Open Forum - African Union

7 December 2016 - A Open Forum on Other in Guadalajara, Mexico

Also available in:
Full Session Transcript

>> MODERATOR:  Good afternoon, everybody.  Thank you for making the time to be with us here today.  This session is about the feedback from the African IGF that took place from the 16th to the 18th of October in South Africa.

I think the IGF was a three-day occasion.  What happened, this was the first ever that happened during the IGF that we had a high level meeting before the main event, where we had experts coming to talk about topical issues, issues that are of interest to us as Africans and can we take the Internet innovation forward as Africans.  It was the first that we had more than four ministers present at the IGF.

For me, I think we need to build on that momentum.  For as long as we have had the African IGF we never had senior officials or ministers in the meeting.  This was the first time.

I think going back home we need to communicate to our government official, communicate to our governments to say this is an important issue and we need to participate actively.  What happens here is going to influence what happens in Africa.  It is a very important forum for us to be part of.

For us in Africa, this will actually, it completes the multi-stakeholder process or the multi-stakeholder approach.  Most of the time governments are not part of the discussions that we are having.  It is like we are speaking alone and the policymakers are not listening to what is being said.

I'm sorry, I work for the Department of telecommunications and postal services.  Without further ado, the first panelist is Adiel Suleiman.  He is the senior policy officer at the AUC.  Over to you.

>> Thank you, Paola.  I would like to highlight some of the ...

(Microphone not working properly.)

>> Some of the achievement also of this vision of the IGF that too place in Durban, South Africa.  As well as also talk about the challenges.  One of the highlights, I think the rest of the speakers also will speak about some of these issues, but one of the highlights that we introduce the African Union declaration, net governance.  Actually in the previous IGF.  And this is kind of an example that shows that multi-stakeholder model is working. 

And also the process we are very proud about the process through which the African Union, the Internet Governance was drafted and worked on.  It is a bottom-up approach where the draft convention, the draft declaration was put online for everybody to make comments and then commencing with the call for the African Union ministers of ICT looking at the convention and also making contributions.  And in Durban, making some sort of proposal to put forward the convention to the head of state to adopt, consider and adopt the convention.  So we think this is kind of a multi-stakeholder working.

I have five minutes.  I think I need to go to the challenges.  I think, number one challenge is that everybody in the room and all the ICT experts believe that the ICT is the enabler for the Africa to leap frog into the 21st century.  Indeed, also in achieving the SDGs.  But not everyone is sold on that.  Particularly the political leaders.  They are still, there is a lot of convincing that we need to do.

So what we are facing was the lack of the political will, the so-called political will.  And somehow for us, the action taken by South Africa to invite ICT ministers is welcome.  And this is kind of one way to mitigate that lack of political will to include the policymakers in the discussion.  So that they are informed about the issues and then we can also get their buy-in into this notion that ICT should be the enabler for the Africa to join with the 21st century.

Of course, we don't have all the answers.  That's why we have this discussion.  And I think my colleagues is going to speak to some of the answers in his presentation.

The second challenge is to do with trust and confidence in the use of ICT.  So throughout our discussion during the African IGF, almost all the speakers, they spoke about this efforts to rebuild trust and confidence in the use of ICT and what needs to be done.  It gets to a point where you think that maybe some of the important actors are telling us:  Fix it.  We won't use it until you fix it.  We want to see improvement.  We want to get confidence back again into the ICT so that we can use it.  So I think this is one of the main major challenges that we face.

The last one we are, when it comes to what we do, the work we do, I think we always aim at having an impact.  And to do that, I think in the last IGF we thought about kind of streamlining the recommendation so that the recommendations can be tracked and followed upon in the following upcoming IGFs.

And in that context I think we are facing with kind of a question.  We at the Secretariat.  You know, it is something to do with the multi-stakeholder group attending the meeting.  Whether they have the mandate to speak for this particular group and of course in turn, whatever the outcome or recommendation that is coming, in this context is it viable recommendation outcome?  And one answer to that question is that maybe when we have enough participation in that, in all the groups, then we don't have to worry about that aspect.

