Dear colleagues ACSIS members,
Dear friends of Africa,
The year 2017 was a pivotal year in the development of our pan-African organization with several acts of recognition and strategic positioning that will promote ACSIS participation in the reflection and actions for sustainable ICT in Africa:
- Obtaining consultative status at the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations ECOSOC
- Accreditation of ACSIS as member of Economic Social and Cultural Council of the African Union (ECOSOCC)
- Acceptance of ACSIS to E-tradeForAll initiative facilitated by UNCTAD
This positioning of ACSIS allows us to give a better voice in ICTs and better defend the interests of our continent but requires greater expertise and mobilization efforts.
Today ACSIS is present in more than 40 countries in Africa and in the Diaspora (France, Switzerland, USA, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, etc.) and has more than 500 member organizations! National ACSIS coordination’s are being set up little by little. We regularly welcome new memberships and partnerships.
I seize this opportunity to warmly congratulate ACSIS executive board members and all members of ACSIS network, who have participated (physically and remotely and often at their own expense) in numerous local, national and international meetings to promote sustainable ICTs in Africa. To raise the voice of our continent, by sharing with us valuable information (press articles, activities of member organizations, etc.). All this contributes greatly to make our network vibrant!
However, there are important challenges:
- The costs of access to the Internet remain very high in our countries, delivered to multinationals
- Weak internet penetration in many African countries: in 2017, across the African continent, 16 countries have an Internet penetration rate below 10% and almost 50% of our countries have a rate of less than 20% penetration!
- The trend towards gadgetisation: in most of our countries, the Internet is oriented towards entertainment and fun (social networks) to the detriment of access to the knowledge society, job creation, etc.
- The environmental challenges of ICT (accumulation of electronic waste, pollution, etc.)
- Africa’s vulnerability in data protection and cybersecurity
- The growing lack of inclusion in international fora where interpretation is rare (outside plenary sessions)
- Insufficient local content and in our local languages
- Insufficient strong pan-African leadership to defend Africa and its interests,
We must therefore work more towards the emergence of an inclusive information society by not deceiving debate, not ignoring these challenges and developing a pan-African vision. This is why we will make every effort to achieve the following goals in 2018:
- The organization of the Panafrican Summit on the Digital Economy in Chad
- The development of our own training and awareness programs on ICT and Internet Governance
- The development of strong partnerships
- The strengthening of our institutions (appointment of a Communication Officer, Scientific Committee and Honorary Committee)
- ACSIS contribution to the popularization and appropriation of dot Africa
I therefore invite all ACSIS members to continue to work together to achieve these goals. Our network will be able to deploy fully and truly only through the action of each and every one of us. In order to consolidate our achievements, I call you in particular to mobilize more for ACSIS, to talk about our network around you, to encourage new memberships and to reinforce our pan-African ideal. Indeed, even if other foreign institutions come to help us, ACSIS is the only truly pan-African civil society organization that deals with ICT and we must fully assume this role alongside our states, the African Union and with all our partners! We must first rely on ourselves. As Africans, we are the first to be concerned. And nobody will do it for us. I invite all ACSIS members:
- to implement the ACSIS national coordination’s where necessary
- to pay their financial contribution the equivalent of 10 USD per year per person and 20 USD per year and per organization. This symbolic fee was decided by the General Assembly and is binding on all ACSIS members.
- to share the summary of their activities which will be published on ACSIS web platform
I express the wish that the year 2018 be for you and your families, for ACSIS and for all Africans, a year of peace, health, prosperity and success!
Happy New Year 2018!