Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Saly 2 - Recommendations for Strengthening Regional Internet Governance in West Africa

uring the regional meeting organized by the Panos Institute West Africa (PIWA), on "Legal and policy frameworks for the information society in West Africa", in Saly, Senegal, with the support of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), a one day consultative forum was held to discuss West African participation in the Internet governance Forum (IGF).
The aim was to inform stakeholders on the IGF processes, its implementation, and the current on-going review; and to further discuss its interests and impacts for West Africa on the road to the fourth annual meeting of the Forum in Egypt.
The forum highlighted the following priorities and recommendations for consideration during IG discussions and deliberations:
Awareness: Further develop awareness and capacity building on IG and its processes;
Access to infrastructure: With regards to technical infrastructure, regional backbone
and internet exchange points (IXPs), government should ensure the creation of policies
to support regional infrastructure development with support for cross border connectivity,
right of passage for cable infrastructure and open access to landing stations in West
African countries;
Open Standards and Interoperability: Understanding the role of government as a
producer, purchaser and regulator of information, government should ensure its services
are available to all by developing interoperability standards that allow universal access;
Internet Security, Safety and Trust: Building trust and confidence in online services
to be able to allow wider usage of eGovernance facilities, eCommerce and
implementation of other online activities;
Development of Multilingual and Local Content: Providing useful and relevant
content in local and national languages, meeting the needs of West Africans, as well as
promoting internationalized domain names;
National and Regional Top Level Domain Names: Establishment of, and the
strengthening of a West African and continental identity through names such as .africa
and a regional West African domain to ensure localisation of cost and traffic within the
Transparency: Promoting transparency in governance at national and regional levels in
the information society;
Collaborative Approach: Strengthening of multistakeholder approaches in internet
governance, policy and decision making processes, through face to face meetings and
remote participation;
Digital literary and technologies: Bridging the literacy gap and develop better access
to ICTs for all citizens and communities;
Role of Regional Governance and Economic Commissions: Encouraging regional
institutions such as the ECOWAS to be more involved in IG processes;
Funding: national and international partners should earmark adequate budgetary
resources to sustain IG processes;
Regional and National IG Fora: participants recommend that ECOWAS and other key
stakeholders organise a wider, higher level platform involving more West African
stakeholders, as well as national and African wide discussions, prior to the Sharm-El-
Cheikh IGF to better prepare African and West African responses.
Saly, 13 March 2009

List of institutions
Agence de Régulation des Postes et Télécommunications (ARTP) du Senegal ; Article 19 Africa ; West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (WATRA) ; Communications Commission of Kenya ; Center for Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP, Liberia) ; Centre National de Presse Norbert Zongo (Burkina Faso) ; Centre d'Etudes sur les Sciences et Techniques de l'Information (CESTI) ; CITS/University of
Lagos (Nigeria); Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS); Connexion Sans Frontieres (Senegal) ; Datatech (Mali); DiploFoundation; Electronic Frontier Foundation (USA); Global Voices Online (USA – Sub Saharan Africa); GoreeTIC/APC;
Haut Commissariat sur les TIC du Niger ; Information Technology (Industry) Association of Nigeria (ITAN); Panos Institute West Africa (PIWA) ; Kictanet (Kenya) ; Kontemporary Komputers (Nigeria) ; leblogdeyoro (Côte d'Ivoire) ; Ministère en charge des TIC du
Bénin ; Ministère en charge des TIC du Mali ; Ministère en charge des TIC du Senegal ; Ministry of Information and Communication (Sierra Leone); National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA, Nigeria); Open Society Institute West Africa (OSIWA); Penplusbytes (Ghana); PressAfrik.com (Senegal); Radio1 FM (The Gambia) ; Réseau des Journalistes pour les Droits de l'Homme (Niger) ; the Independant (Uganda) ;Université Gaston Berger (Senegal); University of Ghana, Legon (Ghana) ; University of Maryland (USA).

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