But again it is the age of resource.  And if you think about these three challenges, maybe if you solve one, then it is a domino effect and the rest is going to be addressed.  Like if you somehow, if the stakeholders have the confidence in the use of ICT, then they will invest in ICT and then you will have more participation and so forth.

But so this is to lay the ground for the discussion and the kind of challenges that we are facing in order for us to kind of have very concrete recommendations and output.

I was told my time is up.  And I think with that I will stop.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR:  Thank you so much.  The next speaker is Dr. {Malwaki Chungo}, going to give us feedback on the African School of Internet Governance.

>> Thank you, Madam Chair.  So I am Malwaki Chungo, a Professor in Togo.  I also am the founder of Digital Access Consulting, in this field of Internet policy and governance.  So AFRISIG is one instance among those few region-focused capacity building programmes around Internet Internet Governance.  There are a few of them.  It started with Europe, I believe.  And Latin America also has one.  There is one in Asia, if I am not mistaken.  And AFRISIG is the African one.  This year was the fourth edition of this school.  It stand, as you know, as you have guessed, for African school of Internet Governance.  It is convened by the association for progressive communications along with the agency on behalf of the African Union.

So I think it has been that way since the inception four years ago and this is, this year is the fourth edition, as I said.

It is generally starts with a call for applications and we receive a lot of applications.  And this year actually I am very pleased to say that we have, we had a good bunch of diverse, a mix of government people, civil society, first and foremost, of course, government sometimes, lawyers, students including Ph.D. candidates, soon to be maybe professor faculty.  We have also staff, sometimes staff from international cooperation agencies and so forth.  So it is usually covered a lot of different profiles, cut across a lot of different profiles from different stakeholder groups, different institutional affiliation and this year was really a good harvest, if I may say so, because after a thorough assessment of the applications we chose depending on their resources and I believe we had about 30-something people this year.  Frederico, if you know the figure?  We have more than 30 candidates selected?  Forty-five, very good.  Much more than that.

And the process this year as kind of surprised me.  I'm not going to talk about on behalf of other people, but I am one of the faculty, facilitator for the learning process.  I was very much surprised and positively so by the merits of the people we have this year they each gave a good, built out of this a good vibrant community that managed to carry forward the message and the take-aways and outcome of this programme.  And today they have formed various groups.  One that I'm aware of at least is a what's up group where they keep sharing information about Internet Governance and Internet Governance issues, and keep talking about what they have learned and the ramifications, the implications in the respective regions and countries in their respective jobs.

Now, the link with the African Internet Governance comes through the practicum that we organised during the training process.  We have that particularity.  We give a lot of presentation, but also panels, discussion panels, a lot of inter-activities and including what we call practicum.  The practicum is that they are given some theme, topic, issues to work on and the form, from the different stakeholder groups to negotiate around those issues to come away for common statements.

This year was really interesting because a lot of the negotiations went on and people really played very well their roles.  You won't tear some people away from their activists; they were playing a government role and they play very well.  Some others were playing business, et cetera.  And they came up with a statement on, a common statement on the issue.  The issue this year was Internet shutdown.  So the exercise was so interesting, so much so that the common statements was carried over to the African Internet Governance Forum and they delivered that statement during the proceedings at the African IGF.

The interesting, one of the interesting aspects of organizing the AFRISIG and the African IGF together is the practical aspects of what the learners, the students have learned during the school can be implemented or can be carried over to the actual Internet Governance forum, interacting with government notably, but also various stakeholders.

So the AFRISIG class of 2016, they participated a lot in the IGF, the African IGF proceedings.  Not only did they deliver their statement but also many of them volunteered to be rapporteurs.  And they were involved in the various debates and they even organised their own sessions on different topics and came at the closing session to deliver their outcome.  So that is one of the very interesting aspects of this.

We can come back to details in the questions and answers.

>> MODERATOR:  Thank you very much, Dr. Malwaki.  I will hand it over to our next speaker to talk about the key outcomes and the possible future.  He is a member of the Security Council of Nigeria.  The cofounder the Nigeria IGF and a member of the MAG. 

