplification of several of the policy problems, the policy process problems that exist at the national level. So, it's quite strange that we expect multistakeholder representation and activity from national Governments in these kinds of fora, when they, many of them, practice multi-processes at home. Even where there are Public Policy processes that are quite participatory, even in countries like South Africa, where they are required to have consultation on public policy, there is limited participation beyond major stakeholders.
And so the -- our regional interests in this research, as it comes through longstanding collaborations with different partners around the table, but also arose last year we were trying to map multistakeholder participation. We have been saying at the International fora for a long time that there is no participation, but let's see what is happening. Because there were exceptions in Kenya and some limited success stories on particular issues in West Africa and Nigeria that consultation had taken place but possibly not successfully implemented.
So the paper that preceded this was on our website, "Multistakeholders in Africa," identified some of the problems which we hope can be addressed through national processes that we can provide frameworks for engagement on, and regional level, regional body engagement, or frameworks that we can provide engagement on.
And then obviously that provides better building blocks for more effective participation in global governance. Because basically, you know, African voices have been pretty silent in terms of Internet governance.
So that was the background of the mapping exercise. I think the Internet governance issue was also an attempt to raise in the minds of policymakers this ICT ecosystem approach that Enrico put up, to demonstrate how as we move from Telco type regulation to Internet governance, that it's sort of in the same, you know, global governance framework as WTO Regulations and those kinds of things. That if we go to participate in global arenas and make global commitment, there is a degree to which one's national determination is given up in some way. You've got to then accept that you're working within these frameworks, which have not been done successfully across many regimes.
So it's really about saying, on the one hand, if you want to -- if African countries don't like the fact that they are excluded or they don't have influence or control of global Government systems, other than very limited participation in ICANN or something like that, then they have to claim that space for themselves.
To those Governments who say we don't care what is happening Internationally, it's got to be implemented at the national level, to actually demonstrate how this impacts negatively on them.
So really trying to sell the idea that, you know, it's in the public interest. It's in the national interest to engage with various stakeholders in order to, you know, mobilize and harness the expertise of people that exist outside of formal decision-making procedures, and to use those to your advantage to influence global platforms, et cetera.
And those countries that are simply stepping back, we couldn't afford to. Many countries stepped back in terms of leadership on this issue because they say we have such big national issues and we can't be distracted by the International stuff. Well, if we focus on the national issues, the International stuff will be nailed down by the time you come to the table. Issues like cybersecurity, to, copyright et cetera. And I think the lack of engagement on this issue, and the traditional familiar responses of African Governments through traditional old Telco global networks and influence, et cetera, has had some potentially very negative impact on Internet take-up and the expansion of an open and free Internet on the continent.
So if we look at WCIT and the African caucus decision on that, with the exception of Kenya, the only country that didn't -- it was a very regressive decision I would argue to support those Regulations that would have effectively led to the end of the free and open Internet as we know it, the iGNO and supported implications.
So often when you speak to Governments individually about that, they don't, in some cases, they don't seem to realise what the implications of some of that decision-making was. So it's trying to get the debates and get greater participation of African voices at the International level.
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: During the WSIS phase, and maybe a bit before that, when the lack of connectivity in Africa was identified as a Continental problem, it was identified in a multistakeholder way. The African Development Forum, in 1998, 1999, was the multistakeholder forum that the UN economic decision for Africa convened in Addis Ababa, so sites working together, and the entire initiative was multistakeholder, the board was multistakeholder. And then that was followed by the WSIS process, where UNESCO at that time still had money, that was before the U.S. left, not that they ever paid much. So UNESCO facilitated a preparatory process that was really also very inclusive. UNESCO's responses went primarily towards Civil Society, but business came because they had resources.
And in the post WSIS phase, a couple things happened. And that is that WSIS didn't have a formal follow-up process, so it became more difficult to follow up on it. But also some of the functions of WSIS follow-up and of ICT for D work that were located in the UN ECA, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, had established multistakeholder routines which were transferred to the African Union, and the African Union Commission, which did not have established multistakeholder routines, particularly not with regard to Civil Society, more so with business. So this made a big difference at a big picture level.
And then the IGF process reached Africa, starting in East Africa, but it has been very uneven.
The other thing to mention is that there were processes in this post WSIS period. There were also processes at parliamentary level. There was an African parliamentary knowledge network which tried to get parliamentarians involved in this.
But most of this initiatives have fizzled out or achieved nothing. Because of lack of continuity and lack of resources.
You still have in some countries in Africa parliamentary portfolio committees, which to some extent might be operating -- might be inclusive, depending on the issue. So it's very erratic. It's not institutionalized. And it's also not transparent. And I think what the status quo really is, is that business, particularly big powerful business, tend to reach Government, tend to be able to participate in processes, because they have the capacity to adjust to the African context. They invest in the right personnel and the right institutional frameworks to talk with Government, because they have to, otherwise they can't do their work. Civil Society doesn't have the capacity, both at a strategic level I think as well as at a resource level.
So the result is this very uneven inconsistent kind of scenario of sometimes there is a conversation, but often it doesn't reach its conclusion. There is often little continuity.
And then the other thing is that if a multistakeholder process becomes uncomfortable, so, for example, if Civil Society starts expressing a lot of criticism, and Government tends to retreat. Or I know of another example where Civil Society submitted comments to a regulator around a digital TV transitional process, the comments were pretty incoherent, and the regulator decided why should we listen to Civil Society? They are incoherent. So the commitment is really not there to institutionalize it.
So how to improve it. I think maybe we can come back to that. I do think it's a bit of a carrot and stick approach that is needed. I think the carrot approach is what Alison was talking about.
Convince Governments that there is a need for this. That it will make policy more sustainable. It will increase compliance with policy, if the policy has been consulted. And if stakeholders believe and have a commitment to this policy.
But I think we really need to not just convince governments, we really need to convince business that are not yet able to have effective reach to policymakers and to governments.
I think the status quo --and they often are global companies or large national companies are able to influence policy, are able to interact with Government because they have the resources. But there are many other private sector stakeholders out there who don't have those.
