Since the previous session of the Special Technical Committee on Communication and ICT which took place in September 2015, key developments have taken place in the sectors of communication and information technology and in the infrastructure development as general.
It is against this backdrop among others that, African Ministers of Communication and Information Technologies met in Addis Ababa during the second ordinary session of the Specialized Technical Committee on Communication and ICT (STC CICT-2) to discuss and make decisions on continental and regional programmes that impact Africans in the communications and ICT sectors.
The central themes of this conference are related to the evolution of the information society in Africa and its ongoing digital transformation, namely: the intra Africa connectivity; access to broadband Internet; delivery of digital services and digital literacy of the African citizens.
The Ministerial Conference – held at the headquarters of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – was opened by Mr Cheikh Bedda, Director, Infrastructure and Energy Department, on behalf of the Commissioner, Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy of the African Union, under the chairmanship of Mr Modibo Arouna Touré, Minister of Digital Economy and Communication, Mali.
The Chair of the STC on Communication and ICT, Minister Modibo Arouna Touré on his part noted that since 2000, the world has gone through major changes due to the tremendous development of communications and IT and this is affected societies and lives.
“The Governance of the Internet is a concern to all of us because it is in the heart of economic, political, geopolitical stakes at the national level. For this particular reason it becomes imperative for Africa to become actively involved in the dynamics of Internet Governance, Cybersecurity, and Cybercrime,” stated Touré. He further urged the Member States to have integrated vision to better use ICTs and to have more proactive participation in Internet Governance and Cybersecurity meetings.
Mr Touré shed light on some achievements and outcomes deserved to be further consolidated: The adoption of the Action Plan to implement the Decisions on Communication and Information Technologies; the implementation of management organization for the sustainability of the Pan African e-Network (PAeN) project; the holding of the Extra-Ordinary session of the STC CCICT on Internet Governance and Cybersecurity; ownership of different domains such as Dot Africa; the increase of Internet exchange points in Africa as part of the African Internet Exchange Point System (AXIS) in addition to others.
Mr Cheikh Bedda welcomed the ministers and expressed satisfaction with the work of experts and the quality of discussions during their session. He briefed the meeting on steps taken by the AU Commission to improve access, promote electronic transaction, combat cyber-crime, enhancing Africa’s participation in Internet policy, Internet Governance and Cybersecurity at the international level. Bedda said that a great opportunity for Internet economy given to Africa by the delegation of Dot Africa (.Africa) as a new generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) for the African continent.
“The AU Commission strongly believes that the building of Africa’s information society requires a secure and safe Cyber space, an appropriate infrastructure and efficient coordination and adequate harmonized legal and regulatory frameworks” emphasized Mr. Bedda. He added that “The AU Commission developed a Convention on Cyber legislations for the continent that adheres to the legal and regulatory requirements on electronic transactions, cyber security, and personal data protection. The Convention was adopted by AU Assembly in June 2014,” said Bedda, who further called on member states to ratify the Convention.
The meeting elected the following Members to the Bureau of the CCICT-2 for the next 2 years:
- Eastern Africa: Ethiopia- Chair of the Bureau;
- Central Africa: Congo- 1st Vice Chair of the Bureau;
- Northern Africa: Tunisia- 2nd Vice Chair of the Bureau;
- Southern Africa: South Africa- 3rd Vice Chair of the Bureau;
- Western Africa: Ghana- Rapporteur of the Bureau
This second 2017 ordinary session of the Specialized Technical Committee (STC) on Communication and ICT ended on Friday November 24, 2017.