Wednesday, July 27, 2011

West African IGF opens in Lagos

All is now set for a three-day West Africa Internet Governance Forum (WAIGF) which commences in the centre of excellence, Lagos, today.

WAIGF 2011 focuses on “Promoting the Multi- stakeholder model, for further internet development in Africa.”

The forum tagged Nigeria 2011, according to the coordinator of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Mr. Emmanuel Edet, would see participants coming across the continent of Africa and beyond.

Factually, he said, participants have begun to arrive for the event, which was last held in Dakar in 2010.

He explained that Nigeria emerged the host after a very highly contested hosting right exercise, stressing that the West Africa Internet Governance Forum (WAIGF) is a project that aims to promote Internet Governance issues in West Africa through a multi-stakeholder process.

He underscored the fact that Internet Governance is the development and application by governments, the private sector and civil society in their respective roles of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet.

The WAIGF project, Edet said, is managed by a consortium led by the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA), which include African Network Information Center (AfriNic), Panos Institute West Africa (PIWA), the IISD, APC, ISOC and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The project has received support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).

He pointed out that project runs in eight countries, namely Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Togo; even as the initiative plans activities like online discussions, surveys and national face to face forums.

ITRealms Online recalls that the West African Internet Governance Forum (WAIGF) consortium gave Nigeria the green light to host the sub-regional event on July this year.

Reaffirming this, a top member of the consortium, Ms Judy Okite stated in an electronic mail made available to ITRealms Online recently, noting that finally, a host country and venue for 2011 was selected.

Whereas congratulating Nigeria, for winning of the hosting right, she said that the 2011 WAIGF would be located in the commercial nerve centre of the nation, Lagos.

She also pointed out that following the selection of Nigeria to host WAIGF 2011, scheduled to be at one of the five star hotels in the city of Lagos, Okite revealed that the three-day event would last between July 27 and 29, next year.

She affirmed that the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) would be the host of the event in collaboration with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

As part of the hosting package, Nigeria is intended to cover the sponsorship for at least the accommodation of about 20 international guest participants.

This, she noted would include speakers and organizers, venue for the event; tea break and lunch for all participants on each day of the event; airport pick-up for all international participants; a cocktail dinner, interpreters for the event in addition to publicity for in local Nigeria media; and provision of conference materials for the participants.

Equally, ITRealms Online, gathered that WAIGF had in 2010 received support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), which was hosted by Senegal tagged ‘Dakar 2010’ as the third edition of the regional meeting.

Noteworthy is that Nigeria and two other African countries contested for the hosting right of the West African Internet Governance Forum (WAIGF) in 2011 at the three-day WAIGF in Dakar, Senegal.

Other countries that contested alongside Nigeria for the hosting rights include Cote D’Ivoire and Sierra Leone.

Commenting on the contest, while announcing the contenders, top figure of the organizing consortium and chairperson, Free and Open Source Software Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA), Ms Nnenna Nwakanma, cautioned that WAIGF is not a mere government meeting but a multi-stakeholders’ forum.

WAIGF, she said, has moved away from being an event to being a project, hence the need to bid for its hosting rights.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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