The Internet Governance Forum (IGF)
Building on the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals, and the mandate given at the Second Phase of the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis (WSIS), IGF is a United Nations led-activity initiated in 2006 as a global platform for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue on prevailing and emerging issues on Internet governance in order to foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability, and development of the Internet.
Towards the African Internet Governance Forum
The Internet Governance space in Africa has been very active during the WSIS process with regional meetings held from 2002 to 2005 in Bamako, Accra, Addis Ababa, Cairo, Johannesburg, Douala and Tunis. Moreover, within the IGF global initiative, Africa has hosted IGF in Egypt (2009) and in Kenya (2011).
Presently, there are five regional initiatives that are ongoing in Africa; which include the West Africa Internet Governance Forum (WAIGF), the East Africa Internet Governance Forum (EAIGF), Forum de Gouvernance de l'Internet en Afrique Centrale (FGI-CA), and the Southern Africa Internet Governance Forum (SAIGF). These regional initiatives, though active in their operation, do not yet cover all the countries in their respective regions. Moreover some of the countries are not actively participating in the regional initiatives
There is therefore a strong need for the establishment of an African Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF) that will support and promote the consolidation of the on-going regional initiatives. It shall also reach out to continental and global stakeholders and guide in their engagement in continental, regional and national initiatives.
Main Objectives of AfIGF
AfIGF aims to be a platform for an inclusive multilateral, multi-stakeholder and multilingual discussion on issues pertinent to the Internet in Africa in general and Internet Governance issues in particular. Specific objectives include:
· To increase awareness and build capacity on Internet Governance for African users to ensure that all stakeholders are well prepared for contribution and interaction.
· To ensure that the concerns of Africa are taken into account in the IGF process.
· To put in place a coordinated African process for dealing with Internet governance issues on the continent.
· To strengthen the multi-stakeholder dialogue model for Internet Governance in Africa through regional and national forums.
· To ensure a multi-stakeholder representation of all parts of the continent
· To ensure that all the countries are part of the regional processes and launch/strengthen their national processes.
· To facilitate national and regional exchanges and interactions between countries and regions in continent.
· To facilitate the participation of African stakeholders in AfIGF and other appropriate regional and national Internet Governance Forums.
· To promote use of African languages in the cyberspace.
Hosting of the AfIGF secretariat
Hosting of the secretariat is always discussed and agreed between the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). Following the hosting of the secretariat by ECA from September 2011 to July 2014, the AUC is the current host of the Afigf secretariat with ECA providing its full support.