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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Momentum gathers for Africa IGF

Africa Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF) has continued to gain momentum with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) backing the process slated for Nairobi in September, this year.

Disclosing this, the chair of the AfIGF Consortium, Ms Nnenna Nwakanma said at the just concluded Internet Governance workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that UNECA has endorsed the forum.

She noted that the sixth global Internet Governance Forum in Nairobi in September 2011 will play host to AfIGF, the first joint action of many African initiatives on Internet Governance.

“Actors from all the sub-regions of the continent will be deciding on concrete steps and objectives of the newly announced Africa Internet Governance Forum,” she said.

Nwakanma also said that it was an idea whose time has come.

She noted that regional initiatives in East and West Africa are already in their fourth year, the Central Africa Internet Governance Forum in its third year and the South Africa Internet Governance Forum kicked off since 2010.

“Word has been going around about the AfIGF for some time now, but it was only during the Diplo Internet Governance and ICT Policy workshop which was co-organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in early April 2011 that the AFIGF was finally born,” she said.

According to her, expectations are high on all sides and hopes are up on the fresh breath that AfIGF will infuse into sub-regional, and especially national, on-going activities.

“Africans from Cape to Cairo, Dakar to Djibouti, and throughout the diaspora have started pooling ideas, on how AfIGF will best serve the continent,” she said.

Nwakanma further said that this is a great time for Africa to take stock, to plan together and to strategize.

Meanwhile, Kenya reaffirmed its readiness to welcome the global Internet community to her city of Nairobi.

Speaking at the recently ended 40th public meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names Authority (ICANN), in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, United States, the Chairman, Communications Commission of Kenya, Mr. Phillip Okundi, gave the commitment if Kenyan government to the sixth IGF.

The prayer of Kenyans, he said, is that the IGF 2011 must be a success as it’s the first to be held after the global extension of IGF platform for another five years.

“It would succeed and it’s the first session after the extension of the second phase of IGF was agreed,” he said.

Okundi noted that Kenyans are known for their hospitality and promised participants in the IGF 2011 of a good hospitality

“Come and participate,” he declared, even as he noted that in Kenya, plans are up to have the East African community behind the hosting right as well as the business community.

Also speaking at the session presided over by Mr. Bill Grahams, senior official of the Communications Commission of Kenya, Ms Alice Munyua said that the date for 2011 IGF in Kenya has been scheduled for September 27 through 30 at the United Nations conference centre.

This, she said, was to assured of the smooth hosting and worthy of the nation’s image as well as the continent.

Kenya, has been encouraging to organize IGF preparatory meetings in East African countries and this year, it would include the youths.

She also said that there would also be a session for the legislators with the youths as part of mentorship initiative and to ensure that legislators are carried along.

She noted that IGF meeting in Nairobi would dwell on the Internet as agent for change, access, security and development theme for IGF 2011.

Introducing the session earlier, the chairman, Mr. Grahams said that the session is a continuation of Internet governance dialogue at ICANN meetings and an opportunity to update ICANN stakeholders on what is going on at the IGF, as well as to hear their views on relevant subject matters.

ITRealms Online noted that by the time this session was held Monday the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) Working Group on IGF improvements had started its work.

Remmy Nweke:
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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