And I think in effect -- and I might have -- it might be a very unfair assessment, but I think that some business entities don't want a more multistakeholder process, because the status quo of them using existing channels to influence policy actually works fairly well for them.
But Internet companies are really in that category.
>> ALICE MUNYUA: Thank you very much. Now the African Internet Governance Forum, the fourth one, was held in Nigeria in August. And
We are quite lucky to have you here and it will be interesting to hear your views on how the multistakeholder model works when it comes to policymaking. And the reason why most of the African governments are not involved in these processes, and what do you think about the comments from Anriette that governments really do need to learn how to engage effectively and efficiently in the multistakeholder environment?
>> OMOBOLA OLUBUSOLA JOHNSON:
Thank you, Alice.
Yes, the African IGF held in Nigeria, we hosted it in July, one of the biggest achievements, we had the highest number of people actually attending that particular Africa IGF. And also in terms of diversity, it was actually a very diverse multistakeholder group.
So I think that the process of involvement and engagement in Internet governance is improving in Africa. It's taken a while, like Anriete has said, but it is improving.
And I think also when you look at the definition of multistakeholderism, it means many things to many people. Is it equality in decision-making? Is it equality in access to these kinds of meetings? There are a number of things that it can mean. And I think when you look at it, if I bring it back -- therefore, it's complex when you are talking about multistakeholderism and Internet governance.
When you look at the institutions that are involved in the different multistakeholders, particularly in Africa, many of the institutions are doing things other than Internet governance. And I think the biggest challenge that we have is that this is not or has not yet -- is not yet a priority for many of them. There are many things that we are struggling with in Africa, many of the institutions you are talking about, they are looking at many other things apart from Internet governance, even though individual countries have declared that the Internet is an important part of their socioeconomic development, but many of the institutions don't have it at the top of their agenda. So getting them involved and engaged in the process of Internet governance is in itself a process.
What is also important to mention, that is one of our own -- so these institutions need to be strengthened.
But one of my own major concerns is that when you're talking about equality in terms of having a voice, whether regional or global forums, when you have a voice you've got to be able to -- that voice has to be able to speak intelligently. It has to be able to articulate itself well, and it's got to be able to make its own case. I think that was a point that was made earlier on in the panel.
Unfortunately for us, many African Civil Society organisations, NGOs, and even Governments don't have that capacity yet to -- and the kind of capacity that we have in western economies, to really speak intelligently, articulately, and make their case. And that's because we're probably a couple cycles behind when you look at the Internet. You know, we are the next two or three billion that come in from developing economies. We haven't been as engaged as we should have been. We haven't been as engaged in the Internet governance process because it hasn't concerned us, in a sense. But now it concerns us. But now what we have to do as Governments and Civil Societies is to prepare ourselves to have a voice in these forums. And unless and until we do that, talking about multistakeholderism is really just going to be very superficial.
Because when you look at a multistakeholder approach to doing these things, every voice has to be heard. And when you want to hear a voice, that voice has got to be speaking articulately, intelligently, and make it a very strong case.
So I would advocate that we need to look at ways of increasing capacity and competence to speak at these kinds of forums.
I looked at one of the slides that Enrico put up where it talked about financial resources. I don't think I can disagree or agree. That doesn't matter. That's what he said.
It's not really about financial resources. We can get everybody to these kinds of forums, because it's not financial resources. It's about making sure that when you are here, here, your voice is listened to. There are actions taken in the context of what you said. And so I see that there is a very important process for African countries, African economies, to really develop the capacities and competencies to speak.
I think it's really important that we have more Government representation, particularly in the multistakeholder. I think the Governments are very, very important, not to crowd out, because it's multistakeholder, everybody has an equal voice. It's not to crowd out the other participants or the other stakeholders, but it's because, like I said earlier in the morning, Governments have a very important role to play when it comes to Internet governance and the utilization of the Internet and how the Internet actually impacts the socioeconomic development. And because of that, we need to get many more Governments involved in this process. And from what I've seen, I'm a new -- I'm new to a lot of the processes, having just been a minister, but I think that we don't have enough African Governments participating in this process. We need to do a lot more to get them involved. Even at the Africas IGF, I think we had 2 or 3 Governments represented, which is just not good enough. Because if you look, the representation was very much skewed to Civil Society and the private sector. So we need to do a lot more work in terms of getting Government representation, but ensuring that that Government representation doesn't crowd out the voices of the other stakeholders.
>> ALICE MUNYUA: Thank you very much, Honorable.
Titi, one of the biggest challenges we have had at the national and regional level has been trying to engage African businesses in especially Internet governance. And actually, to be honest, at ICANN processes.
You work with Google and Google is very heavily involved in nearly all of these processes. But we rarely see any of our African businesses. What do you think would be the challenges and how do we bring them into this space so that their voices can also be heard?
>> TITI AKINSANMI: Thank you, Alice.
I wanted to start off first with this comment that interpretation of hearing people's voices significantly differs as well. When you give an indication that a platform needs to be able to have all the voices, that is not necessarily (inaudible) all the voices have the power to create change. So I think that is one of the biggest contentions when it comes to the conversation around Internet governance. Get everybody's voices there, yes. But then what power does your voice carry? A lot of that can be influenced by building capacities at the local level and making sure it's relevant.
Now, the answer to your question, I think African businesses in general have not been able to identify to a large extent what impact the conversations around Internet governance has on their bottom line. And I think if that can be put at the forefront of our conversations, it will make a difference.
One of the things I found useful in my work over the last two years working with business is where you are able to identify and work with industry associations -- so think your Internet Service Provider associations, think your Telco associations, think of your software practitioner associations -- where you are able to engage with them, because these are the bodies that are usually quite heavily involved on the policy advocacy side of things, I think you'll be able to bring in a lot more African businesses.
I think on the second level is the fact that African businesses work in a very different environment, economically, as compared to what you will find in Europe, in Asia, or in the U.S. Where the ecosystem already quite supports business getting involved in policy development.
