Southern Africa Internet Governance Forum (SAIGF) promotes regional integration
The Southern Africa Internet Governance Forum was inaugurated in September 2011 with the overall objective of developing a coordinated and coherent approach to dealing with Internet Governance issues in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).
This year, the Government of Angola hosted the conference from August 5-7, 2013 in Luanda under the theme of “Internet Governance as a Building Block of SADC Regional Integration.” At their core, IGFs raise awareness of issues among decision makers. They exist to stimulate internet policy dialogue at a national level. Although IGFs are not decision-making forums, they are very important forums for capacity building and the exchanges of ideas. In attendance were delegates from seven SADC member states: Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Kingdom of Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. There were also representatives from the private sector, civil society, and NGOs.
On the docket for SAIGF were the usual discussions of emerging issues and operational aspects. For one, Angola was able to tout how the government is developing a wide and ambitious program of national reconstruction in which supportive infrastructures for ICT development have priority. Also:
- The Head of the NEPAD e-Africa Programme reminded all that the Internet is affecting every aspect of our lives and Africa as a continent needs to have a coordinated and effective voice in the way the Internet is governed
- SADC Region has developed the SADC Harmonized Cyber Security Legal Framework comprising model laws on e-Transactions/e-Commerce Model Law; Data Protection Model Law; and Cybercrime Model Law
- National IGFs were proposed (they current exist in many countries of West, East, and Central Africa)
- An African School on Internet Governance (AfriSIG) will hopefully be held annually to encourage participation from all parts of society
Presentations touched on a variety of complex themes. A few that stand out to us include:
- Boosting the Economy Through the Internet: The Case of Botswana
- Mapping multistakeholderism in Internet governance: Implications for Africa
- Infraestructure e IXPs
- Local Content and Local Application
A full list of recommendations from SAIGF can be found on the official site. They generally are IXPs, local content, security, IPv6, ccTLDs, and national IGFs. Presentations (in PDF format) are also available.
The SAIGF is co-convened by the NEPAD Agency, the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and the Southern Africa NGO Network (Sangonet) under auspices of the SADC Secretariat.