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One on one with Dawit Bekele on Internet Development and Governance in Africa

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The Internet development and governance is growing very fast influencing the way of life and how people interact. Internet penetration levels are about 20% and rising. Mobile subscriptions are just shy of 70%, and mobile broadband access accounts for more than 90% of Internet subscriptions.

The benefits of increased connectivity and Internet access come with many challenges of cybercrime and privacy concerns. The African Union developed a Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection that will make sure that member states establish legal frameworks for e-transactions, protection of data, and punishment of violations. But, achieving a secure environment and protecting privacy requires collaboration from all Internet governance sectors.

“The African Union launched Agenda 2063, spelling out development aspirations for the next 50 years, this marks a great milestone for internet governance and development in Africa.” Dawit Bekele said. Africa’s significant growth in mobile communications and steady growth in Internet penetration are in large part attributable to efforts done by African governments working in partnership with other stakeholders to create an enabling environment, fostering the development of Internet infrastructure. The high growth of internet access has been strengthened by regional and national IGFs, and the increased commitment of African governments to ICT development.

“Africa needs to continue developing and strengthening its Internet ecosystem to ensure that policies and solutions can be localized and that all stakeholders can have a say in how the Internet continues to develop and evolve.” Dawit Bekele added.

The Africa DNS Forum was launched in 2012 as a joint collaboration between the Internet Society, AfTLD and ICANN to provide a platform for the advancement of the DNS industry in Africa. This annual Forum is intended to foster collaboration between key stakeholders to find ways of growing and sustaining Africa’s ccTLDs and explore new opportunities in the DNS industry.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is responsible for managing and administering the DNS and coordinating registries for the Internet’s unique identifiers: IP addresses protocol-parameters, and top- level domains. ICANN holds public policy meetings three times each year on a rotational basis in different regions of the world; the meetings embody a bottom-up, multistakeholder, consensus-based process for dealing with policies and processes related to the Internet’s naming and numbers system.

Human Rights and Freedom of Expression are tested because many people have access to smartphones and computers that will be as a result of internet development and governance. Human Rights released a report on the protection and promotion of the right to privacy in the digital age, which called for greater transparency on surveillance laws and policies and recommended that member states should ensure that national laws on surveillance complied with international human rights laws.

The future of internet development and governance is bright. Internet governance has expanded in complexity and importance, reflecting the expanding importance of the Internet. At the same time, many Africans have become increasingly active in all facets of Internet development, administration, and operation contributing to shaping the future of internet.

What is your opinion on the topic?
Erick Vateta
Tech Editor at Kachwanya.com
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Erick Vateta is a lawyer by training, poet, script and creative writer by talent, a model, and tech enthusiast. He covers International tech trends, data security and cyber attacks.
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