The Internet has ferried the world through the pandemic in numerous ways. It allowed the space for continuance when the world was grabbed by the shoulders and vigorously wrung by COVID-19. In this strange entanglement, the Internet has played a somewhat extraordinary role. The Kenya Internet Governance Forum (KeIGF) will serve as an expansive tool in exploring this further, amongst various issues in regard to policy dialogue.
The Kenya Network Information Centre (KeNIC) has adopted the crucial role as a sponsor for the Kenya Internet Governance Forum 2020, to be held in three days on 29 October. As a key role player in the ICT ecosystem, KeNIC is also in partnership with KICTANet.
KeIGF is a unique platform for various stakeholders to have an open dialogue and exchange on policy issues around the topic of Internet governance, especially in relation to the pandemic. They explore the key concerns that may affect the future of the Internet for millions of Kenyans in numerous ways.
It is a cooperative engagement of multi-stakeholders who discuss Internet governance as one of the key features for the Internet’s success. The IGF has been held annually since 2006 and Kenya hosted the Global IGF in 2011. “In 2020, the IGF will approach network resilience specifically from a people-centred perspective, exploring how it has supported the human resilience and solidarity needed to respond to the many challenges posed by the pandemic’” says Ali Hussein, Chairman of KICTANet.
The Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) is a multi-stakeholder platform for people and institutions interested and involved in ICT policy and regulation. The network aims to act as a catalyst for reform in the ICT sector in support of the national aim of ICT enabled growth and development.
The proposed theme for the KeIGF is ‘Internet for human resilience and solidarity’. Within the folds of it, are envisioned sub-themes: trust, data and inclusion.
Trust is a must, in the online world. For the Internet to flourish successfully, it must be as inseparable from trust, as fire is to smoke. This entanglement can be a prospective tool for empowerment, free speech and the drive for economic development. For a healthy and safe digital environment, security, stability and resilience are the way forward to building trust within the digital community.
The forum will provide opportunities to discuss and dissect strategies and the best practices for protecting both systems and users, along with appropriate roles and responsibilities of the government. Additionally, this facet will tackle the consideration of the relationship between security and users’ fundamental freedoms and rights and understanding responses needed to the growing range of threats to the global Internet and Internet users of all age groups.
Inclusion encompasses equal opportunity and involvement of marginalized groups, that have limited or no access to the Internet and those for which the Internet is not accessible due to disability, digital literacy, affordability, gender and any other reason, to be meaningfully connected to the internet.
It’s also about activities related to the accomplishment of an inclusive information society, about engaging all stakeholders and overseeing that everyone has fair and equal say and is treated uniformly in decision-making processes and ensuring that everyone has the right access, skills, and motivations to reap the social advantages of participating in the digital economy.
The data track will discuss the challenges in regard to ensuring the benefits of the data revolution to contribute to the wellbeing of economic development while also protecting the rights of the people. It will allow a diversity of views on how to support and operationalize the exercise of human rights and the empowerment of users in the digital profile in current uses and development of data-driven technologies.
Similarly, the discussion will surround identifying the best approaches to ensure the development of human-centric data governance frameworks at national, regional and international levels.
The participants of the virtual forum will include hundreds of individuals from a coalescence of contributors and conversationalists from various sectors including the government, the private sector, civil society, the technical and academic community and the general public.
KeNIC is a domain registry that was developed in 1993 with the aim of creating a nonprofit organization to oversee and operate the ‘.ke’ and ‘ccTLDs’. It also looks at the development of internet-related services in Kenya, through various national and international organizations through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs). With the aid of the government, KeNIC hopes to ensure equal standards in regard to Kenya being on par with global internet technologies.
“As a fully voluntary organization, one of the critical issues we always face is funding. We have managed to surmount these challenges by vigorously fundraising which significantly helps us to execute our mandate'” Ali remarks. As a sponsor, KeNIC is seeking to offer support and partnership of the forum and largely of the informative mission and advantageous outcomes that will spawn from it. Thus, they play a crucial role in contributing to the success of the event and ensuring it leads on swimmingly.
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