African IGF Submission to WSIS+10 document Sept 2015

African IGF Submission to WSIS+10 document Sept 2015


WSIS+10 Non-Paper: Comment from African Stakeholders at the 2015 African Internet Governance Forum

Submitted by the African Internet Governance Forum Secretariat

The African Union Commission (AUC), the Association of Africa Progressive Communications (APC), the Egyptian Ministry of ICT, the Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) and the Internet Society (ISOC), organized a pre-event on WSIS+10 on 6 September in Addis Ababa. This was immediately prior to the Africa Internet Governance Forum[1] that took place from 7-8 September 2015. At this event, after an overview of the WSIS process and the 10-year review, participants which included around 200 people from all stakeholder groups (government, civil society, business, academia,international organisations and the technical community) divided into groups that discussed the non-paper in depth.

This submission is a compilation of reactions to the non-paper that emerged from this event.


Participants at the African IGF WSIS+10 pre-event were generally positive about the preamble and appreciate the special mention of African countries in paragraph 6. However, they felt strongly about the following:

Paragraph 1 would be strengthened by including a reference to human rights as was done in the first paragraph of the Geneva Declaration of Principles: “We, the representatives of the peoples of the world, assembled in Geneva from 10-12 December 2003 for the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society, declare our common desire and commitment to build a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society, where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information and knowledge, enabling individuals, communities and peoples to achieve their full potential in promoting their sustainable development and improving their quality of life, premised on the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and respecting fully and upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”[2]

Participants felt that paragraph 3 should recognize that the benefits of the digital economy are limited by digital exclusion; exclusion which needs to be addressed for this ‘economy’ to contribute to sustainable development.


The non-paper importantly mentions the ongoing divides within and between countries in paragraph 10, as well as the risk that these divides may grow. However, it does not point out that the digital divide is first and foremost a consequence of larger social and economic divides. Insufficient human development remains a major unsolved problem in Africa. The value of increased access to devices such as mobile phones is limited by people’s lack of knowledge in how to make use of these devices, or how to access relevant content, assuming this content exists and is available in local languages. These divides (digital, and social and economic) impact on all WSIS action lines. Awareness raising, advocacy and capacity building to develop, preserve, access and use content and knowledge that can contribute to social, economic and environmental development is necessary remain vital.

Internet access and penetration is still very weak in Africa. Access for all is important, but particularly for groups at risk, such as people living with disability, or people who are already marginalised, such as women in low income groups and rural people all over the continent. There is need to promote public access facilities such as libraries throughout the world, particularly in developing countries where such services do not exist, and when they do, are lacking in resources. Libraries are spaces which can provide not only access to the internet, but also access to information and capacity building.

Meeting these challenges requires developing collaborative planning, platforms and projects at national and regional levels. Regions should be encouraged to develop integrated economic strategies and models which includes manufacturing and certification of equipment and  development of applications that respond to local/regional needs.

Overall we believe that for the digital divide to be bridged in Africa, but probably also in other developing regions, there is a fundamental need for investment in human capacity development and educational and research institutions, including universities. This will help bridge the lack of relevant online content, and in research capacity. It is also necessary to invest in research and data gathering at national level to enable all stakeholders, and governments in particular, to understand and respond to the changes in the digital divide.


Participants in the African IGF propose that the heading of this section be changed to “ICT for sustainable development” in line with the already stated link between the WSIS and the post-2015 development agenda.

Points they feel should be added to the non-paper include the need for continuous research into  ICT for development and the need for, as stated above in digital divide as well, continuous capacity building and training. ICT for development does not require once off investment. Investment into mobilising ICTs for development should be long term and integrated across national budgets. The non-paper should stress the need for a diverse and sustainable ICT ecosystem across all sectors (health, education, security, justice, waste etc.) and point out that this can only be achieved by integrating or mainstreaming ICTs in all development sectors with the involvement of all stakeholder groups.

Some participants felt that Universal Access Funds are still an important source of funding that can be invested in ICT for development and that contributions from industry players should be increased to support sustainable development activities. Others were concerned that increasing licensing fees or taxation could raise barriers to entry for new and local businesses.

All participants felt that regulatory hindrances need to be minimized so as not to stifle innovation. There is a need for more, and more widely distributed, innovation hubs so that people in rural areas have easier access to to ICT for development tools, skills and information.

