Models of the open internet: lessons from the African multistakeholder community

April 23, 2024 @ 9:00 am – 5:00 pm Europe/Rome Timezone
Accra, Ghana
RSCAS Conference Unit

Join this session which is part of the 2024 Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum held in Ghana

Fostering rights and inclusion in the digital age depends upon a shared vision of the internet as open, free, global, interoperable, reliable, affordable, trustworthy and secure. The importance of open Internet and human-centred digital transition as drivers of development have been acknowledged by states and stakeholders all over the world, including in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the African Union’s Agenda 2063, and the Declaration for the Future of the Internet (DFI). However, this vision is challenged by competing ideas of closed technical, economic, and social approaches to internet governance that threaten the global and open nature of the internet. These approaches have implications for social development, international security, economic growth, and human rights, including through practices like internet shutdowns, mass-surveillance practices, and the targeting of activists and civil society.

This session aims to facilitate a discussion on a shared vision for the future of the internet in Africa, first by looking at practical case studies of the open internet from four different African countries: 1) The Kenya model of open multistakeholder Internet Governance; 2) The Burundi model of Digital Skills development; 3) the Senegal model of open Internet technical infrastructure; and 4) the South Africa model of open internet-enabling policy and regulation.

Drawing lessons from different parts of the multistakeholder community, the session will also consider what practical steps stakeholders can take to strengthen the open internet and support the implementation of the principles outlined in the DFI.

Project funded by the European Union under the service contract no. NDICI/2023/447-807