>> Thank you very much, Ms. Moderator.  I would like to respond to my colleague's request on some information that he posted across.  And then I want to respond to what you are requesting us to look into.  But I want to emphasize one thing.  Please, will you permit me to speak as African, a concerned African?  Because I have observed that we have always been engaging in Internet Governance Forum over the long period of time.  We have had enough of the talk show.  We have had enough of engaging the community, the same community all over again.  And we have also have had enough of engaging in international programmes or events like this.

But I am concerned about this.  A question that we should ask ourselves:  Where are we really going?  What is really the impact, the value that we are trying to derive from all this participation and all this documentation and all that?

Now, before I could provide a response to that, I want us to look at certain things.  Now, I would like to emphasize that the current approach to Internet Governance in Africa is extremely one-sided.  It is not yet multi-stakeholder.  Because when you talk about multi-stakeholder mechanism, then you have the equal representative for the stakeholders group.  When you look at the multi-stakeholder structure that we have now, you have government and probably some civil society and few -- want to say active participation the business, student, youth.  I have to give it to them.  The last year, the African IGF we can see the input of the youth and I can tell you that that is quite impressive.

But taking it from there, I want us to look at how can we expand the frontier of Internet Governance in Africa?  How can we build a wall?  We have three products.  The first product which have, the African constitution on cybersecurity.  We have the IGF, Internet Governance charter.  We have the outcome of the Internet Governance which has been on a daily basis.  We can measure the impact of these documents.  What have we been able to do?  Let me streamline this on cybersecurity?  I know I have little time.

See, it worries me that the African country seems to embrace more an international document, but when it comes to our own document then you find ourselves asking question, question, and question.

My intention is not really to blame ourselves.  But what is the real theme that is making Africa not to embrace its own policy document?  If it is incentive, if it is funding, how can we address the issue of funding?  How can we bring people who can organise the product that we have so it can be, the other stakeholders can accept it and look at it in a manner that this is a document that has to do with our future.  How can we drive it?  How can we support it?

Then on the Internet Governance, the way we are running Internet Governance in Africa, fine, I really want to give kudos to the veterans that have been doing that.  I think there is a need to learn from what EuroDig is doing.  It is essential for us to have African Union, you know, maybe provide secretarial support, but I think there is a need to have the cooperation of all stakeholders, most especially the business community.  When I was discussing with one of the organisers, we were talking about issues of funding.  I said Africa has funds.  You know, I don't want us to be coming to the international programmes like this and always be looking for funding.

Let me use the, there is only one company in Africa that has been funding it.  I'm talking about GLOW.  Why?  Because the impact and the cost is well communicated to the business society and they are supporting it and funding it.  How can we communicate to the outcome of Internet Governance process to the stakeholders, especially the business community so that they can fund what we are doing.  They can be engaged.  Then we can actually build trust issues.  There can be no trust if we refuse to provide an enables environment that will bring the other parties into.

>> MODERATOR:  Excuse me, time is up.

>> Let me stop here until when we ask questions.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR:  Thank you very much, even though you didn't give us the recommendations that we requested you to give us.  So the next person, not the recommendations but the key highlights of the high level meeting.  That is what we are expecting.

But now I will hand it over to my friend in NDI who will talk about the recommendations of the IGF and also the issues of inclusiveness and trust in Africa.  He is a senior librarian.  Over to you.

>> MANDIAYE NDIAYE:  Thank you, Madam Chair.  I am a librarian and I am in IFLA, the International Federation of Library Associations.  I'm the president of Senegal's Library Association.  I guess we are going to share about the recommendations that we heard from the African IGF 2016 in Durban.  For each session we had a recommendation, assisting the role of Internet Governance in the Sustainable Development Goals.  The stakeholders recommend that the government needs to partner with libraries to deliver on national development plans.  And also government must embrace Internet Governance as a social governance tool for community transformation.

For bridging the digital divide in Africa, we issued two recommendations:  Government support by civil society should launch campaigns and design programmes to sensitize women on how to use the Internet, including on issue related to woman's rights.

Government must also support by private sector needs to developing more digital content.  About Africa's digital economy and Africa and human rights on Internet.  It is, the African declaration rights and principles should be adopted and implemented by all stakeholders.  The other thing is the government also, the media, private sector and civil society should initiate educational programmes at the community level.  And in local languages that would raise awareness on the Internet and promoting IGF forums.

