The Kenyan IGF held on 6th July 2012 at Jacaranda hotel was a vibrant and engaging forum, this is one among many active and engaging forums in the country that continues to attract the attention of the internet fraternity that is very vibrant in Kenya. And was attended by DotCOnnectAfrica among other stakeholders.
Issues that were of main discussion included the International Telecommunications Union under the ATU arm, presentations that discussed the ITR’s (International Telecommunications Resolutions )and how they affect Africa especially now that the telecommunication sector has experienced tremendous changes from the 80’s and 90’s when only telephony was the main technology, the introduction of internet a facet that has evidently changed the whole communication aspect in the industry.
Of major concern deliberated was how the Effects of including internet among the ITR’s and how it would affect internet as an entirely independent yet synergizing. Questions raised that will remain perhaps unanswered for a long time would include the freedoms that have been achieved by internet even as the UN has recently declared its freedom a human right, Shall the ITR’s proposed Jeopardize these gains, shall countries be able to come to a concussive and sober agreements despite the vested individual interest. Another major issue is how Africa as an emerging force shall be able to put forward its own recommendations to the international platform without feeling left out or intimidated.
The Issue of Content and how Africa needed to achieve its digital revolution were well articulated by Dr. Ndemo who urged the Africans and indeed the youth to be critically involved in changing the face of Africa in the blogosphere by investing in creating African Content without which Africa would not be able to preserve its culture. This he noted was one of the greatest challenges of ICT in the region was availability of locally generated content.
He decried the fact that The availability of opendata from government was not being fully utilized despite the huge resources put in introducing OpenData, he reiterated two main factors of great importance, that everybody must access internet and that the Internet must e used to visibly change lives.
The current ICANN new gTLD process where delegates were informed of the new process, of major concern was the low number of strings applied for by Africa . Africa applied for only 17 gTLD’s among them our own DotAfrica (.Africa). Participants were challenged on the lack of using the subsidized fee of 47,000 USD despite the sustained lobbying.
DotConnectAfrica also took to this opportunity to clarify that it has Applied for the same gTLD as uniforum and that it would continue to work hard as it has always done to ensure that the effective campaigns single handedly made by DCA to market Africa come to fruition come 2013 t bring a local world class registry.
By and large African region was urged to be more involved in ICANNs activities by participating in the local for a as well as using the available fellowships offered by ICANN to attend conferences, it’s a challenge that the effect of ICANN’s activities have not been fully felt and intense lobbying still needs to be made by the local ISOC chapters as well as IGF’s.
We look forward to the EastAfrican IGF slated for 17th to 18th July, and we shall keep you posted .