Over 100 participants from over 41 African countries and drawn from the government, private sector, academia, research institutions, technical community , civil society organizations, media, and other stakeholders gathered at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa for the 4th African Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF) held from 6 to 8 September 2015. AfIGF was launched in 2011 as a platform for inclusive multilateral, multi-stakeholder and multilingual discussion on issues pertinent to the Internet in Africa in general and Internet Governance issues in particular.
The AfIGF-2015 was officially opened by Hon. Prof. Hlengiwe Mkhize, the Deputy Minister for Postal and Telecommunications Services of the Republic of South Africa preceded by statements of the representatives from AUC and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa(UNECA) . In her remarks Prof. Mkhize urged participants to find ways to ensure that Africa benefits from the digital era. Recalling the African Union’s Agenda 20163 she said “We need to identify strategies and tools for us to achieve an integrated African economy — which is self-reliant and self-productive.” Prof. Mkhize echoed the call of the recently concluded Specialized Technical Committee on Communications and ICT for the AUC together with the AU Member States to develop an Africa Strategy on Internet Governance as well as management of Internet.
Several workshops and pre-events were held in the week prior to AfIGF including the 3rd African School on Internet Governance, a consultation on the WSIS + 10 process and a workshop on access to information and knowledge.
The Forum received reports from the sub-regional IGFs and held dialogue on several thematic issues including connecting the next billion, Cybersecurity issues, Public Access to Information & Knowledge, Human Rights on the Internet, the IANA Stewardship Transition, Net Neutrality, Enhancing Multi-stakeholder Cooperation and Sustainable Development and the Internet Economy. The Forum ended with recommendations addressing each of these thematic areas which were adopted by all stakeholders.
Previous forums have been held in Cairo, Nairobi and Abuja. The Secretariat of the AfIGF is jointly hosted by the Africa Union Commission and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.