Connecting the next billion, which role for Africa?  Here also government and Parliaments should establish a framework for promoting local content development and consensus.  And regulative bodies must promote affordability of the Internet to people in Africa.

Third, local government needs to create community networks where communities provide the Internet access for an among themselves by connecting via network or wifi access point.

Privacy issues in the Internet, it was recommended that African Member States should sign and ratify the AEU convention on cybersecurity and personal data protection.

And also all stakeholders should promote measures on rebuilding trust and confidence in the cyberspace.  And also reinforce capacity building on Internet Governance issues.

Inclusive development in Africa.  We found that African governments should establish clear goals specifying what was needed to achieve the digital agenda.  Governments, private sector and regulators it get government agencies to migrate from IPv6 and reduce the cost of access to the Internet.

About the youth and entrepreneurship and innovation, also the digital transformation of Africa, government should involve young people when creating policy for the youth and children.

Government need to integrate innovation and entrepreneurship in the education system and support helping to teach young people education.  The African Union, Pan-African radio and television projects should take into account the needs of the youth.

And so approval the African IGF charter and reports on the general IGF concerns.  The draft charter must be made available online to receive input from all stakeholders.  For the steak of the recommendation of the IGF 2015, government should respect multi-stakeholder approach in implementing national IGFs.  IGF should be organised according to the bottom-up approach so as the nationality and regional, continental levels are up to date.

Recommendation of the various IGF should be taken into consideration in government, subregional and regional organises for action and plans.

Those were the issues that we wanted to share about the recommendations, Madam Chair.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR:  You can provide that?  Thank you so much.

The next speaker is Ms. Mary Uduma going to speak on building on the outcomes of Durban and paving the way for digital transformation in Africa.  She is the coordinator of the Nigerian IGF and African IGF.  Over to Mary.

>> MARY UDUMA:  Thank you, Paola, Madam Chairperson.  Before I go on, I want to correct the name of Chagu, my colleague.  He is not Olivier!  His name is Chagu Lugali.

Now, we are going to look at the way forward.  Some of us were there.  Others were not there when we came up with the resolutions and the recommendations.  Okay?  There are some that are low hanging fruits that we can actually get hold of and implement.  And how can we implement some of the recommendations?  We need buy-in of all the stakeholders.  First, we need that our governments, our countries, our states, whenever AU has a meeting with them, you should be able to represent the recommendations somehow to them, for them to also realise.  Some of them didn't even know what was going on in the Internet Governance space.  I was so glad that the south African government came in full force to the African IGF in Durban.  So it is a good development and there were others wondering whether the AU was going to use that as blackmail or not for the heads of states, look, that thing is there.  We have to do it.  South Africa is on board.  All of us, to know the multi-stakeholder, the implication of the multi-stakeholder approach of Internet Governance.

So the buy-in is very, very key to us.  Amongst all of those things.  We also want to look at low hanging projects we can kick off with.  The business sector, for instance.  How can they key into these recommendations.  What should business sector take over?  We are talking about digital literacy.  We are talking about bridging the digital divide.  We are talking about economic and social investment.  They are also need to know that there is a business case for them in the Internet Governance, just like Chagu said, we have not heard much from them in this space.  It is only when they understand.

So when there is business activity, business sector programme in the continent, can we take these recommendations to them?  Can we take Internet Governance aspect, some aspect of Internet Governance recommendation to such programmes?

Many things happen, many programmes happen in Johannesburg in South Africa, in Kenya, in Nigeria.  So when we have such programme that is focused on business sector in our economy, can we bring the fact that there is business in Internet Governance so that they can see the business in it, the business value in it and then key into it.  We need that.  We need to do that.

We have educational programme.  We said governments should collaborate with libraries.  I think libraries is a strong one association in Africa.  I think these recommendations, the library association should take it up as well.  And make it known in their own programmes as well.

We need to track these recommendations.  We actually, when we come to Internet Governance, African Internet Governance next year, we need to have a measurement and see whether we have made progress at all or we are still where we are.

We also, I think the collaboration and partnership issues, partnering with our traditional funders and our new funders that we can find in the government, the collaboration is very, very key and important.

So we should not just be talking but we get it done.

