Kenya Internet Governance Forum today marked its tenth anniversary since its inception in 2008.
Themed as the “Internet and Elections;Shape your Digital Future!.” the theme is in line with the current happenings in the country, with the General elections slated for August 8th.
The theme is also aligned with the UN Internet Governance Forum slated for December 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland. The conference aims to serve as a platform for policy dialogue on issues of Internet governance in Kenya.
While giving her opening remarks, Grace Githaiga, co-Convener of the Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet), said, “The Kenya IGF is a unique platform for all stakeholders y openly exchange perspectives and concerns on key issues as regards to internet. KICTANet catalyses ICT reforms through the from a public interest perspective contribution.”
She further added that the key objectives KICTANet is to bring onboard new voices for policy dialogue through an informal setting.
Speaking at the same forum, Ms. Fadzai Madzingira of Facebook Africa policy team said that Facebook’s new mission was to give people power to build communities. This in return has since seen Facebook improve on the information shared by improving on their privacy and security settings to ensure people are safe on the internet.
In support of the role of internet in elections, other topics that were highly discussed during the conference, included Surveillance and Human rights online,Focusing on the future of the Internet in Africa, Information Control, Policies Enabling Access and Digital literacy in the age of e-government, Cyber-security, Fake News among others.
Further to this Dr. Kate Getao, ICT Secretary Ministry of ICT said, “The internet is becoming a priority for many people in Kenya. Almost half of the Kenyan population is using internet.Kenyans have been given a lot of openness and participation when it comes to internet.By the bed of this year all the 47 counties will have fibre connectivity.The government is fully committed to the internet for service delivery and information.”
On behalf of the Director General, Communications Authority of Kenya, Francis Wangusi, Mr.Joseph Nzano said, “The ICT sector in Kenya has experience exponential growth which has also resulted to emerging challenges – cyber security. The development of national security framework will enhance a coordinated response to cybercrime.
He further added that CA will continue to engage, collaborate and partner with other stakeholders in addressing emerging challenges in the cyberspace.
“CA has rolled out a child online protection campaign to practice safe internet use. We need to develop a harmonized framework to address the main top agendas in the ICT forums,” he added.
The outcomes from the Kenya Internet Governance Forum are expected to feed into the East African Internet Governance Forum, which will later be shared in the Africa Internet Governance Forum. The outcomes of the Africa Internet Governance Forum, will further be shared at Global UN Internet Governance Forum in Geneva, Switzerland .
After the inception of the Internet Governance Forum in 2006, Kenya became the first country in Africa to hold a National IGF forum. The first meeting was held in October 2008. Since then, KIGF has brought to birth a number of projects. Among the positive outcomes of the multi stakeholder framework of collaboration championed by the Kenya Internet Governance Forum was the launch and eventual commissioning of the National Optic Fibre Backbone (NOFBI) which connected all administrative centre’s in the country.
The National Optic Fibre Backbone has since enabled countrywide roll out of electronic government services such as the Integrated Financial Management System IFMIS which is used to manage the government payroll and procurement process and Kenya Revenue Authorities i-tax systems that significantly improved management and stewardship of the country’s financial resources by promoting accountability and effective collection of taxes.