Energy and e-waste management must be tackled, and more use of renewable technologies  such as solar be encouraged in all ICT expansion.


Participants felt that the non-paper does not give this important area sufficient emphasis.

They supported the non-paper’s underscoring of the right to development and respect for freedom of expression and the independence of the press, taking into account the individual right to privacy, and media ethics and responsibilities. They agreed that in the context of online communications no person shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, consistent with countries obligations under international human rights law.

The felt that this section should  mention that the right of freedom of expression, as described in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, is essential for media’s role in information and knowledge societies, and through this, media’s role in ICTs for sustainable development.

They support the non-papers reaffirmation that the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online as they are enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

They felt that the non-paper should emphasize the need for the prioritization of women and girls in the areas of access, and equality online as offline, in order to achieve gender parity in all areas of engagement including in all aspects of the information society.


Participants expressed overall support for the text of the non-paper in this section. They had some recommendations, outlined below:

They agreed that the Internet has “continued to grow in number of users, speed of access, range of services and many other ways, necessitating fast-changing and inclusive governance structure.” Nevertheless they feel the non-paper should stress that despite the above, there are still affordability challenges for developing and least developed countries. Undersea fibre capacity available at the coasts of developing countries can often not be utilised by their citizens because of poor intra and inter-national infrastructure. There is need for more Internet Exchange Points (IXP) and the presence of first tier IXPs. This requires interventions at the policy level and cooperation between all stakeholders at the level of deployment.

They felt that the definition of internet governance in paragraph 23: “There is general agreement that the governance of the Internet should be open, inclusive and transparent, within the working definition of Internet governance as ‘the development and application by governments, the private sector, civil society, technical and academic community in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, decision-making procedures and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet’, should evolve to include the governance of the Internet technical resources.

They recommend that the non-paper includes a call for sustainable capacity building for members from developing and least developed countries to encourage meaningful participation and contributions to Internet governance issues.


Many felt that this section should be entitled “cyber security” or  cyber safety.

They felt that the call in paragraph 29: “We call for increased global efforts and cooperation in combating cybercrime and countering cyber-threats” should have the following text added: “without compromise of user privacy.”

Paragraph 29 would then read: “We call for increased global efforts and cooperation in combating cybercrime and countering cyber threats without compromising user privacy.”

The recommend adding the following text to this section: “There is a need for special emphasis on the protection and empowerment of children online. In this regard, governments and other stakeholders should work together to help all enjoy the benefits of ICTs in a safe and secure environment.”


Participants are happy with this section in general but had the following comments:

They felt that the statement in paragraph 31 on mobilising domestic public and private resources to spur ICT access and content creation should recognize the role of civil society efforts. At present it appears to only include government and business. They therefore suggest the text is modified to read: “There will be a continued focus on mobilizing domestic public and private resources and the efforts of civil society to spur ICT access and content creation.”

In response to paragraph 33 on content, participants added that there is little content in African languages meaning that African cultures and identities are not represented well on the internet. There is need to make local content and local knowledge accessible in order to facilitate the ability of governments, parliamentarians, local authorities, local communities, civil society, the private sector and individuals to make informed decisions in their efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

They felt strongly that there is a need for regional follow up processes. In this regard they recommend that a new paragraph be added before or after paragraph 37 that reads: “We call for annual regional reviews of WSIS+10 outcomes, involving all stakeholders, convened by UN Regional Commissions, where member states, international and regional organizations report on progress in achieving WSIS outcomes within the context of 2030 agenda of Sustainable Development.”

They also recommend that the non-paper mentions the need for the development of targets and indicators to monitor progress towards the achievement of access to information and knowledge for the persons living with disability.

They also felt that this section should mention the need for promotion of the multistakeholder model, particularly at national levels, as an important pre-condition for effective WSIS follow up and implementation.




ACSIS AFRINIC Workshop report IGF Vilnius 2010

IGF2010 Workshop Report : The Impact of Good Governance of the Internet on the human and sustainable development  in Africa

Organizers: AFRINIC and ACSIS

Africa Workshop Number: 146 merged with 74

Report by: Lillian Sharpley,  Faïza Azzouz, and Tijani Ben Jemaa

Workshop description and list of panelists:

“The impact of the good governance of Internet on the human and sustainable Development” workshop is intended to address how Internet Governance (IG) can improve access, local content and the management and organisation of Internet resources in Africa and ultimately on human and sustainable development.