And our teachers don't even know, are not digitally skilled.  How can we take advantage of our recommendation and get to our school, teach our teachers to teach our students?  And they too will also be able to benefit from what Internet presents.  And we have the academia in our Africa.  I am not sure they are playing their rules or they are playing the type of rule we expect from them.  How can we take this message to the academia institution, academic institution?  Our universities should go into research.  There should be research.  They come up with one thing or another.  I was listening to connectivity just a few hours ago.  And some of the new programmes or some of the new statutes or some of the new mechanisms, even the Europe is doing has now to be able to connect their communities, connect our universities, the universities.  We want to challenge you people to go into research and get money for your efforts.

Maybe I'll stop there.  My time is up, right?  So that we could also discuss more on it.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR:  Thank you very much, Mary.  Just one thing that I wanted to add.  You know when I started speaking I said that you know, I think the process with the IGF, the African IGF in Durban was the beginning of the process of engaging government and making sure that government is there because it doesn't help coming up with recommendations when they cannot be adopted at the national level.  So even though we can say that we will want to monitor the implementation, but if we don't bring our governments on board, then we will not move.  So I think the important thing is to try to serve as high as possible when we go back home.

The other thing I want to say, you know when we do the national Internet Governance Forum and then there is the global one.  For Africa we need to focus more on our problems and challenges so we can find solutions, African solutions to our approaches.  We cannot say we are like everybody else.  We are a unique continent.  We should always take that into account when we discuss and when we have dialogues that we need to come up with all solutions and not try toe adopt from others when it doesn't assist us in any way.

I will open up for questions now.

>> Sorry, Madam Chair, I think there is a point I missed.  One point I missed is that we have the national IGF.  We have the regional and then we have the African IGF.  And I think we should try as much as possible to link the three so that at the African level, then we are talking about some of the issues that are at the bottom of the things, which have come from the national to the regional and then to the African level.  That is the only thing I left out.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR:  Mactar, you have the floor.

>> Thank you.  My name is Mactar.  I am Head of the African Commission and with my colleague we are actually supporting the Secretariat of the African Internet Governance Forum.  I have three to four key messages I wanted to convey.  Number one is to complete what Adeili is saying with regard to our challenges.  He did not mention the financial challenges we have as the Secretariat in terms of securing the required amount of money that will allow us to keep on organizing the forum.  Specifically, this coming year will be actually a big challenge.  We hope we will make something, but it is also very important that from the participant point of view to make sure that you are also somehow contributing at least by sponsoring yourself to participate.

I know it wasn't traditional for the last four years.  We have actually all the time made it happen in terms of bringing most of you to participate on that, but the challenges with budgets sometimes can happen.  And we have to be ready for this such kind of situation.

I hope we will be finding a solution.  But in case of, just be prepared.

Number two, is about issues raised by my brother from Nigeria.  He actually said it right in terms of the issues specifically related to cybersecurity.  The UN Convention on Cybersecurity.  People have a tendency to try to confront the conventions.  It is a useless game.  It has no sense at all.  One is addressing cyber crime at the international level.  And the other is specifics not just with regard to personal data transactions in Africa, with the aim partly on cyber crime.  I don't know why people have to put them in competition.  Senegal, for example, has signed both and ratified both.  So why are we having a problem?  And in any case if there is any issue of ratification of that convention, you can always ask why and questions and then we will be able to assist.

But from the government point of view we haven't seen any problem that is happening.  It is very, I have a concern.  In one hand you have the technical people asking questions while they are not pushing any agenda within the national platform to make this happen or not happen.  And at the same time you have the government to actually not asking any questions, but in the same time not moving forward.

So what happens is we are not moving at all.  And this is why I am coming to the recommendation which is my message number three.  Most of the time we do recommendations, very good recommendations, brilliant recommendations, but there is no follow-up.  We from the African Union point of view, we convey the outcomes to the organizations, to the governments through appropriate channels.  But it is expected that those who were participating will go at the national, regional level and start pushing them.  Unless we define another mechanism through which we are pushing this, and that we need to discuss at the forum over there.

And my message number four is the question he came up with with regard to why, what kind of setup we do have, why the business is not participating, why the private sector is not participating.

