On 26 November, I participated in an IGF 2019 session called the “African Union Open Forum”, under the theme of digital inclusion. This session was organised by the African Union Commission. The main objective of this session was to showcase the achievements of the Eighth African Internet Governance Forum held in N’Djamena, Chad, from 10 to 12 September 2019, and most importantly, to present the Policy and Regulation Initiative for Digital Africa (PRIDA) project’s Internet Governance Implementation Strategy. This Strategy aims to strengthen the abilities of different organisations in order to create inclusive internet governance at the national, regional and continental level, and to support decision makers and regulatory institutions in the development of internet-related policies.
This session was of great importance to me as it aligned with PROTEGE QV’s information and communications technology for development (ICT4D) programme, whose main objective is to advocate for universal access to ICTs, particularly the internet because of the important role it plays in advancing human rights. This is also one of APC's main focuses, as it promotes inclusive internet governance through digital cooperation. The PRIDA project was presented to and shared with over a hundred participants present at this session, with the majority of them coming from the African continent.
PRIDA is a joint initiative of the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The PRIDA Internet Governance Implementation Strategy has two tracks:
- To strengthen internet governance structures and processes at the national, regional and continental levels.
- To build and develop the capacity of decision makers in internet policy development in Africa.
It provides funds and skilled technical assistance with an emphasis on capacity building for better and more inclusive organisation of national, regional and continental IGFs in Africa, with a particular focus on helping countries that have difficulty organising their IGFs at the national level.
Through the PRIDA project, the African Union Commission is reaching out to various entities in African countries to better structure themselves so that they can solicit PRIDA assistance to meet their needs in terms of strategic internet governance. To this end, a manual has been developed to enable African countries to comply with it when organising national and regional IGFs.
- The speakers at the African Union Open Forum were:
- Adil Sulieman, Senior Policy Officer, African Union Commission
- Idriss Saleh Bachar, Minister of Communications, Chad
- Halime Assadya Ali, Chair, African IGF 2019 National Organising Committee, Chad
- Mary Uduma, Chair, African IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG)
- Makane Faye, Secretary, African Internet Governance Forum
- Margaret Nyambura Ndung'u, Technical Assistant, PRIDA.
Photo: From left to right, Peace Oliver Amuge of WOUGNET (Uganda), Avis Momeni, and Yunusa Yau of CITAD (Nigeria) at the APC booth during the IGF 2019 in Berlin.