A lot of the lobbying skills, a lot of the ability to understand the issues beyond the economics of it does not necessarily lie within each of the businesses, but lies outside of it. So to that extent, speaking to this point, a lot more capacity building needs to be done. A lot more -- and when I say "capacity building," it's not necessarily technical skills, but the ability to be able to connect the dots on why conversations around Freedom of Expression directly connects the conversations around local content, which connects to your ability to develop your access software developer or even be able to sell your wares as an eCommerce developer. Those are the places when it begins to come in.
And I wanted to make one last point around the need to review our traditional approach to policy development. Consistently, we have had Civil Society, we have had Government, private sector, following particular parts that have worked. But when it comes to Internet governance technologies in general and Internet policy, the conversation shifts in that it goes beyond jurisdictions. So that ability to draw strength from networks and from in our case across our continent, I think would bring to bear a whole lot more strength as well.
>> ENRICO CALANDRO: I would like now to open the discussion to the public. It would be interesting to answer this question, how can we improve engagement from the private sector on Internet policymaking processes. If somebody would like to share personal experiences, coming from Africa, from other regions? Yes, please.
>> AUDIENCE: You talked about African entities that your surveys showed to be relevant to Internet governance. And I noticed that you didn't have Africa Top Level Domains. So was that out of not knowing of TLD or anything?
>> ALICE MUNYUA: Vika, please introduce yourself and your affiliation.
>> VIKA MPISANE: Hi. I'm sorry. I'm Vika Mpisane from the .ZA Domain Name Authority.
>> ENRICO CALANDRO: Actually we included the private sector in our survey. I was just presenting just a few results in order to start the conversation and discussion. But very soon, actually, there is a presentation also from our website and you'll see actually how effective these kind of organisations have been in addressing technical issues related to Internet governance in the African context.
>> ALICE MUNYUA: Alison?
>> ALISON GILLWALD: So that question threw up the organisations or entities that the people who were surveyed identified the most.
As I understand it, the Top Level Domain names were on that list, but they didn't come up in that top category.
>> AUDIENCE: Okay. Can I make a contribution then? I just want to clarify that.
Originally from the contributions or the input that has been made about multistakeholderism in Africa, generally I think the -- and maybe I'm wrong, the panelists may correct me -- it appears at least to me that we -- that there tends to be a tendency or an assumption that we are all on the same page about what is multistakeholderism. The definition of it is one area that is confusing, you know. And it will help to clarify what do you mean by multistakeholders.
Two, who are the multistakeholders? You know, because we attend different fora, in particular ICANN, and we are used to the bottom-up policy development processes, including multistakeholderism. But even then it doesn't mean that it's a clear process. It doesn't mean that some of us aren't satisfied with it. It is confusing, because there are no clear parameteres about who are multistakeholders? And how is a multistakeholder -- or how is a stakeholder identified and categorized within this process?
One clear experience was during the new gTLD planning process between 2008 to 2011, where the board of ICANN said now we can level new gTLDs, you will see a proliferation of the same faces wearing different hats arguing the same point. So he is seated within the business constituency, and all of a sudden he is wearing a Civil Society hat, arguing the same point.
And that at least from the country where I come from, I know the politicians, that's one area of witness that they are very unhappy with with the multistakeholder approach. So that is important.
The thing that is important for Africa as well to think clearly about how we handle who participates in this approach.
Another point is also the issue of if you identified multistakeholders, and it's more the fault not on anybody else as it is on Africa, to be honest, is who feeds our multistakeholders, with what? It's fine and good that one sits in positions, but where are Africa's positions? I've hardly had any position that is truly African. You know, what I've heard is really just a reshaping or I don't know how it is, or a restructuring of positions that are, let's say, elsewhere. And for us to know as Africa what our positions are, we need also to identify what issues that are relevant to us. What issues are part of the African agenda?
And also, decide, let's think a bit more. Is access really so much of an Internet governance matter or is it just a matter of Internet penetration? Because there was a whole facet of access, as an axample, that I don't understand so I may be wrong, what does it have to do with governance of the Internet? A country that has to provide access. A country that has a broadband access, that's what we mean by access, really. It doesn't sound to me to be so much of an Internet governance matter, at least at the regional and International level. We have to provide a structure and broadband and all that stuff. It's less about governance. Security is a governance matter, and many other issues. Privacy is an Internet governance matter. Intellectual Property protection is an Internet governance matter.
So we probably need to think carefully about what other issues really fit into the scheme of Internet Governance? That would be my contribution. Thanks.
>> ALICE MUNYUA: Thank you very much, Vika.
We have -- yes, Andrew. Please introduce yourself and your affiliation. You may need to use the microphone, because of the transcript.
>> AUDIENCE: I'm Andrew Mack with AM Global Consulting in Washington. And we do a lot of work in and with Africa. A couple observations. One is that this world is a very, very complex world and it takes a long time to get spun up on it. So one of the things that we have been thinking about a lot and we discussed with many people in the room is the idea of having preevents, especially when we're doing something on the continent, right? So prior to the Nairobi meetings, for example, bringing together for half a day potentially interested parties in the NGO world or in, let's -- not so the academic, but the NGO and private sector especially, where it's not necessarily their full-time job, but who have an interest and could contribute. If we could have a short course on this, lending your experience. One of the big challenges that we face, the bench is not deep. We have a small number of people who really know this.
So I think we can expand the footprint nicely, but do it in such a way that it doesn't slow everybody down by doing a bit of training of interested parties.
>> ALICE MUNYUA: Thank you, Andrew. And I think -- yes. I'll come to you. But I think to your point about a preevent, I think NEPAD and Dr. Torella especially with the EPC are already involved and have created an African IGF school. You may want to talk just a little bit about that.
But first I'll take the question from the lady. You have to introduce yourself and your affiliation.
>> AUDIENCE: Hi. Good afternoon. I'm Stephanie Muchai from Article 19. We are based in Kenya and we work in the eastern African region.
I just wanted to weigh in on a couple issues. First one is the voices of IGF. With due respect to the panelists, I would strongly disagree that there are no articulate voices on the issues, you know.
