ICT policy

ICT policy

  • Southern African Internet Governance Forum - Call for Expression of Interest

    The Association for Progressive Communications (APC), NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NEPAD Agency) and Southern African NGO Network (SANGONeT) will convene a Southern African Internet Governance Forum (SAIGF) from 1-3 September 2011 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

    The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was established in 2006 as a direct result of the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Phase II, held from 16-18 November 2005 in Tunis, Tunisia. The World Summit recognised the importance and benefits of “enhanced cooperation” in harnessing the powers of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for socio-economic development at all levels - global, regional, national and local. 

    The mandate of the IGF is not to be a decision-making body, but to offer a valuable space for dialogue for all those who have an important role and responsibility in the development of the Information Society to discuss Internet governance issues, and allows participants to share practical experiences from different perspectives. It is a multi-stakeholder mechanism which includes Governments, international organisations, the private sector, civil society, academics, the technical community, and others with a view to encouraging policy dialogue.

    The original mandate of the IGF was from 2006-2010 during which five IGFs were held in various countries. A renewed mandate has been provided for 2011-2015, and from 27-30 September 2011 Kenya will host the sixth IGF and first under the new mandate.

    The aims of the SAIGF is to ensure that the views and voices of Southern Africa are represented at the 2011 IGF and to contribute to the establishment of a coordinated and coherent framework for dealing with Internet governance issues in Southern Africa. The SAIGF will identify, deliberate upon, and collate issues relating to the Internet, its governance and development in Southern Africa, and document suggested interventions for addressing such issues.

    If you are interested in attending the SAIGF, please complete the “Expression of Interest”.

    Participation is free of charge, but will be limited to 120 delegates.

    Limited funding for travel is available to support the participation of delegates, but preference will be given to those who can demonstrate commitment by meeting some of the cost.

    The deadline for submissions of "Expression of Interest" is Friday, 5 August 2011.

  • WSIS Forum 2011 unites governments with grassroots to re-energize the development agenda

    World leaders are gathering in Geneva this week to work on strategies to more effectively harness the power and reach of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals in crucial areas like health and education.

    Co-organized by ITU, UNESCO, UNCTAD and UNDP, the World Summit on the Information Society (16-20 May) is the world’s largest annual gathering of the world’s ‘ICT for development’ community, including UN agencies, governments, civil society and ICT industry representatives.

    Guest speakers at this morning’s opening ceremony included Ministers and deputies from 17 countries, including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Burundi, El Salvador, Finland, Gambia, Ghana, India, Mexico, Montenegro, Oman, Philippines, Poland, the Russian Federation, Serbia, and the United Arab Emirates.

    Delegates also heard interventions from ITU Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun Touré; Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD; Juan Somavia, Director-General of the ILO; Janis Karklins, Deputy-Director of UNESCO; Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, Director-General, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of the United Arab Emirates; John Davis, Vice-President, Intel Corporation and General Manager of Intel’s World Ahead Program, and Cyril Ritchie, President of the Conference on NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the UN (CoNGO).

    This year’s WSIS Forum also welcomes more than 70 Members of Parliament and many other senior government figures. Over 1,000 representatives from around 140 countries are expected to attend the week-long event.

    In his opening address, Dr Touré stressed the importance of broadband to national economic and social development. “I think we are all very much aware of how close we are to the 2015 deadline for meeting the WSIS targets and the Millennium Development Goals. We have made quite extraordinary progress in terms of connectivity, the creation of an enabling environment, and cybersecurity. The next major step must be to repeat the ‘mobile miracle’ for broadband Internet,” he said.

    The Forum will also serve as the venue for the UN Group on the Information Society’s first meeting of the open consultation process on the overall review of the implementation of the WSIS outcomes. Stakeholders will jointly brainstorm on the action plan for the Review Process (WSIS+10), to be held 10 years after the conclusion of the Summit, as recommended in the Tunis Agenda.

    In addition to reviewing progress towards the WSIS targets set for 2015, this year’s WSIS Forum will foster interactive debate and information exchange on a wide range of key topics such as rural development, multilingualism, environmental sustainability, education, healthcare and innovation.