Now, we as a Secretariat, as I was saying in the beginning, are pushing those who quote-unquote cannot sponsor themselves to come.  And most of the time we are thinking.

>> MODERATOR:  Mactar, I have to ask you to stop.

>> MACTAR SECK:  One last one.  One, we are trying to push for civil society, academia to come, but we expect that the government representative and the business will come.  The business never show up.  Why?  That is another question we have to address and that will be at the forum also to discuss that.

I had a lot of things to say, but you know we are --

>> MODERATOR:  We are almost out of time.  Any more questions?

>> My name is Moez.  I'm a Kenyan citizen on this occasion.  I just wanted to raise the issue of the African Internet shut-downs that we have seen and the unfortunate eventuality of not having even an official statement from the African Union, especially to the government from which you operate from which is Ethiopia.  As much as we really would want to say yeah, these are governments and as such -- I mean, African Union is just another group of African governments.  Africa has been moving fast to incorporating nongovernment members into the community.  So when we don't see African Union actively pushing against some of these extreme forms, then we feel like maybe African Union is just, you know, actively participating in the principles that you are advocating even in the African Union cybersecurity convention.  At no point whatsoever can a government justify complete shut down of Internet, whether State of emergency or whatever.

My point, as an African citizen, I feel like the African Union is not doing enough to push back against this detrimental push from governments around Internet shut downs and censorship.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR:  Thank you.  I'll take another question.

>> Yes, this is not a question.  I just want to make a statement on some of the comments that have been made here.  I do believe that -- it's Federico, representing the Action Coalition and Inside Namibia, two organisations in Namibia.

And I just would like to state up front, I'm fairly new to the IG space.

One of the things I noticed and I feel that we really need to talk about is the logistical elements, which are some of the things raised here.  And if we want this to work, it has to be a two-way process.  From the national level, as participants in this space and from the AU level.  For instance, AU level can help us open doors within our governments.  And speaking from a Namibian context, our government is -- well, to become clueless in this space.  And so there, you get to us, you can ask us to help them understand and actually facilitate -- we are serving now on the working committee for our long NIGF which we hope to have next settlement.  And one of the issues is that our government and regulators and the people tasked with getting this off the ground from the government side are fairly clueless.

And so we need some sort of mechanism to help us open doors.  And I think that will also help us with, for instance, going to business at the local level.  If the AU office, for instance, can give us some official endorsement to help us in that sense. Because, you know, we operate in an environment where people are like official accreditation.  So we need that sort of assistance.  And once we have that assistance, perhaps we need to be creative about funding our African IGF of the perhaps using that sort of accreditation we can inspire our local IT sectors and ICT players to help us capacitate upwards towards the African IGF level, helping us fund certain activities and things like this.  It should actually, because of the constraints that we operate in, we should actually be looking at very creative measures to help us fund.

But that would require of the AU office -- I'm saying this in very friendly terms because I don't get the sense there is a lot of outreach going on.  So that would require a lot more pro activity from the AU office towards the national level and the subregional level.

So that also, I think, an aspect that feeds into that is the issue of research.  You spoke on a panel yesterday on data and the credibility of data within our context.  Capacity --

>> MODERATOR:  I'm sorry.

>> I'll finish this point.  Helping African organisations, research organisations and researchers to actually be doing IG related research, country specific, region expect so we don't get to these platforms and have to rely on data and research from somewhere else.  And aggregated to reflect us as part of a bigger --

>> MODERATOR:  Thank you, Frederico.  You have the floor.

>> Thank you very much.  This is a question to Mactar.  You mentioned the problem of the African IGF funding.  Can you please explain why this is a problem that is now happening?  Because I remember the three first IGFs that there was no problem with funding at all.  So out there some sponsor refuse now to pay?  Is there any reason for that?  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR:  Imla.

>> Hi, I'm Imla Gandhi.  I want to make two points on Internet Governance.  I think in Africa what we need to do is not to copy and paste the global Internet Governance agenda but I think some of the problems that we are facing in Africa is because we are trying to be the U.K., trying to be the U.S. -- God forbid -- but we have to localize the Internet Governance agenda to suit the needs of Africa.

