Download the statement WSIS FORUM 2016 (2-6 May 2016 – GENEVA SWITZERLAND)
STATEMENT OF Dr. CISSE KANE PRESIDENT OF THE AFRICAN CIVIL SOCIETY ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY (ACSIS)
PAN AFRICAN SUMMIT ON DIGITAL ECONOMY AND SUSTAINABLE GROWTH IN AFRICA
On behalf of Africa Civil Society on the information Society, I seize this opportunity to congratulate you and your team, Mr. Houlin Zhao Secretary General of the International Telecommunications Union, his team and all its partners of UNESCO, UNDP and UNCTAD, for organizing the WSIS FORUM 2016 in a very innovative format. I am hopeful that the Forum would be the occasion of high-level consultations and sessions to find funding solutions for the implementation of WSIS recommendations. I welcome the strong participation and the substantial contribution of Africa to the WSIS Forum 2016. The rich discussions during the WSIS FORUM 2016 have shown substantial progress made in terms of access to the open and inclusive information society. The fact remains that Africa still stumbles (more than other continents) on the question of financing the implementation of the WSIS recommendations. More than 10 years after the launch of the WSIS process, Africa remains the continent that has the least impact of the digital economy. Internet penetration rates remain disappointingly low (around 20% on average). High quality infrastructure, access to broadband, ICT costs, cybersecurity, multilingualism in cyberspace, local contents, human rights, data protection, electronic waste, digital sovereignty, technical capacities, multistakeholderism, etc., remain major challenges for Africa. The unique financing instrument, which was proposed, long lived. The African flourishing digital economy (with a growth potential of 75%) is very often in the hands of multinationals and shareholders that leave only crumbs for Africa.
The African continent has no concrete financing solution for access to the information knowledge society for sustainable development, and for using revenues generated by ICT/telecom sector as a levy for its development. African continent remains the lowest beneficiary of the income generated by ICT.
This is all the more ironic that the ICT sector generates immense resources in Africa. The telecommunications company profitability rates are often even among the highest in the branches located in Africa. It is therefore imperative to identify ways and means to channel these resources to finance access to the knowledge society in Africa.
For all these reasons, the African Civil Society on the Information Society (ACSIS) intends to organize in 2016 the PAN AFRICAN SUMMIT ON DIGITAL ECONOMY AND SUSTAINABLE GROWTH IN AFRICA. We faced this conviction during the many meetings we have had with several high-level officials we met during the forum.
This conference is aiming at identifying how to finance the real access to knowledge society in Africa through the resources of the digital economy and on how to use the digital economy as a levy for sustainable development in Africa. This summit will respond to three major questions:
– How to make African countries benefit from resources generated by the ICT/telecom sector in Africa? What concrete financial mechanisms to put in place to get there? How to finance sustainable digital development in Africa?
– How to make Africa moving from a consumer status to a real and sustainable actor of the digital economy status?
– What are the priorities for digital resources generated by Africa to be used as leverage for the development of Africa?
The Summit is inspired by four major repositories:
- The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
- The Addis Ababa Agenda of Action (2015)
- The African Union 2063 Agenda
- The WSIS recommendations, particularly the WSIS +10
The mobilization of financial resources from ICT for the development of Africa is a matter of justice and equity demanded by all international consultations. These resources will be used primarily to mass empowerment of African communities (technical, human and institutional) on critical Internet and ICT issues, strengthening ICT industry and job creation for the benefit of Africans. It is imperative that, as elsewhere, the resources from ICT/telecoms sector benefit first (and much more consistently than at present) to African and substantially be used in the growth of Africa.
The Summit will result in concrete solutions for maximum capture of these resources, which will drive the development of Africa and the development of the African digital economy strategy in the Age of Sustainable Development Goals.
The Summit will be preceded by inclusive dialogue between Africans (governments, the private sector, international organizations, academia, ICT technical community, regional bodies and institutions, local authorities, parliamentarians and civil society and) and between Africans and their partners.
ACSIS calls for a strong mobilization and backing of African governments and African people for the success of this Pan-African Summit that will lead to funding Nelson Mandela plan for the development of Africa (Mobilize Digital Africa for Africa development and growth)through the digital economy. We also call on all partners and friends of Africa to support this summit. We remain convinced that Africa is able to meet the challenge of emergence and development, notably through resources generated by ICT/Telecoms in Africa.
Cisse Kane, PhD
Geneva 5 May 2016