For example, we have all of you up there. And most of the panels that I participated in since I got here, most of the voices that I heard are European, American and South American. So I don't know that the issue is that no Africans were found to speak on our positions or no Africans were sought. Because if I see all of you there, that means that there are people to speak and we are also here.
And the issues are not so complex. If we are talking about representing the issues, I don't think we need to be thinking about, you know, complex things.
For example, if we're talking about access and somebody is saying about broadband and things like that, if you have a practical understanding of the African context, broadband is a good thing. But if you think about access right now, you would have to think about smartphones. Because broadband, we are starting from electricity first in many areas before we start talking about broadband.
So I'm not a techie. My background is law. But I would say if you are talking about smartphones and you have these arrangements where people come together and someone charges people for charging their phones, I would talk to people about providing content to make it available on the mobiles. I would talk to people to make smartphones more available and more affordable. You know, all of these things. And that would provide greater access than getting stuck on access means you need a laptop and a broadband connection.
So first is to get people innovative ways to do that. So it's not hard to articulate positions like that. I don't know, and maybe I can be advised, if the opportunity is provided or sought to start with, and then people fail to find people, or whether it's just not so.
Secondly, you asked about sharing experiences. I was a member of a task force in Kenya where ICT laws were being reviewed. And we had the state, we had private. I was representing Civil Society along with others. And the challenge that I saw to the multistakeholderism is that everyone is in their box. So Civil Society is in their box, private is in their box, no one is trying to understand the other's position. So when I come to the table and I'm just pushing my positions, I'm just going to demonize private and the Government. So I'm not trying to understand their interests and trying to develop a consensus minimal position. I just come in there like a bull, ready with my position, because I'm right, and this is what is best for the people. But this person has investments, they have things that they need to do with. That is the nature of their theory. So with multistakeholderism, we have to be able to cross cut. If I'm coming to the table as Civil Society, I need to be able to understand who else is at the table. What are their interests? How can we best come together? But if I don't learn about their terrain and what their bottom line is, then it's just a waste of time. I won't be able to do this for a long time. It won't be a successful thing.
The other issue for us is prioritization of issues. So I come to the table and my priority is human rights and the Internet. Our biggest mobile provider, Safaricom, that might not be their priority. Even in infrastructure sharing and discussions like that, we will have a very different approach. So another challenge for each stakeholder is how to prioritize their issue. If development and infrastructure, winning the day in most African countries, then other stakeholders have to learn how to get their issues prioritized. And they need to demonstrate the value to each stakeholder, not just come across and say this is the right thing to do. What's the value to the stakeholder? And that just takes, like Titi said, it's a difference in approach to policy making. Not just in processes, but even in how you think and what you bring to the table and demonstrating value to each stakeholder. That doesn't happen a lot in a lot of the African contexts.
With the governments, most of them are interested in what extent the process will help them serve their purposes. And that's a big block and a challenge. But we can't sit around saying it's a block and a challenge, we have to figure out ways around that as well. And that goes back to thinking beyond your space and your stakeholder box, if it's going to work, to be able to involve others.
>> ENRICO CALANDRO: Would anyone like to answer to some of the points, like access or Internet governance issues for Africa? What do you think about it? Yes, thanks.
>> EDMUND KATITI: I think there are elements of access that are governance issues. And as the previous speakers just mentioned, issues like infrastructure sharing, like many. But it also is that there are many issues around access that have nothing to do with governance. So you find that in the Internet Governance Forums, there is a range of issues to be discussed, although they may only have certain aspects that need to be addressed. And sometimes when we are going to discuss Internet governance issues or any types of governance, maybe the starting point is to first discuss and understand the issues and the challenges, and then we will understand where we need to engage on the issues of governance. And hence I support the idea of capacity building pre-events, because they do have a bearing on the Internet governance discussion.
>> OMOBOLA OLUBUSOLA JOHNSON: I think that was a very good intervention in terms of should we be discussion access at these kinds of forums. And I think we should.
And that's because you need to look at the definition of access. You can define access by just saying it's an infrastructure access. Do people actually have access to the Internet? Do they have a physical connection to the Internet, physical or wireless or whatever?
The other aspect of access is what do they have access to? There are Governments and countries that are interested in regulating what content you can access to the Internet. And that's one of the things that we discuss here at the Internet Governance Forums. So if you look at access simply from that connectivity point of view, maybe we don't have to discuss it here, and every Government should have an access plan and they can implement it in any way they see fit.
But if are you looking at the Internet as a global resource, it's a means of development, it's a means of bringing the whole world together, then you need to worry about the regulation and the fact that we are, in some instance, there is a danger of cannibalizing the Internet. So the Internet means different things in different countries and we have to talk about that in these kinds of forums.
>> ALISON GILLWALD: Thank you. I'd like to pick up on that as well.
I think it has been a criticism of Internet governance in Africa, the issues you raised around, you know, whether maybe the softer issues or noninfrastructure or nontechnical issues are issues of Internet governance.
I think it's this conception of Internet governance as a technical and managerial kind of thing. And we have ICANN. It does it. It's not broke, et cetera, et cetera. And I think -- and the whole engagement on Internet governance is actually to acknowledge that there is more to it than simply technical management. Technical management is critical. We have to get it right. And we have to make sure that we don't break it in the process of doing other things. I think that's absolutely critical.
But the notion of governance as opposed to management and as opposed to Government, is that it's dealing with something that is more than just, you know, a technical thing. So it's a socioeconomic issue. It's a political economy issue. As soon as you move beyond the technical and you look at the economic interests that are in that so-called objective technical system, these issues begin to emerge. So there is big money in the matter of technical -- of management of the Internet.
And then of course there are the political dimensions and the dimensions of the -- control of the system.
So I think we compel to move beyond the purely technical aspects, to look at the political economy and the social aspects. And then you look at who is participating and who does have a voice? And it's not about there being no African voices in the Internet Governance. It's how effective are they? Who is actually influencing decision making? Who is consistently setting the agenda and benefitting from the outcomes, et cetera.
