Networks that bind
The Africa Internet Summit 2013 officially kicked off Monday with many speakers challenging Africans to utilise the Internet efficiently and effectively for development.
Officially opening AIS '13, Zambia's Minister for Transport, Works, Supply and Communication Yamfwa Mukanga said Africa should use appropriate and adequate technology to enhance social and economic development. He noted that enhanced utilisation of the Internet has had multiplier effects on social and economic development in many countries in Africa. However, he decried the low penetration rates in many African countries which he said have had perilous consequences on Africa's position at the global level.
Mr Mukanga also noted that Internet governance issues are of great importance to the development of Africa. The Director General ZICTA Mrs Margaret Chalwe-Mudenda supported the view that Internet governance is an issue that affects "everybody" and asked Africans to participate effectively in determining how the Internet is used.
Delivering the keynote AfNOG Convenor Dr Nii Quaynor asked delegates and Africans to participate openly and effectively in finding focused solutions to Internet development. He noted that capacity building was critical to finding lasting and effective solutions to Internet connectivity in the continent. This was echoed by AFRINIC Board Chair Badru Ntege who noted that enhancing the skills base is critical for the future developments of Africa.
The Acting Head of Nepad's e-Africa Programme Dr Edmund Katiti said the Internet has had profound effects on Africa. He noted that although submarine cables have improved connectivity in Africa, there is still a lot to be done to improve penetration in many countries.
AFRINIC's CEO Adiel Akplogan said the organisation and others are ready to work together to promote a stable and affordable Internet access in Africa. "We have a unique responsibility to proactively share the understanding we have of the environment to offer solutions to the complex issue of Internet growth in Africa," Mr Akplogan said in his opening remarks.
Quote of the day
"For Africa to develop it needs to use appropriate and adequate technology"
Yamfwa Mukanga, Zambia's Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication test
A platform for deeper engagement
AIS '13 has been described variously as a platform for engagement, connectivity, networking, collaborating, and peering. It is also a forum where issues relating to the Internet's role in the social and economic development of Africa will be discussed.
To Adiel Akplogan, the AIS offers an opportunity for multistakeholder engagement and is a good platform for enhanced collaboration.
"The Summit will provide a platform to share meaningful ideas that should contribute to the development of the continent," saidSamson Longwe, the chairman ISPAZ. "The ideas should contribute to the development agenda."
To Badru Ntege, AIS provides an opportunity for people to come "together in one physical location … it is a place to listen and learn … share and build effective networks that work."