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African Internet freedom and development insights from Stockholm Internet Forum 2013

May 26, 2013  »  ICT PolicyNo Comment

Internet freedom is a key issue that needs to be solved in order to establish every nation as an information society. Numerous discussions take place every month around the globe. The most recent was the 2nd annual Stockholm Internet Forum (SIF) held from May 22-23. SIF 2013 certainly seems to have succeeded in achieving its goal of deeper discussions on how freedom and openness on the Internet promote economic and social development worldwide.


Speakers and participants had much to say about how the themes of security and development relate to Africa. Just on social media we can find facts from at least 20 African countries. Popular topics were Internet censorship in Ethiopia, US sanctions on Sudan, and the outlook for Internet freedom in Tunisia.

Directly quoted information is below, each with a link to the original message on Twitter.


  • “In 2012, 2.5 billion internet users in the world. Algeria has 11 million users for 1.3 broadband subscribers.”

Burkina Faso:

  • “The authorities of #Burkina Faso had cut SMS during the troubles, but not Internet, only 3% of the population uses the Internet #SIF13″
  • “Farmers contribution in the GDP= 40%, less 1% of them use Internet #Burkina Faso #SIF13, #ICT4D”


  • “About surveillance:Chadian blogger @Makbololo ‘s emails were accessed by gov,then used by Senegal 2 deport him … #sif13″

Cote d’Ivoire:

  • “Nnenna Nwakanmna @nnenna FOSSFA: During Côte d’Ivoire elections, Internet&Twitter was hugely successful tool for info to ppl. #sif13″
  • “The delegate from Cote d’Ivoire made good use of net by challenging image manipulation during war. A code of good values won’t help. #SIF13″

DR Congo:

  • “In the #DRC, lack access to Internet is quite a censorship. The Government refuse to invest on ICT infrastructure #sif13″
  • “I comment links, photos, update status…for 5 cents by SMS in facebook using my Vodacom mobile DR #Congo #sif13″
  • “Less than 1% of population have access in Internet in #DRC but prices fall while competition is growing #sif13″
  • “The authorities of the #DRC had cut SMS during the 2011 presidential election but not Internet #SIF13″


  • “Internet users in Egypt have grown from 4 million to over 13 million in just 2 years as people use the net as their source of info #SIF13″
  • “Rasha Abdulla says in Egypt there’s no censorship but people are constantly being monitored which causes self-censorship. #sif13 #gvsif”


  • “discussion about finfisher @ the internt freedom forum.#Ethiopia is one of z 30+countries on the list of users.#sif13″
  • “In #Ethiopia, you have no guarantee to run an Internet related business of any type. The g’vt may block your website for no reason. #sif13″
  • “Ethiopia is the second most populous country but it doesn’t have any private media & no indepedent internet service providers. #gvsif #sif13″
  • “If you advocte free media in #ethiopia you are labeled as neoliberal. #sif13″
  • “#Ethiopia is NOT regulating internet but it is #controlling #internet #sif13″
  • “Twitter via sms , best experience from Cuba in dealing with limited physical access to internet. #Sif13.worth trying in #Ethiopia.”


  • “#sif13: Grace Githaiga, Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) – limited broadband means not much use of e-applications e.g. telemedicine”
  • “In #Kenya there’s a lot of innovation but the quality of broadband is a challenge. There’s also diversity in use of technologies #sif13″
  • “See Kenya’s #Opendata platform on  Huge data available. #SIF13″
  • “Western researchers come to Kenya & collect ideas and take them back with them as their own.- Grace Githaiga #Sif13 #ICT4D”


  • “Morocco: unlimited Internet 3G / 7.2 Mb/s costs $10 monthly which is equivalent to one day and a half income. #sif13″


  • “In #Mozambique, we pay 3000 MT, which is $100, for 4 Mbps, max 20 GB/ month. That is more than a minimum monthly salary, $95 #SIF13″


South Africa:

  • “‘We had 300000 downloading of textbook to Mobil in South Africa’ @marlonparker” #session2c #sif13″


  • “Sudatel rep: US sanctions on #Sudan makes access to citizens limited. Most apps on app store can’t be downloaded. #sif13″
  • “The case in #Sudan reinforces the notion that “The Internet is controlled by the US” #Sanctions #SIF13″
  • “The Sanctions against #Sudan by the US is used as an excuse by the Sudanese govt itself to perpetuate HR atrocities #FxInternet #SIF13″
  • “Sudan’s inexpensive internet is due to 6 carriers competing for better service and prices. Competition works. #sif13″
  • “CEO of Sudatel in Sudan says the cost of broadband is about $2.5 dollars to access internet. #sif13″

South Sudan:

  • “Participant from #SouthSudan: much fighting online amongst #Sudanese in online platforms With freedom comes responsibility to respect #sif13″
  • “A web journalist from South Sudan wonders why discussions are focused on quantity more than quality in Internet #sif13″


  • “Anne Jellema, WWW Foundation #session2 #sif13 A study of Tanzania internet cafes shows that news appetite is huge, not only social media.”


  • “Good example from Togo of a user paying 90 USD per month for their Internet connectivity of 256kb/s from Togo Telecom. #sif13″


  • “Tunisia was the 1st African country to get connected but it trails behind South Africa economically online because of restrictions.”
  • “@mchakchouk :”National security in Tunisia was in fact the President’s security.We -state and activists- are addressing it now” #sif13″
  • “On net issues Tunisia not perfect but trying to do good stuff, @jilliancyork says. Mentions @mchakchouk who I spoke w today. #ylvp13 #sif13″


  • “‘In Uganda not too many people have access to internet, so how could they use internet freedom.’ #sif13 #opening”
  • “Who #controls the #internet? #sif13 In 2012 government of Uganda ordered ISPs to block Facebook & Twitter to crackdown #Walk2Work protests”


  • “Zambia was actually the first to get onto the Internet in southern Africa – not South Africa #sif13″


  • “Zimbabwe does not have any tech hubs. Interesting to note. #sif13 #session2b”

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