And to take this from a purely technical or economic side, but to take it to the political. I think we, you know, we have been compelled to deal with some of the economic issues, because they just confronted us. It's not just a technical issue. It's what you do with economic growth and all that kind of thing. We are going to hit the wall and we are already hit the wall on the underpinning political issues and the human rights issues that have to be at the core and the centre of what we do.
And this is not for some other body. This is for Internet governance. This is for ICANN andthe Internet Governance Forum and for people to deal with. A good example is where you moved to say access is not an issue, then you say security is. Privacy is. These are appropriate issues for you to deal with. The underpinning of these issues is certain assumptions around human rights, around your right to privacy. The trust we need to build on the net for economic purposes is tied to the Freedom of Expression.
So, you know, Uganda is a fabulous case now. You've got one of the most progressive mobile markets in Africa, very effectively regulated for a long period of time. Highly competitive, and in a very repressive stage with a lot of closing down on some of the Democratic gains made there.
If you take the issue such as the restrictions on gay and lesbian activity and communication, which can lead to life sentences, et cetera, this is a severe constraint on the ability to use this global resource that we have that we have to safeguard and keep open.
So I would really urge us to, you know, keep all of those things in balance. And while we are protecting this, realise that -- we ought to pay as much attention to some of the other things as well, because those important technical and economic things, we often don't get the benefits of either unless we do.
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: Responding to both Vika and Stephanie, I think Vika you are absolutely right. I think we do have to clarify the concept of multistakeholderism.
As this conversation between Allison and I, I do think we also need to clarify what is meant by Internet governance, and whether we have the narrow position or the broad position. I actually find that one of the most confusing things for me is this concept that comes from the technical community often, which is governance "on" the Internet versus governance "of" the Internet. I don't understand it at all. I think in real life they are all mixed up.
So I do think access is, if use the approach of Internet Governance encompassing broader Public Policy and regulation, I think access is part of that and enabling policy and regulation is part of that.
I think there is also, in a sense, a political agenda here that comes from the tradition of self regulation that is strong among the Internet sector. I mean like ICANN and ISOC. I think there is a tendency here to narrow the discussion, because I think they fear that by broadening the discussion into a broader Public Policy discussion, Titi's company might have to start paying more tax or other implications. In an Internet sector which is not wanting a heavy burden, for good reasons. I'm not saying I disagree with that. But I think it makes it so there are -- this definition of what Internet governance is is not just -- it's also a political definition.
But I think the clarifying multistakeholder, I really agree with you, because I don't think people -- it's come to be defined as business, Civil Society, Government technical, sometimes academic. And I think for me what happens in that narrow definition is that often the people that are being affected are the ones who often get left out. And those could be the people who live in a remote village where there is no access. No mobile, no broadband, or no fixed access. And they might be a mix of stakeholders. Some of them might be in business or some of them might be teachers or they might be in Civil Society or they might be local Government or traditional local authorities.
So I think we apply this model in a way that actually sometimes I think destroys the real purpose of being multistakeholder, which is to bring those that are affected by a process into that process. So I do think it's something that needs to be defined. And what I really love about the NETMundial statement, which is the statement that emerged from the Brazil meeting in April, where different stakeholders, these traditional ones business, civil Society, et cetera, came up with a statement of principles. It says the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders vary according to the issue that is being discussed. And I think that is really taking us forward.
And just also responding to the feeding of the positions, I think you are right. And this touches on Stephanie's position as well. We are not all organised as separate stakeholder groups. We're not all organised enough. I think Governments are not often well organised enough. And I think they are entitled to be. But I think it's hard for them to be. And I think there is real separation here where you have, through the African Commission, you have a real improving process of ministers of communications and information technology working together and sharing positions. But when do they ever sit down with ministers of education or agriculture or health? So there is often a breakdown.
Civil Society, we are also not sufficiently organised, and we don't -- we're not able to formulate positions effectively. I think absence of data is also a problem. And that's why I think research is really important. Because formulating positions, we will do better from the basis of knowledge and access to data.
So I think the idea of pre-events is a fantastic idea. And we have, with NEPAD and others, we have used the pre-event formula at the Nairobi IGF last year and at the Egypt IGF the year before and this year at the IGF, we focus on one issue at a time. But every time that we have done that, people have done what Stephanie is saying, is actually go beyond your silo. And these are multistakeholder pre-events but made up of different stakeholder groups. And really discuss a problem and try to understand that problem from one another's perspective, not just from your own perspective.
So yes, I think all of these points are really valid. It's not easy. I have suggestions, but I'll come back to them at the end, of mechanisms that we can try to introduce to address this problem.
But it's not a simple problem.
>> ALICE MUNYUA: Thank you. I think we will take another round of questions and comments. I'll start with Ana and then Vika.
>> ALISON GILLWALD: Alice, can I just make a point of order?
>> ALICE MUNYUA: Please, yes.
>> ALISON GILLWALD: I suppose most of you in the room do know that names are all jumbled up. So if this serves as any record, I know if Dr. Katiti goes back in my records with his name, he is going to get into a lot of trouble there. So I'm not sure if it's for the record or for purposes here. I'm sure the rest of you here are following.
My name is Alison Gillwald. I think at the moment I was down as Anreitte, and Anreitte is Edmund Katiti at the moment.
>> ALICE MUNYUA: Sorry about that. Yes, we will sort that out.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you. I'm Ana Neves from the Government of Portugal.
I'd like to say two things. One is that I admire a lot what African countries are doing on this field. Because I -- I think that you are doing much better than we are doing in Portugal and in some countries in Europe. So I think we have a lot to learn from each other.
So in April we had a summit of the heads of state from Europe and Africa. And one of the points is Internet governance. So I think that we should -- we should see how -- to take advantage of the resources made available, to promote and to work together, to change best practice between our countries on Internet governance. So it should be some work of short, medium and long terms. But I think that we should start to work on something concrete for the next IGF to present something.
>> ALICE MUNYUA: Vika.
