Season of Changes
We are now just days away from this year’s edition of the Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (#FIFAfrica19) which will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In the lead up to FIFAfrica19, we have witnessed some interesting developments in Africa’s digital landscape.
Among them is the Policy and Regulatory Initiative for Digital Africa (PRIDA) convening at the African Union (AU), which was aimed at shaping the African digital transformation agenda through fostering universally accessible and affordable broadband across the continent to unlock future benefits of internet-based services. Further, the operational phase of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was launched and is touted to be the world’s largest free trade area once it’s fully up and running. Meanwhile, at the recently concluded World Economic Forum (WEF), the untapped digital potential of the continent was recognised, with the need for better digital infrastructure and affordable data highlighted.
Coincidentally, in the FIFAfrica19 host country, Ethiopia, the parliament passed the Communication Regulatory Proclamation, which aims to liberalise the telecommunications sector and under which licenses will be awarded to two private mobile companies.
FIFAfrica19: A Platform to Hold Up the Mirror On Africa’s Digital Landscape
While all these developments sound promising, there remains a fundamental need for a multistakeholder approach that addresses the persisting gaps in legislation and practices related to Information and Communications Technology. As such, FIFAfrica provides an avenue for identifying and deliberating on these gaps, in addition to providing recommendations, including by marginalised and vulnerable communities such as persons with disabilities. Some of these are captured in this brief: Digital Rights in Africa: Challenges and Policy Options.
FIFAfrica presents a wide-ranging lineup of workshops and sessions among them, consultations on Internet Rights, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Collaborative Advocacy hosted by the Global Network Initiative (GNI).
Meanwhile, AfricanFeminism.Com will assemble actors win the African feminist movement at the Forum in a session titled “End of Politeness: African Feminist Movements and Digital Voice”. The collective will illustrate how the current pan-African feminism movement is thriving on access to technologies that earlier generations did not have, to advance women’s rights to self-expression and access to information.
Ahead of the Forum on September 23 –24, there will be a series of meetings and workshops, including a policy round table discussion hosted by the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE). This discussion will bring together public, private, and civil society stakeholders from across the continent to discuss regional opportunities for inclusive economic and entrepreneurial development in an increasingly digital future. Topics at the policy roundtable will include data flows and privacy, eCommerce and eTrade, e-payments and financial inclusion, and the future of entrepreneurship.
FIFAfrica19 will also feature a photographic exhibition hosted by Afrophilia Magazine titled “If I were free. If we were free…” The exhibition will showcase art from Africa and the diaspora with the aim of challenging narrative about the continent online and offline. Other exhibitors will include the Ministry of Innovation and Technology (Ethiopia), Small Media, Together!, Jigsaw, Cyrilla Collaborative, Netblocks, the Democratic Principles for an Open Internet, Localization Lab, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), SafeSisters and the Internet Society.
These are just a few of the numerous sessions, workshops and exhibitions that will be taking place next week among others including on topics such as biometrics and facial recognition technology, digital rights and revolution, refugees and access to technology, censorship, ICT and persons with disabilities, elections, internet shutdowns, and the right to associate and assemble in the digital age among many others. See the latest agenda.
Participants at the Forum will also have access to the Digital Security Hub, hosted by experts from Access Now, DefendDefenders, the Digital Security Alliance, Defenders Protection Initiative, and Greenhost.
Unable to attend #FIFAfrica19 in person
We have you covered. Be sure to join the discussions online using #FIFAfrica19 and #InternetFreedomAfrica. A live-stream will be available on our YouTube Channel as well.
Important Notices On Attendance and Registration
Please note that the Forum is in two parts
23–24 September, are days dedicated towards closed meetings and invitation only workshops.
25–26 September, are days open to all registered attendees.
By now, all recipients of travel support have received their information on flights and visas. For further information please refer to the travel note. If you have any further visa related queries please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Spread The Word
We look forward to seeing you at #FIFAfrica19 in person and online. We encourage you to share your thoughts on internet freedom with us and the wider community online. Please use the hashtags #FIFAfrica19 and #InternetFreedomAfrica.
Code of Conduct
Interactions at FIFAfrica include many different opinions and experiences hence it is essential to uphold respect and ensure comfortable participation for all attendees, staff and support personnel. Attendees of the Forum must follow the Code of conduct which covers the main Forum events and all Forum-related social events such as parties, gatherings at restaurants, bars and hotels. It also covers the conduct of participants on online platforms during the Forum. The Code of conduct is aimed at building a community that is free from intimidation, discrimination, or hostility by upholding dignity, decency, and respect among participants.
Please read the #FIFAfrica Code of Conduct.