Introductory of the workshop, Ms. Lillian Sharpley

Moderators:    Mr. Pierre Dandjinou, CEO, Strategic Consulting Group (SCG)

Ms. Faïza AZZOUZ, President, Société Civile Africaine pour La Société de l’Information (ACSIS)


  • Ms. Anne-Rachel Inne, Regional Liaison for Africa, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
  • Mr. Adel Gaaloul, CEO/General Engineer, SOTETEL
  • Mr. Dawit Bekele, Manager of the African Regional Bureau of the Internet Society (ISOC)
  • Ms. Fatimata Seye Sylla Fatimata, USAID/EDB National Coordinator and Chair of African Regional At-Large Organization
  • Mr Adiel Akplogan, CEO, African Network Information Centre, (AfriNIC)
  • Mr Pierre Dandjinou, CEO, Strategic Consulting Group (SCG)

A brief substantive summary and the main issues that were identified:

There was a panel of six speakers to give interventions the following issues (summary of the interventions also included below):

How IG may impact the prohibitive cost of African ccTLDs through improved management and organization of Internet resources at local levels.

Inadequate technical and administrative management is a problem with the majority of the ccTLDs in Africa. Most of the ccTLDs are inside of Africa are managed by organizations with limited resources. The communities have been coming together to discuss a multi-stakeholder approach for improving the technical and administrative management of the ccTLDs. One of the instruments needed is a ‘charter’ that contains a collective set of rules that defines:

  • how to setup a ccTLD,
  • who can buy a ccTLD
  • at what price,
  • standards for operating (that a domain needs to be up 24/7, 365 days a year),
  • what type of sub-level domains we have under each domain,
  • dispute resolution processes,

It is important that the ccTLDs demonstrate to private sector and to the community that when they have a business on a domain that it will be professionally maintained to avoid interruption in their business and to build the trust in the communities.

The impact that IG can have on broadband.

Many African countries developed broadband strategy today to provide broadband services to — first to companies, to enterprise and, and then to people in general.  Organising all the work of the operators and to guide them but also to give them the capacity to introduce services that will enhance economic and social developments should be a strategy of the government.  Broadband should be promoted as a tool for development and competitiveness.  It should also guarantee access for all, and especially for scores, for education and for health.  It should have integration of ICT in learning, in teaching, and accelerate the development of more value-added services and contents.

The potential for mobile Internet in Africa.

Wireless technology is playing a major role in the development of voice communication in Africa. Thanks to wireless and mobile telephony, African telephone tele-density grew from 1% to more than 25% in just a decade. Access to the Internet is still low in Africa since only 5% of the population has some access to the Internet, which is less than 25% of the world average. Moreover, very few Africans have access to broadband since the broadband access rate in Africa is less than 1%. Fortunately, things are changing quickly thanks to wireless technologies. In particular, wireless technologies are helping resolve the last mile problem. Today, many wireless solutions are being deployed to bring narrow and broadband Internet to African users, promising a very fast development of access to the Internet on the continent.

However, there are a number of challenges that the various stakeholders have to address including: Multitude and very short lifetime of wireless internet technologies; Regulatory issues; Connectivity (local, regional and international); and, Expertise

How local languages are being positioned for the Internet and facilitate access for all.

Africa has more than 2,000 languages, and now we’re over 1 billion people in Africa. Icelandic, spoken by 240,000 people, is in the Web, whereas Swahili, spoken by more than 30 million people, is not in the Web.  The language barriers greatly impacts Africa’s fight to bridge the digital divide. The absence of local content, preponderance of foreign languages on the local languages, and the absence of human resource competency in local languages and technical skills are also challenges that must be addressed. Recommendations are to increase access to the Internet, more human resources technically qualified competences, and a reinforcement of human capacities.

Strategies for content production and the use of open standards and platforms.

Dealing with content development in Africa should mean an appraisal of the knowledge economy and its perspectives in Africa. For obvious reasons, Africa’s take on content on the web is low and estimated at 0.6% for an Internet penetration of 5%. Indeed, African numerous languages are not yet adequately represented on the Internet and English and French still remain the most used languages on the Internet from Africa. We need to figure out Africa’s competitive advantages, thus aspects such as tourism and culture should be better considered in a view to promote African small and medium enterprises. This should certainly help generate more African related content in African languages.