>> VIKA: I think Anreitte in closing, you made a statement, but she said she has a couple of ideas but you can't say them right now. But I'd like to know -- that's how I would like this panel to close withat the end. To give us at least some ideas, if possible, for the next 12 months. Because the ongoing one, the ongoing Internet governance debate is not waiting for Africa. That much we should accept. Maybe some ideas on what Africa should do going forward would help. How do we participate in the process. And also what battles to fight and what battles not to fight. The battles that would be useless for us to fight and the battles that would be key for us to fight for.
But we have the main issue of at least each state clarifying what exactly is required out of it.
I think the point I made about access, especially, I'm clarified that there are two sides of the same coin. One side is governance, one side is purely about management. But we will definitely need to clarify who wants to participate.
The most important thing is that I hope that we can have champions from the region who can formulate such positions that are really in the interest of our region, not only what we hear other regions say. That is currently the gap and that's currently the most concern, at least from where I stand.
>> ALICE MUNYUA: Thank you.
>> TITI AKINSANMI: I just wanted to come back quickly on the two comments that came earlier. Vika you asked what do we mean by truly African. And that is at the backbone of a lot of the issues that we are currently facing. The fact that there is a strong technical community on the African continent that is not necessarily as engaged as it should be with Human Rights. What someone would term the social aspects of the IG conversation. Why is it that we consistently have a disconnect?
So being able to identify that. That onus does not lie outside of this space but actually lies with the stakeholders that have been having this conversation.
The second thing to come back to, part of what Stephanie has said, is that -- and just to -- some clarification. The focus should not just be on the events. The Internet governance conversation, it goes way beyond the conversations that we have in the spaces or when we have the EF IGF.
I think some of the spaces where we have the biggest gaps is that we come as individual stakeholders, to some extent prepared for the events. But beyond it, we don't engage. We go back into our silos. And those who focus on human rights and access continue do that. So that's one of the gaps that I'm hoping we can address as well.
The third and final thing is that the complexity of the Internet governance conversation does not come from the silo issues, but in being able to understand how they all connect. And the impact.
So I just wanted to be able to go back, and that was to Steph's particular point.
And this is the final final point. It's not a lack of African capacity to speak. We do have experts in the room. But the key thing is those experts are few and far between. That's why you find people changing hats literally in the space of one conversation to go from being business to Civil Society to something else. And that's another major gap in being able to identify the experts on the silo issues who can then be ramped up to better understand how we connect to the issues that are most important to the technical community, to be able to take it forward. Thank you.
>> ALICE MUNYUA: Please introduce yourself.
>> AUDIENCE: My name is Dumisani Moyo. I'm with the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa.
Just a few things. I think a lot has been said, but I think talking about the challenges of multistakeholderism in Africa, I think aside from the issues that have been put on the table, I think one of the things that I think is quite clear is the suspicion that you find among the different stakeholders, that there are stakeholders from all sorts of angles. And there is no understanding of some of the shared interests that could actually be put together, harnessed to get to the greater good, when you bring issues to the global IGF.
But another thing that is critical is the lack of planning and strategy among actors within Southern Africa. Because I think many countries still don't have structures for debate on governance issues.
And I think one critical thing is the absence of the state in Internet governance issues. I think if you just look at the presence of the U.S. State Department in this meetin, overall, it's a huge deployment. In Africa, you know, you have a minister here, a representative from Government there, and so on. Our Governments are not taking this issue very seriously. What is -- when you look at it, it's not just an IT thing, it's not just a specialized issue thing. It's a public interest issue, which must necessarily be driven by our Governments in a number of ways. So that absence of the State I think is critical. So I think our challenge is also to try to get the State involved in Internet governance issues as much as possible, not just to be talking among ourselves. Because the more we have Civil Society and business talking to each other in the absence of the State, you find that that conversation is limited. Government is where policy change takes place. So we need to have Government present in all of these deliberations. Thank you.
>> ALICE MUNYUA: Mr. Lucky Masilela and then Dr. Katiti.
>> LUCKY MASILELA: Thank you. I've been introduced already. Lucky Masilela from ZACR, South Afric.
Just a question to the panel here. When we refer to multistakeholder, are we also in the back of that word assuming equality? That the stakeholders in that entity are equal and will be participating in an equal footing, and thus the end result will guarantee a form of a Democratic society or Democratic Internet as we want to define it?
And, finally, what is of value out of this multistakeholder structure? Is it the structure itself or the process in itself of reaching a particular destination? Because I feel that in a multistakeholder model, it is a process that is of value that would feed and inform quite a bit of things that we need to achieve in society.
>> ALICE MUNYUA: Dr. Katiti then Titi.
>> EDMUND KATITI: Thank you. Let me first talk about participation. I think the point is having everyone free to equally participate. But that does not mean that we will all make equal contributions.
But, originally, I wanted to talk that we may need to conduct some research into participation of different stakeholders in African IG discussions. From the African Union perspective, or those of us who have been participating to the African IGF and some regional IGFs, it appears that in some regions the discussion was started by Civil Society and have failed to attract many of the other stakeholders to participate. In some regions, the discussion was started by some Governments, and have failed to attract other stakeholders.
And I think this might be one aspect that we can research into and try to find ways of bringing more stakeholders into the discussion in all the regions of the continent.
>> ALICE MUNYUA: Titi.
>> TITI AKINSANMI: I'll track back starting with what Dr. Katiti just said.
One of them that is very useful is where the Nigerian Government has played a very strong role in sustaining the IGF process. And one of the things I know that the Honorable Minister has done is reaching out to all the African Governments to do the same. I think that is what would be expected of Civil Society where there is a stronger representation.
And then to go back to what Lucky said. Process of final impute and equality. What came to my mind was George Orwell. "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others." In the space of Internet governance, that is not what we should beaiming for. What we should be aiming for is process that gives equality. And that equality is not jeopardized when some players have greater powers to shift change impact or completely bring in a different output, even if the process has been great. And in a lot of policy processes, we tend to have people do a check boxes. Check consultation, done. But the final output is not representative of what the process has been.
That's why it's so much tension in that it's a complete shift in the way we thought about policy development or policy interventions or governance in general. I want to be clear. We should not be aiming for all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. But we should be aiming for the fact that all animals are equal, and in the Kingdom output must reflect that equality.
