Regional Roundtable on Internet Fragmentation and Human Rights in Africa

Context

The availability of a global open, interoperable, reliable, and secure Internet is necessary to exercise and enjoy human rights in the digital age. However, these basic characteristics of the Internet are currently under threat: changes to the underlying architecture of the Internet – whether due to new proposals at technical standard-setting bodies, legislative changes, or technological advances – risk fundamentally altering the functioning of the Internet as we know it.

Compounding this problem is both a lack of understanding of the issue of internet fragmentation and the capacity to counter such threats, particularly among civil society in the global south. Additionally, how internet fragmentation manifests varies across Africa. To counter such threats effectively requires an Africa-specific strategy developed based on a consensus-driven understanding of the issue. Yet, currently, discussions on internet fragmentation have been largely siloed both geographically and ideologically, with such discussions largely taking place among those from the global north and among like-minded peers.

To address this gap, KICTANet and Paradigm Initiative will convene stakeholders from the private sector, policymakers, and civil society for a roundtable discussion. The roundtables are part of a series of roundtables held in collaboration with Global Partners Digital (GPD) in Latin America, Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Europe. The current roundtable is a follow-up session to a similar roundtable held during the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF) in April 2024.

Purpose

The roundtable aims to identify concrete risks to Internet fragmentation, focusing on elements that are being impacted by technical standards-setting bodies, as well as at the policy layer within the specific regional context. 

The roundtable is expected to provide a space for civil society partners and other stakeholders to learn about trends related to Internet fragmentation, engage and coordinate with other stakeholders, particularly private sector stakeholders, and develop actionable recommendations. They will also include a discussion of proactive steps and opportunities that can be taken to promote the adoption and implementation of technical standards that promote an open Internet and would counteract proposals that could negatively impact the current multistakeholder governance model and the current architecture of the Internet. The regional roundtable shall be carried out virtually to maximise stakeholder participation and optimise project resources. 

Objective

The roundtable aims to (1) advance awareness and a common understanding of internet fragmentation threats in Africa and; (2) identify opportunities to counter them. Specifically, the roundtable will serve to achieve the following objectives:

  • A larger and more diverse set of stakeholders working to counter Internet fragmentation.
  • Greater awareness of Internet fragmentation issues across the multistakeholder community at large
  • Stakeholder discussions on countering Internet fragmentation are more coordinated.

Expected outcome

Following the completion of each roundtable, KICTANet and Paradigm Initiative, in partnership with GPD will develop an actionable outcome report listing concrete and actionable recommendations based on participants’ discussions. These recommendations will be tailored to the region and relevant forums, and include proactive steps and opportunities that can be taken to promote the adoption and implementation of technical standards that would promote an open internet and counteract proposals that could threaten the current multistakeholder governance model and the underlying architecture of the internet. 

The report will then be translated into relevant languages and distributed to regional policymakers and other stakeholders to inform their legislative responses and engagement efforts, respectively. The aim is for these work plans to also build on the existing work of the IGF’s Policy Network on Internet Fragmentation and continue to implement the work it began. 

Format: Virtual

Attendees

Attendees will include representatives of a variety of stakeholder groups, including Civil society, Industry (telcos, ISPs, technology companies, IXPs), Government (regulatory bodies and Policymakers), Standard-development organisations, Media and Academia.

About KICTANet

KICTANet is a multistakeholder platform for people and institutions interested in ICT policy. The network is a think tank that catalyses policy reforms in the ICT sector, and it is guided by four pillars: policy advocacy, stakeholder engagement, capacity building and research. KICTANet’s guiding philosophy is that of encouraging synergies for ICT policy-related activities and initiatives. 

About Paradigm Initiative

Paradigm Initiative works to connect underserved young Africans with digital opportunities and ensures the protection of their rights. Across our regional offices in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Zambia, Zimbabwe and beyond, we work to connect under-served African youth with improved livelihoods through our digital inclusion and digital rights programs. Our programs include Life Skills, ICT, Financial Readiness, Entrepreneurship (LIFE) training program, Dufuna and a digital rights program.             

Regional Roundtable on Internet Fragmentation and Human Rights in Africa: Draft Programme

Date: Wednesday, 26 June 2024 | Time: 1200 – 1400 WAT / 1400 – 1600 EAT

Place: Zoom  https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_HUt9nl5JRDe3rlHFh79jtw

        TIME                             DESCRIPTION
12:00 – 12:05 Welcome and Introductions

Paradigm Initiative

12:05 – 12:10 Objectives and Agenda-Setting

Session Host (KICTANet)

12:10 – 13:30 Panel Discussion: Perspectives on Internet Fragmentation and Human Rights in Africa

  • Adiel Akplogan (VP, Technical Engagement, ICANN)
  • Andrew Alston, Liquid Technologies
  • Dawit Bekele, ISOC
  • Kunle Olorundare, NCC, Nigeria
  • Benjamin Akinmoyeje – Representative, NCSG, Namibia
  • Lillian Nalwoga, CIPESA
    13:30 – 13:55   Q & A – Interactive Session   Moderator
    13:55 – 14:00   Concluding Remarks 

 Paradigm Initiative / KICTANet

 

Loading

Translate »