We need to forge a bold vision on web content development as a possible enabler of socio-economic development and therefore, we should design adequate strategies for this. Additionally, capacity development is central for this strategy which should also favour platforms that are open and inclusive.

How IG may improve the overall management and utilisation of critical Internet resources at local levels.

Internet Governance is not only about Critical Internet Resources (CIR) but as the name says, those resources are important for the day-to-day running of the Internet.  Managing these resources properly is key for the success of the Internet in the African region, however, it is not often considered when discussing Internet development strategies in most of the countries in Africa.  How can we see the direct linkage of good Internet governance and good management of the Internet resources as important? When we discuss CIR, what are we talking about?

We are often referring to domain names, ccTLDs, and Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, however, critical Internet resources go beyond that.  Critical Internet Resources can include exchange points, energy to run those equipment for Internet resources, and reverse DNS, for example. CIR should also include human capacity because we need engineers to run the Internet.  Critical Internet Resources is very wide, however, the emphasis in this intervention is on the domain names and the Internet number resources. Good Internet Governance addresses how to fully integrate the multi-stakeholder approach in the decision making processes, even at the local level. Additionally, the user must be a key factor of the Internet development in our different cultures.

Conclusions and further comments (from audience and panelists):

  • Africa must be present on the Web and to do so must use its own culture, preserve its own values, and continue to build good Internet Governance to have access to the tools that will allow this to happen.
  • Policies are needed to actually manage Africa’s ccTLDs and other critical resources.
  • It is important to emphasize and promote the successes and achievements in African in terms of Internet Governance and development. Many efforts have been made and initiatives are underway inside of Africa to improve the language barriers to the Internet. Such as:
  • The African Union is working in establishing African languages that can be working languages in all regions of Africa.
  • The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (African Development Bank) currently working on Unicode and the appropriation of the new technologies in Adult Education, dual-track education, and software recognition programs to learn African languages.
  • There are currently four (4) registrars (domain names), whereas there were none in Africa several years ago.
  • There are several schools in Africa that are currently integrating domain names systems, Internet Governance, IP address, etc.
  • WIPO has just accepted a gift for our heritage.
  • The education sector boosted by ADEA and the Conference of Education Ministers is considering implementing dual track education from primary schools (African languages and others).
  • Research and education networks (RENs) are a reality and schools are working on their curricula to integrate ICTs from all aspects.
  • Most African ccTLDs and gTLDs if any, can use IDNs to help in appropriation of languages and creation of content.
  • Multi-stakeholder model is picking up and can help make African IG a reality and capacity development a benefit as well as be a base of an economic boost.
  • Africa must use its strength: The issue is that African governments can dictate and use their purchasing power and say, from now, any minister, anybody in Africa when you use an email address, the email address should be something and consider working with regional representative organisations such as ACSIS and the African diaspora to promote initiatives inside of Africa.
  • National policy makers should develop policies and disseminate local research information and open access to research.
  • Local content development, the next frontier: It was agreed that there is growing interest and concern from Africans on African local languages development and content development.
  • It was agreed that cooperation and collaboration between and among Africa countries should be established to increase capacity building and exchange of information and resources.
  • It is important to give identity to the users and to include them in the decision making process at local level.



ACSIS President took part the informal coffee convened by BDT Director Ibrahima Sanou, during ITU-D Study Group 1 meetings (September 2015). M. Sanou stressed the important role played by ITU D sector members. It was a great opportunity to network with various D-sector members’ representatives.

We had the pleasure to discover the new ITU-D Sector Members, Associates and Academia Further homepage. ACSIS’s profile in the ITU-D Sector Membership Portal. It was presented to the participants by ITU staff. The portal is dedicated to post any valuable is also an opportunity to highlight success stories or valuable information ITU-D members may wish to share with other.





ACSIS had the opportunity to take part to the third Meeting of the Expert Group on ICT Household Indicators (EGH) and sixth Meeting of the Expert Group on Telecommunication/ICT Indicators (EGTI) Geneva, Switzerland (22-25 September 2015). The meeting was very useful and as ITU-D Sector member, ACSIS is very happy to contribute to the debate on ICT indicators.