>> ALICE MUNYUA: Thank you. Remote participation.
>> REMOTE MODERATOR: So I have a comment from the remote participants. This is actually the Africa virtual hub, being hosted by DiploFoundation.
I think one of the comments basically is talking about the whole issue of participation. And they say that sometimes it's also a matter of knowing how to join and to be effective in the processes. The question asked is that are all experts from Africa involved? Capacity building is important not only on technical and infrastructure issues, but also how to be involved in the regional IG policy processes.
>> ALICE MUNYUA: Thank you.
Alison, do you want to respond to that? I saw your hand up. The remote question?
>> ALISON GILLWALD: So I just wanted to pick up. It does sort of resonate with what has already been said. But it goes back to that issue of, you know, who selects, who is the multistakeholders. That was raised early on, but I think that was a very good point.
Lucky, I also, hate the word multistakeholderism but we don't have a better word to describe it. But for me, I like to speak about multistakeholder processes. We are trying to get the processes that are engaging, that draw on the expertise and diverse interests, to produce a better thing than those people making those decisions on their own. So I think for me, very much, it's a process of that sort.
Who qualifies to be in that process? Who is selected and are they all equal? I think the only thing that can be done is for it to be set up in a way to make it as open as possible. It's a self selection process and a transparent process that will expose anybody's interests, good or bad as they are. So, you know, I don't think people have to be concerned about how do we -- we want to make people aware so all people can participate. But I think you want to make it as open as possible for people to participate. We do have some of the privileged multistakeholderism going on. There has been consultation with these stakeholders and these people. Actually, it's not -- it doesn't produce the kind of consentual outcomes. We're not going to have consentual outcomes in everything. But I think you do want a distilling of the interests and see what common ground there is.
And having said that, I think it is important and I think it has been touched on, but the whole issue of multistakeholderism has been kind of polarized between the multistakeholder process and the role and functions of the State. And the State is actually responsible -- and the -- these organisations, these processes are detracting from the State.
And I think -- for me, I would very strongly want to say that that is not the case at all. That I ultimately see the State as the body and entity that has to take this forward, that has to implement. So all of these things ultimately should be feeding back into Public Policy, into regulatory implementation, into domain name, et cetera, kind of activities that make the process work.
It's just about getting the best input into those to get the best policy, et cetera. So I see the role of the State as absolutely critical.
So for that reason, I think we have to hold States accountable. Especially those States that claim to be the product of Democratic decision-making and have Democratic prerogatives to say that you are responsible for the public interest and this is where you haven't delivered.
So I would propose some solutions. By the next meeting, there are a number of areas that we get technical clarity and input on. And what have been seen as some of the softer issues. In terms of Internet governance, some of the critical issues that are facing Africa are of course the access issues. And I think it would be useful for us, we have worked on the South African Broadband plan, and our colleagues in Kenya worked on this, our (Off microphone) worked on this, and we informally, those of us who worked on it, have been liaising. But there's really not been bilateral Government support on these issues, and especially those countries who might not have had the resources to draw on (Off microphone) the smaller countries.
So I think there is an access and looking for opportunities. And this is where, you know, I -- with some sense of futility, I do appeal to our regional economic communities who do not have a good history in terms of being able to deliver on these issues and being able to help us out of some of these intractable problems.
But these are issues which could breathe some life into them and make them also, you know, assist countries in the region to do it. So I would suggest that we look at some of the access issues. A critical issue, in terms of moving beyond access, is the demand stimulation issues. a lot about broadband policies look very successfully at the infrastructure side. Some of them less successfully at the demand side issues. And I think that is really something that you have to look at. And a critical issue of course are issues around pricing. And the pricing issues in the data environment have levels of complexity that are different. And the dangers of poor regulation in that area could have very devastating consequences both for investment and for citizens.
So I think it -- the whole issues around Internet exchange points, regional Internet exchange points, peering, IP transit, are really things that would be valuable of people thinking about within an implied context of Internet governance. What are the implication of these issues beyond the national level, that would be important to do.
And the third thing that I really think we need to try and do, and I know there are efforts around that. I know APC has been involved in that, is getting greater commitment from Government in similar forums so that you're not dealing with separate people in separate forums on issues like the African Charter on Human Rights online. What is that? Give it to us.
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: The African Declaration on Internet Rights And Freedoms. Is that right?
>> ALISON GILLWALD: So getting those different groups, those people who are meeting before the next IGF, but not in their little silos or bubbles, but speaking to each other across, you know, across these forums would be very valuable.
>> ALICE MUNYUA: Anriette. And I think we already started addressing concrete recommendations, so you might as well as you are responding to the questions, present them as well.
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: I wanted to disagree with something that Alison said, but now I can't remember what it was. So I'll just make my closing comments.
Oh, yes, I know what it was. It was about the role of the State. I agree that the role of State in the Internet and Internet policy is critical. But what we have found with multistakeholder processes, myself and at least three other people in this room have been to a multistakeholder Internet regional, sub regional Internet Governance Forum, organised by a Government, at which there were, aside from (inaudible) and myself, there were no Civil Society present. Most of the business there were global or local affiliates of global companies. And at that multistakeholder Internet Governance Forum, where the vast majority of participants were Government, a resolution was made that said that the multistakeholder process can only be initiated by Governments. So I think that is also something that we need to reflect on. And it's also, I think, a risk of pushing in a top down way this obligation on Governments that they should be initiating multistakeholder processes, when they don't really feel ownership and when they don't feel that comfortable with the changed behaviors that are involved in this.
So what I think -- Lucky, I just want to respond quickly. I agree with Alison. It's not so much about the equality of stakeholders. I think that the -- that demanding that won't help us. It depends on the type of decision that is being made or the type of process that there is.
I do think that there are some things that we can do. Let me quickly -- Vika, I don't normally do this, because I hardly ever writ anything, but I did write a chapter for a book called "Beyond NETmundial," where I was asked to look at mechanisms that can support multistakeholder processes. And I won't elaborate on them, but the type of mechanisms identified were having stakeholders have space. Governments need space, Civil Society needs space, businesses need space. They need to talk to one another in a multistakeholder space.