And I think the other challenge that we also face as Africans, we actually had problems coming to Mexico, visas are an issue.  Just saying I am going to Mexico for a visa, coming from South Africa, is just a problem.  It is like you want to traffic something.  So I think it is the practical things, the visas.  They are so expensive.  Just getting a U.S. visa I think is more than $500 for most people, most Africans.  There are practical issues I think we can look at.

>> MODERATOR:  Thank you, Imla.

Go now?  Okay.

>> Good afternoon.  I'm Natasha.  I'm from Namibia.  This is Namibia's and civil society's first attendance of the global IGF.

And I don't really want to comment much on what was said by the speakers, but I want to share my experience as an African here, what I have seen since I arrived on Saturday.

We have had pre-meetings before the conference started.  So I was aware.  Namibia is very new in the IG space.  It was both government and civil society that made a conscious decision this year that we want to get involved actively in the IG space.  So we have as government, Namibian government and civil society we have begun to engage, and we go to the African IGF meetings in Durban and started talking to the government.  So we are really interested in IG now.  But Namibia is a leading country in freedom of expression.  We don't have a problem with Internet access, but we don't have freedom of speech challenges.  If you have Internet shut downs, we are quite free environment.  One of the freest in the world actually. 

But I wanted to say that even though I was aware of the fact that Africa, Africa IG there were understandable challenges everywhere, and I understood before talking to people that have been working, other Africans who have been working in this space before, I was aware of the fact that the African voice at this space is basically unheard.  Very little, we don't really make impact.  We just are here window dressing, walking around.

And that we are not really heard.  And being here the past four days has kind of confirmed that for me.  I have been embarrassed to go to panel discussions and to various spaces and seeing, number one, how the narrative around Africa, every time speakers want to make an example of things that should not happen, Africa is used.  We as Africans are not on panels.  And if we are there on panels, then we are there as the victim that was saved by the waste.  But I wanted to say that even this is embarrassing.  I have seen a number of Africans walking around the past couple of days.  Where are they?  I want to challenge AU and the civil society activists, we need to change the narrative in our presence around IG issues in this space.  We need to do better.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR:  Thank you very much.  Point taken.

You know, we have run out of time.

>> I believe they --

>> MODERATOR:  Can you give us ten more minutes?  Okay, Mactar, I'll give you two minutes to respond.

>> MACTAR SECK:  Five important questions.  I will try to be very quick without going over.  Number one, the sponsorship is coming from the AU budget.  And some sponsorship that is coming.  Most of the sponsors, some are used to give 20,000, I'll give you 1,000.  That's one thing.

The AU budget actually has been cut, and that is why it is happening.

On the outreach, we have endorsed the regional Internet Governance forums through the regional economic communities to make sure that they are the ones driving the national IGFs.  So the one actually has been empowered to do this kind of thing.

However, we provide the endorsement for any regional IGF that will happen.  We sponsor it and we push for it and we come to support it.

Technically, with funds and everything.  But I will explain that later.

The Imla, I definitely agree with you, we need to have our own definition of what is multi-stakeholder.  We can not copy the multi-stakeholder as defined today because those are the defined giving to the governments less power because they have advanced that kind of matter.  We in Africa, for instance, the government is a job creator.  The main, he represents, he funds academia.  He funds the civil society.  He does everything.  And yet if you go to the definition of the multi-stakeholder, he should not play an important role.

Then South Africa and African Union do have a position on that, and developed that.  I am speaking quickly, but you know, I should have shut down.  By the way, you don't have to feel bad about it.  Africa is not the only country where you have the shut downs.  That is 2.4 million lost last year because of the shutdown in Middle East, in Asia, in Eastern Europe, everywhere.  Africa is not the only one.  We are very sorry.

>> (Speaker away from microphone.)

>> MACTAR SECK:  No, we don't have to be worried about that.  African Union Commission is very sorry about that.  And we try actually to talk to those countries, but again the commission itself is composed of the Member States.  And they are the one saying yes or no.

>> MODERATOR:  Mactar, I am going to have to cut you off.  I need to --

(Overlapping speakers.)

>> MACTAR SECK:  I would just tell you, the entire story about shutting down is not because they wanted to shut down.  Because they have a security concern, most of the time coming from outside.

