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Monday, August 23, 2010

West African IGF takes off in Dakar


All is now set for the 2010 West Africa Internet Governance Forum (WAIGF) in the city of Dakar, the capital of Senegal.

This is coming as WAIGF takes off today for a three-day session, it has been gathered that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and Open Source Institute for West Africa (OSIWA) among others endorsed the forum and saw to its success.

Disclosing this, a key player and a member of the Local Organisation Committee cum chairperson, Free and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) Ms. Nnenna Nwakanma, said that the two organisations drummed support for WAIGF.

“ICANN is giving support. OSIWA is supporting the participation of 20 international participants and l’Initiative pour la Gouvernance de l’internet en Côte d’Ivoire (IGICI) also supported some participants from Côte d’Ivoire. Certainly, the African Network Information Center (AfriNIC) would be supporting some people too. Then we cannot forget the national telco and the national regulatory authority in Senegal,” she said.

According to her, participants did not only come from West Africa, but were from all over the world, stressing that they were happy to welcome participants from all walks of life.

“Dakar is a nice place to be and lots of places to visit,” she declared, urging Internet enthusiasts in the region to join any national discussion group at https://lists.waigf.org/mailman/listinfo.cgi, while some volunteers to moderate for the outstanding countries that are not yet covered, were asked to take the lead.

She also called on enthusiasts to subscribe to the general team list, support the regional meeting itself, “this year, next year or any other year” as well as follow events remotely on #waigf.

Meanwhile, the West Africa Internet Governance Forum is expected to deliberate on “Promoting the Multi-stakeholder Model for further Internet Development in Africa.”

ITRealms Online gathered from the LOC that a voting structure was created to enable members of the West African Internet community to exercise their franchise and at the close of the voting session, on Wednesday, July 14, 2010, majority voted for ‘Promoting the Multi-stakeholder Model for further Internet Development in Africa’ while the alternative suggestion, was on ‘Developing the Future Internet in West Africa’ which could not make a vote.

This also confirmed by Ms. Nwakanma, who said that West African have spoken with their votes.

“The theme for WA-IGF 2010 is ‘Promoting the Multi-stakeholder Model for further Internet Development in Africa’ and thank you all for your time,” she said.

The FOSSFA chairperson also disclosed that they recently opened call for Internet Governance Forum core team in West Africa to be hosted in Dakar between August 23 and 25, this year, noting that her organisation, the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and other partners, with support from the Open Society Institute of West Africa (OSIWA) launched a call for West Africa Internet Governance Forum preparation.

The terms of reference for West African IGF consortium group, she said, comprised of the formation of the core team, which entails background for the key members of the consortium group of organizations who would be contributing to the development and organization of the 2010 West African Regional Internet Governance Forum.

The Consortium, she said, include members and organizations from the seven targeted countries, namely Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroon; as well as the convening organizations.

Interest members of the Internet community in the sub-region, she said, especially those countries in West Africa but not listed above were free to apply.

She outlined the objectives of the WAIGF to include the facilitation of Internet policy discussions on a multi-stakeholder platform for issues relating to the development and the governance of the Internet in West Africa.

In addition to increasing awareness of Internet governance issues in the sub-region and encourage participation of a broad range of stakeholders in the IGF process within West Africa.

WAIGF, Nwakanma said, tends to create an opportunity for West Africans to engage in, contribute towards discussions regarding spam, Internet and security, and other IGF related issues at the global Internet Governance Forum.

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