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Development Internet Governance

The Internet Society holds a high-level workshop on Internet Governance in Kampala

The Internet Society in partnership with the East African Communications Organization (EACO) has organized a half-day workshop on Internet Governance on 25 June 2015 in Kampala, Uganda.

Bringing together a broad range of important stakeholders, this workshop has the objective of conducting high-level discussions on the state of Internet and Internet governance in the world and in the East African community (EAC) as well as reflect on the future of the Internet at this very critical moment of its history.

Karen Rose, Senior Director, Office of Strategy & Research, Michael Kende, Chief Economist and Dawit Bekele, Director of the African Regional Bureau are representing the Internet Society, in the discussions of the workshop that will be touching upon the Multi-stakeholder Process (MSP) that is the hallmark of Internet governance institutions as well as the successes and challenges in using this model for the development of Internet access in the EAC region.

The meeting will benefit from the recently released report of the Internet Society entitled “Internet Development and Internet Governance in Africa”, which gives an overview of the current state of the Internet in Africa and highlights some of the region’s top challenges and opportunities.

Taking about this report Dawit Bekele said, “As Africa’s user base grows, the need to coordinate and manage the growth and development of the Internet becomes increasingly important. If Africa wants to build a digital economy and reap the full benefits of the Internet, it needs to be more actively involved in its governance at local, regional and global level.”

The different topics detailed and debated in the report as well as the fresh new data and statistics about the current regional context are believed to serve as a useful resource for discussions at various occasions such as this Internet Governance workshop.

Read more on the “Internet Development and Internet Governance in Africa” report

Photo: State Banquet- Kigali, 28 October 2013 by Rwanda Government CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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Technology

Bringing together the East African Community to build Internet infrastructure in Africa

The Internet Society in partnership with the East African Communications Organization (EACO) and the African Telecommunication Union (ATU) has organized an East African Internet Infrastructure Forum, which will be held on 24 June 2015 in Kampala, Uganda. The Forum will bring together ICT Ministers and high-level officials within the Eastern Africa region, experts, telecommunication policy-makers, infrastructure providers and content providers.

We are excited to enter a new phase in our long-standing work with the Internet community in Africa. For more than two decades, the Internet Society has been engaged in promoting technical capacity of Africans to help enable them to build their countries’ networks and get connected to the Internet. In particular, most of the pioneers of Internet in Africa have gone through our legendary INET workshops.

Africa was connected relatively late to the Internet, and in the first years access was limited to a small section of its population due to sluggish growth of the Infrastructure and the high costs of access. Most Africans were also deprived of broadband Internet, and were largely limited to content that was created and hosted elsewhere.

However, in the last five years, Africa in general, and East Africa in particular, has seen tremendous growth of their Internet Infrastructure including the arrival of many submarine cables multiplying the international Internet bandwidth twenty-fold in just 5 years. At the same time, an increasing number of Africans have started to get access to the Internet, reaching a highly symbolic Internet penetration rate of 20%, which is considered as the minimum level that enables a country to get significant economic benefit from an Internet economy. At the same time, entrepreneurs throughout Africa are beginning to seize on the opportunities afforded by Internet access.

We see this as the ideal time to build on the gathering momentum, and help develop a truly African Internet ecosystem. As part of our work to identify further barriers to Internet connectivity, our East African Internet Infrastructure Forum will focus on the discussion of access and local content as well as policy and investment issues that are critical factors in building the Internet infrastructure in Africa. Based on this, the panels of the morning session of the forum, which is open to public, will mainly focus on:

  • The value chain to access the Internet from international link to last mile
  • The value chain for content, from creation through delivery
  • The policy and regulatory conditions that promote public and private investment

The forum will further serve as a platform for encouraging governments, business and civil society into focused efforts to enable building and utilizing the African Internet infrastructure, starting in East Africa while promoting a collaborative multi-stakeholder approach to addressing implementation challenges that continue to face the Internet throughout the continent.

As a high-level Forum, the East African Internet Infrastructure meeting will have an afternoon closed session of experts in a round table discussion, which will seek to start an in-depth dialogue to identifying the existing barriers to connectivity in the region while addressing issues such as deployment challenges, cross-border connectivity, financing, measurement and demand-side issues.

This Forum is expected to be held in other regions of Africa and based on the results, the Internet Society will identify best practice for Internet Infrastructure development, and highlight case studies to help speed-up the deployment and usage of the Internet in the continent.

Find out more about the East African Internet Infrastructure Forum