>> MODERATOR:  Mactar --

(Overlapping speakers.)

>> MODERATOR:  Sorry, can we not have a dialogue?

I will give an opportunity to the panelists to wrap up.

>> I just wanted to conclude by circling back to my initial concern with regard to the lack of political will.  I think if we have political wills, then most of the issues are going to be taken up by the stakeholders that are concerned, whether it be government or private sectors.  And to answer the question with regard to the organizing of IGF at the local, regional level, I think Mactar addressed part of it.  But people need to think about the sustainability.  And I think South Africa is a very good example where PPP was in action and most of the cost was beared by the private sector.  People need to take note of that, thanks.

>> MODERATOR:  Thank you.  I hand it to you.

>> Thank you.  Two points of the government participation.  This is crucial.  I am one of the people who have been complaining about we are having a multi-stakeholder process, but without governments.  As long as you don't have government around the table, you are not going to have political will.  So far, I think the AU participation, although AU is the Pan-African intergovernmental organisation, it is just a programmatic agenda.  It is not a political agenda.

So you need government to be involved to have a political agenda, political will behind it.  So I was happy to see the involvement of South Africa last time around.

Our process is like we talk about bottom up process, but our process is kind of also top-down in the sense of it goes from international to local.  So we need to, although it is not a bad thing.  It is good ideas may come from international, but now we need to localize them on research.  Research takes time and money and resources.  And I just want to draw your attention to the fact that the western world has never made any significant progress without research.  But in Africa we don't give a damn about research take.  That is a problem.  I'm a researcher, I know the struggle.

(People calling out.)

>> MODERATOR:  Can we have order, please.

>> I have been called by a citizen of Nigeria saying African research is lacking.  Many countries, research is an issue.  Research is the abandoned child of all this.  We need to do research in order to make progress.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR:  Thank you.  I hand it over to you to Mr. Olugbile.

>> OLUSEGUN OLUGBILE:  I want to correct an impression from my colleagues.

>> Excuse me, you have one minute.

>> OLUSEGUN OLUGBILE:  Number one, I would agree with you that Africa has not been having any part of the impact at the global level.

Let me communicate this clearly.  The current IGF team, they have so much debate, we have it within the MAG.  We came together and formulated that.  And we, but what we have not done is take advantage of what we have done, to take advantage of that.  We have not seen the African coming before, the inclusiveness we are talking about is the Africa we had in mind.  That's number one.

Number two, you can not recreate a multi-stakeholder model.  It is there.  What we have not done is implement that principle.  Number three, I want us to learn from Nigeria and Internet Governance Forum.  What we have done, we have multi-stakeholder model.  We bring the security law enforcement, law maker, everybody and we communicate the values of NIGF that has been the secret of our success the last five years.  The last one which I want to emphasize, the business community.  You see, if you don't have the Africa IGF you are not going to get the attention of the business community.  We need to repackage it, bring a business guy, not to commercialise the process, but you have to recreate the value.  Business wants to listen to value.  I can't sit here, you want me to sit here for the whole day and there is not going to be any value I will go back with?  We need to address that.

The last one, I think we should also look at how to review the regional outputs to African IGF process.  We have enough of recommendations.

>> MODERATOR:  Your time is up.  Thank you.

>> We need to have action.  Thank you.

>> I have just one word for enabling inclusive and sustainable development, to invite all the stakeholders to pass libraries and librarians.  They are a safe space with access for all.  Librarians trained people ready to help and to be online place.  Partner with library and librarians for sustainable development.  Thanks.

>> MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Mary, you have the last word.

>> MARY UDUMA:  Last word is that we should walk our talk.

(Applause.)

>> MODERATOR:  Thank you very much. 

I would like to acknowledge our rapporteur over there from Zimbabwe and thank you for the hard work you are doing.  You know, the discussions here were really robust.  I think we need to have more discussions like this.  We don't have to go to a platform and not say anything.  This is the future and we have to really address the critical issues facing Africa.  I wish to see more of this type of engagement in the future.  Thank you very much everybody who came and joined us for this session.  Thank you.

(The session concluded at 6:14 p.m. CST)

(CART provider signing off.)