    The opening ceremony was followed by a High Level session, Working Together Towards 2015. Ongoing High-level Dialogues throughout the course of the week include:
    • Right to Communication
    • Innovation for Digital Inclusion
    • ICTs to Enable Least Developed Countries
    • Building Confidence and Security in Cyberspace
    Alongside an exhibition component, the Forum offers participants a diverse range of meetings and activities, including Interactive WSIS Action Line Facilitators Meetings, Interactive Sessions, Country and Thematic Workshops and Knowledge Exchanges. Afternoon sessions each day will also feature the release of a number of new publications and briefings from participating organizations. The Forum programme also includes the Parliamentary Forum as well as meetings of the Internet Governance Forum.

    The WSIS agenda is the result of a comprehensive open consultation process involving all stakeholders. Spanning three phases, this year’s process welcomed 150 contributions from 50 countries.

    Remote participation is an integral component of the WSIS Forum 2011. Each session can be viewed remotely at: http://groups.itu.int/wsis-forum2011/Home.aspx.

    This year’s WSIS Forum 2011 programme has been greatly enhanced thanks to the strategic partnership and contribution of the United Arab Emirates. The Forum has also benefited from contributions of Oman for the series of workshops, and Mexico for Spanish interpretation.

    Videos, photos, live and archived webcasts, and transcripts of speeches can be found at the event Newsroom at www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/wsis/index.aspx , or on the main event website at http://groups.itu.int/wsis-forum2011/Home.aspx. Follow the event on Twitter at #WSIS.

    For more information, please contact:

    Sarah Parkes
    Chief, Media Relations & Public Information
    Tel: +41 22 730 6135
    Mobile: +41 79 599 1439
    E-mail: sarah.parkes@itu.int

    Jaroslaw K. Ponder
    Strategy & Policy Advisor,
    Tel: +41 22 730 6065
    E-mail: jaroslaw.ponder@itu.int

    To view other NGO press releases, refer to www.ngopulse.org/group/home-page/pressreleases.

    Date published: 
    International Telecommunication Union
  • Botswana Thetha ICT Discussion Forum

    The Botswana Thetha ICT Discussion Forum will be held on 10 March 2010 at the Gaborone Sun in Gaborone, Botswana.

    The event forms part of a series of regional events that SANGONeT is hosting in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Botswana. Organised and implemented in conjunction with the Department of Library & Information Studies at the University of Botswana, the Botswana event will bring together various ICT stakeholders, including representatives from government, ICT industry, NGOs and the donor community, to discuss key “ICT for Development (ICT4D)” challenges and opportunities relevant to the future development of Botswana.

    Discussions at the event will be informed by a research report, "Towards an Information Society in Botswana", which was compiled by researchers as the Department of Library & Information Studies at the University of Botswana.

    To read the report, refer to http://www.ngopulse.org/sites/ngopulse.org/files/botswana_thetha_final_4....

    To participate in the event, please contact Prof Stephen Mutula at the Department of Library & Information Studies, University of Botswana on Tel: +267 355 2627 or Mobile: +267 71 42 4991.
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    Gaborone Sun Hotel, Gaborone
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  • Zambia Thetha ICT Discussion Forum

    The Zambia Thetha ICT Discussion Forum will be held on 28 October 2009 at the Golfview Hotel in Lusaka.

    The event forms part of a series of regional events that SANGONeT is hosting in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Botswana.

    Organised and implemented in conjunction with JSM Business Consultants / COMDEV, the Zambia event will bring together various ICT stakeholders, including representatives from government, ICT industry, NGOs and the donor community, to discuss key “ICT for Development (ICT4D)” challenges and opportunities relevant to the future development of Zambia.

    The discussions will be informed by the “ICT4D: Challenges and Opportunities in Zambia" research report that John Munsaka of JSM Business Consultants / COMDEV prepared in support of the event.
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    Golfview Hotel, Lusaka
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  • ICT4D: Challenges and Opportunities in Zambia

    Download the full report here.

    Information and Communications Technology for Development (ICT4D) has become a truly global undertaking, bringing together north and south, rich and not so rich (poor), those who live in urban areas as well as those who live in rural environments. It has also brought together researchers and ICT practitioners, technologists and social scientists to strive and work towards a better life for the least privileged.

    On a planet where there are well over one billion users of the internet, there are still more than one billion people living on a dollar a day. The same technology that has transformed the lives of the privileged has remained out of reach and irrelevant for those who are less privileged.

    In a typical rural economy on the African continent, most of the focus is on basic requirements for living such as clean drinking water, basic health systems and improved education systems. While there are many ways of communication using traditional media such as radio and newspapers in local languages, newer technologies such as computers and the internet are finding their way into people’s homes and community-based centres at a very slow pace.