Capacity building. But minister Johnson highlighted that. Having an information clearinghouse. I think we don't have enough of that. We don't have -- we have the African Commission, we have NEPAD, we have research, ICT Africa, but we don't really have -- we have the Alliance for Affordable Access. I see Sonya there. But we don't have a sufficiently comprehensive space where you can find out who is doing what in Internet governance and Internet policy in Africa.
Having a normative framework, and this is where the African declaration comes in, but there might be other frameworks as well. But it's useful if you want to work with different stakeholders, particularly if there are conflicts of interest, to have something you can talk about.
Again the NETmundial statement is useful. It says Internet governance should take place in the public interest. And that can really shape your conversation. The African declaration tries to do that as well.
Another normative framework, I'd love to see the African Union pass a resolution that delegations to International meetings, such as ITU meetings or WSIS meetings from African governments are multistakeholder. We achieved that during the WSIS. Many African Governments had multistakeholder delegations that they sent to international events.
Research and evaluation. That's another mechanism and I mentioned that.
And then forums. I think these forums that we have are important, but not just events, as has been said by Titi. When we talk about an Internet Governance Forum, we shouldn't just be talking about an event. It should be a national process where we institutionalize those conversations. So that when the policies are being developed, or there is an international event where a country has to develop a position, there is a space you can go to. Whether it be a monthly meeting, a quarterly meeting, I really don't care. But that we create the habit of talking to each other. And if we do that habitually, we will also get better at it.
Finally, we need a mechanism that outreaches to Governments. Governments need specific mechanisms that would link them to the multistakeholder processes. And I think that needs to be done.
So in terms of going forward, I think we need to take initiative. And I want to use the example here of, I'm going to name them and praise them. Not name them and shame them. Gabriel and Ovtavia, we didn't have a national IGF in South Africa this year, and they decided we have got to do something. In the space of three weeks they got together and organised an IGF. They are young entrepreneurs, and they did it. And it was fantastic. But then I think not just initiative is enough. Respect for initiative is important. We didn't have any Government representative at that event. They were invited, but they simply didn't attend. Of course it's hard to Governments to attend events at short notice. I know Edmund wants to disagree with me.
But, and in fact, when discussing this with the Government, they said but we are going to organise our own national IGF. So it wasn't called the South African IGF. It was a provincial IGF. But we have to recognize initiative and we need to respect it.
I think with regard to the IGF, and this is a long-term thing, getting to Vika's 12-month thing, I think one of the reasons why there are so few African speakers here is because there are so few African workshop applications. The way the IGF works, you have the main sessions, but they are pretty -- they are not that important in the IGF. They are quite boring. The real discussion happens in rooms like this. We need African institution, governments and from other stakeholders, Civil Society, et cetera, to organise those workshops. It is part of the Internet governance challenge. It is bottom up. We can see from people like Vika and Lucky who were working in the ICANN process, they are present there because you've been making an effort. And we have to do that more broadly. So apply for workshops like this one and others, and find the resources. Sorry.
And the time one is just that I think this is about -- it's not just about multistakeholderism or processes. It's ultimately about governance. And it's about governance in Africa, recognizing three things. Sorry, I'll be -- this won't be long. Not to fear the Internet. To deal with that fear, that -- I'm not going to elaborate what that fear is related to.
To recognize human rights, and that the Internet is linked to human rights and you need to respect human rights on the Internet.
And then the most practical one is a vision. And I think we still don't have that. That Governments in Africa really understand that the Internet, with all it brings, is a driver for development. So if we get those things right, then the multistakeholder processes will work better as well.
>> ENRICO CALANDRO: Thank you, Anriette.
I would ask the Honorable Minister if she has some recommendations, concrete actions, in order to improve participation.
>> OMOBOLA OLUBUSOLA JOHNSON: Thank you, and I'll try and be quick.
I want to link my recommendations to one of the slides you showed which was around what were the most relevant Internet governance issues for Africa? The three top ones were access, Internet for development, and Internet content. And I think that for me, the recommendation I would give is probably linked to what everybody has said. And that is that the need to bring Government into this process. And if I use Anriette's words, it was linking Government to the multistakeholder process or attracting Government into the multistakeholder process.
And I think that has got -- when we say Government, a lot of what we have brought to the process so far has been Ministries of ICTs or Government institutions that are directly involved in ICTs. And I think that as Stephanie made the point, that point was made in the earlier plenary session, where we need to involve much more than the ICT ministries or ICT Departments or agencies. Because when you look at the three priorities I talked about, it's about the supply side and the demand side. Now, the supply side could be addressed by the ministries of ICTs and regulators and all of that. But the demand side is going to come from other Government agencies.
So, for me, one of the biggest challenges I have as the Minister of ICT is that I need to convince the Minister of Finance that even though the telecom industry is liberalized in Nigeria, we still need Government intervention to fund supply and demand. Now, bringing that kind of -- those people to these kinds of events, I think it makes it clearer to them why we need to do these things, when they hear from other stakeholders.
I think for me the important thing is bringing Government into this process, but it's not only about the ICT ministries, it's about the whole of Government into this process.
Getting heads of Government to appreciate the fact that this Internet Governance is an important issue at the national level. It is a strategic issue for African Governments to focus on, and so therefore we must be involved in this process of how the Internet is governed going forward.
So in terms of the next 12 months, I think if the next Africa IGF that we have or the national IGF, we would have made tremendous progress if we are able to attract ministers or Government representatives other than those that are directly related to the ICT sector.
>> ENRICO CALANDRO: Final remarks from Dr. Katiti to close the roundtable.
>> EDMUND KATITI: Thank you so much. I wish to thank the panelists and participants for a very lively discussion.
I think we have reached or obtained the purpose of this engagement to look at the challenges that the multistakeholder model in Africa faces, and hopefully we are in a better position to work on it and make it better going forward.
I thank you.
(End of session 16:00)