Input from pre-event held at the African IGF

Chronological Thread 
  • From: Anriette Esterhuysen <anriette@xxx>
  • To: <wcit-public@xxx>
  • Subject: Input from pre-event held at the African IGF
  • Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2012 22:33:41 +0200
  • Organization: Association for Progressive Communications

Submission from the African IGF pre-event, "Raising African Voices in
Internet Governance Debates: WCIT-12 and Revisions to the International
Telecommunications Regulations"

Convened by the and the APC and the NPCA, Smart Village
Convention Center, 6th of October City, Cairo, 2 October 2012 as a
pre-event to the first African Internet Governance Forum


This event was convened by the Association for Progressive Communications
(APC) and the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA) with the support
of the
African IGF organisers, particularly United Nations Economic Commission for
(UNECA), the African Union Commission (AUC), and Egypt's Ministry of
and Information Technology. Financial support was provided by Google.

The purpose of the event was to provide an opportunity for participants in
the African IGF, a multi-stakeholder mix of people involved in the internet
in Africa,
to talk about internet governance in general, but focus specifically on the
revision of
the International Telecommunications Regulations which will be finalised at
the ITU's World
Conference on International Telecommunications in Dubai in December 2012.

Agenda and Format

The half-day event (14h00 - 18h00) was well attended. The room was filled
to capacity and participants seemed eager to learn and share their views. The
was designed to be dynamic and interactive. After being opened by Dr. Edmund
Katiti of
NPCA, APC's Anriette Esterhuysen provided an overview of the agenda and
process. The
event consisted of three panels, "Overview of Internet Governance in
Africa", "The WCIT and the ITR review", and "Strengthening Democratic IG in
Africa". Following the style of a 'talk show' panellists were asked to
respond to questions put by a
moderator. These questions were shared beforehand but not in a scripted
manner. Moderators
encouraged members of the audience to intervene and ask questions.

WCIT and the ITR Review

The session focused on on this topic addressed the following questions: What
do the WCIT, and proposed
revisions to the ITRs mean for African internet governance stakeholders?
How are African member states involved? What are they proposing? Are they
stakeholders in their countries? How can non-governmental stakeholders

Discussion focused mostly on the process and the general lack of broad-based
national consultations
by governments. There were a few countries, where government had consulted
widely, but most did not.
Some consulted only telecommunications industry actors, excluding civil
society and internet businesses.

Aspects of the ITRs that during were discussed during the pre-event in more
depth were the 'sender pays' principle, and the definition of
operators, which African governments are proposing should be broadened to
include any internet
service (including content) providers.

How should we respond to the ITR review and the WCIT?

In response to this question, participants made the following recommendations:

1. African governments should be urged to include civil society stakeholders
in their delegations to the WCIT.

2. African governments should convene consultations nationally with other
stakeholders before the WCIT and get their input into respective
government positions on the ITRs.

3. African governments should convene report-back sessions early in 2013 to
feedback on what happened at the WCIT.

4. Africans participating in the WCIT should consult as a region and develop
strategies based on regional interests during the negotiation process; and
civil society and business actors from Africa should be part of those

anriette esterhuysen
executive director, association for progressive communications
po box 29755, melville 2109
south africa
tel/fax +27 11 726 1692