ICT’s are a global enabler for most of the SDG. ICT measurement is a very important issue especially for African countries. We see ICT indicators as:

  • A mean to have a comprehensive picture of ICT in our continent
  • For research purposes
  • A mean to help policy makers to identify real achievements and to stress real needs and way forward.

Therefore, ICT indicators must be related to populations needs in terms of Access, affordability, governance, etc. Comprehensive and adapted ICT statistics should help decision makers to stress critical issues and take action in order to tackle them. Data collection should be very closely related to the issue of digital divide.


As we all know, the digital divide is more of an economic divide and is still an unsolved issue in Africa. Internet access and penetration is still very weak in Africa. Access for all is important. There is a need to promote public access facilities and development of targets and indicators to monitor progress towards the achievement of access to information and knowledge, including for the persons living with disability. This may bring about universal access. Access to mobile phone is not enough and does not mean access to all the advantages of the Internet and ICT.

The most prominent barrier for Access to the Internet in Africa is probably the language issue as most of Internet websites are in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. Therefore, indicators should help identifying language gaps and trends, in order to help promoting local languages and contents in local languages. It is important to measure Internet Access through language

Literacy: Access to the Internet is also limited for people that are not educated in common Internet languages. Therefore, it is important to raise literacy as question.

Relevant Content. Very very few contents are in African languages. We need contents in more African languages. Our culture and identities are not on the internet. African cultures are not yet online. Make local content and local knowledge accessible in order to bring about informed decisions, based on facts that are critical to socio-economic development. This will facilitate the ability of governments, parliamentarians, local authorities, local communities, civil society, the private sector and individuals to make informed decisions to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Internet access and social networks: Access to social networks (eg. Viber, Facebook, Twitter) is not enough to characterize access to internet. Beyond the access to these networks, one should think about social network use and implications. We consider that ICT indicator should go beyond access to these social networks and measure their real effect (positive and negative) on people’s global access to ICT.


ACSIS would like to propose the following questions, for consideration

Type of Access

  1. Talking/Listening (telephone, etc.)
  2. Touching
  3. Typing,
  4. Learning (Access to Knowledge society)
  5. Mobile Access vs access to computers and knowledge society
  6. ICT/Internet and Education
  7. Mobile phones use and effect on skills and education

Language and local contents:

  1. Access through native language / Access through learned language
  2. Relevance of local contents
  3. Availability of local contents
  4. Availability of adapted contents (professional contents, cultural contents, etc.)

Internet and social networks

  1. Do these networks help access to information knowledge?
  2. Are they only limited to chatting and sending pictures and videos?
  3. Only for leisure purpose (people, trend and voyeurism)?
  4. What are the benefits in terms of access to information knowledge, wealth, job creation, etc.?
  5. Is Access to these networks enough to characterize access to the Internet, even if it is only for fun, leisure, etc.?
  6. Social networks effects on digital divide. Internet/ICT for fun only or for development and access to knowledge?


  1. Internet/ICT user only
  2. Internet/ICT actor (creation, innovation, applications, etc.)
  3. ICT/Internet and literacy (modern literacy as well as traditional literacy, eg. Coranic studies in most of African countries)


  1. How do people deal with e-waste (old mobile phone, computers, cables, electronic devices, etc.?)
  2. How do governments deal with e-waste at local level?
  3. Are people aware of the e-waste issue and threats?

Hopefully these questions will be taken into account during the next gatherings :

  1. ITU Regional Workshop on ICT Indicators and Measurements for Africa Addis Abeba 29-31 octobre 2015 :
  2. 13th World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Symposium (WTIS) Hiroshima, Japan, 30 November to 2 December 2015:


Dr. Cisse Kane ACSIS Chair, on behalf of ACSIS                                                 1.october.2015






ACSIS took part to the African Internet Governance Forum, Addis-Ababa 6-8 septembre 2015. ACSIS was represented by

  • Cissé Kane, Chair
  • Tijani Ben Jemaa, Coordinator Northern Africa
  • Michel Tchonang Linze, Coordinator Central Africa
  • Adé Bada, Coordinator western Afrique de l’Ouest
  • Baudoin Schombé
  • Sylvie Niombo
  • George Kristensen
  • Mohamed Timoulali
  • Janvier Gnoulaye

Continue reading