    ICT4D involves multiple sectors - government, academia, small, medium and micro-enterprises, large corporates and NGOs - and draws interest from multiple disciplines that include the likes of anthropology, political science, sociology, economics, engineering design and computer science to name but a few. As with many multidisciplinary fields the boundaries are amorphous and the goals are many, but there is need to identify core components that define the field.

    This research report looks at various aspects that can bring about an impact on development using the appropriate application of ICT to accelerate or even jumpstart progress in Zambia. ICTs on their own are not a panacea for economic problems but once properly harnessed and used can easily enhance developmental efforts.

    Chapter 1 introduces aspects required to attain development using various attributes of ICT that include human resources as well as technology. It also addresses the trends in implementation, from the focus on ICT access issues to the adoption of appropriate technologies for development for all market segments. The inclusion of society, in its broadest sense, in deploying ICT as a true tool for enhanced development is also presented, as is the role ICT will play as a crosscutting tool for the attainment of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This is followed by a scan of the current ICT environment in Zambia, including the work done thus far on the ICT policy and whether it addresses ICT4D. ICT indicators for the country show that, while strides have been made in the mobile sector, growth in the fixed line market has stagnated and broader internet access has not been achieved.

    Barriers that are currently affecting the uptake and use of the internet are addressed. These range from the high costs associated with the provision of broadband through satellite and fibre-optic cable, taking into account that the country is landlocked and will have to depend on other countries to provide broadband through fibre.

    The current regulatory regime and the barriers that market players face are assessed, including their impact on the growth of the sector. A key issue in infrastructure development is the lack of collaboration between key market players, the result being the development of a national fibre backbone by three different players. Further, the lack of collaboration by the two state-owned institutions is a major concern for both service providers and ICT practitioners.

    The role of the Non Government Organisations Coordination Committee (NGOCC) and other advocacy groups is discussed. While it is noted that the NGOCC has largely focused its attention on political and poverty reduction issues, a few interest groups such as eBRAIN and PANOS Southern Africa, have taken ICT issues on board. The Computer Society of Zambia has also played a key role in advocacy, although its role has been mainly through professional gatherings. The NGOCC has influence and this influence could attain similar results if ICT-related issues were added to their agenda. There is need for collaboration between all advocacy agencies with NGOCC taking the lead role.

    Access and usage of ICT is a critical issue requiring attention, particularly since access is limited to the rail and major road networks corridors, leaving much of the country underserved. ICT usage does not necessarily lead to an improvement in livelihoods and specific attention is needed to ensure that efforts are focused on the application of ICT4D in areas that will have an impact on people’s lives.

    Chapter 2 presents the methodology which was used to draw conclusions for this study. About 15 face-to-face interviews were conducted, in addition to a questionnaire survey which was sent to 10 key market players, both end-users and service providers. Online debates were conducted with interest groups such as eBRAIN and the Computer Society of Zambia. Over 40 participant responses were analysed. Interviews were carried out in Southern, Northern and Western Lusaka, as well as in the Copperbelt, where interviews were held with ICT consumers in areas such as health, education, business, agriculture and broadcasting as well with ICT service providers. Interviews and discussions were also held with government end-users and ICT professionals in government agencies.

    Chapter 3 presents the research findings as drawn from various sectors such as infrastructure, agriculture, education and health. End-user experiences of ICTs are also reflected.

    Chapter 4 provides an overview of the challenges, as perceived by a range of key stakeholders, which extend from competitive markets to the costs they incur for bringing such services to market. Other issues include: the high costs of access and equipment; the capacity to take ICT to target markets; the erratic or non-existent power supply in some parts of the country; and the high cost of alternative energy sources which particularly affects the less privileged.

    Chapter 5 presents the opportunities, priorities and possible actions that exist for the enhanced use of ICT4D, as identified by business, civil society and ICT service providers. These include a wide range of actions, from the deployment of appropriate technologies for selected market segments to the need for consolidated efforts in partnering between government and the private sector.

    Recommendations that are made take into account the actions that have been identified as well as existing opportunities. Without synergy between all stakeholders not much can be achieved to attain the full potential of ICT4D in the country as well as the region. Strategies and time frames have to be agreed by all in order to achieve the desired results.

    The Appendices include a list of available literature, a list of respondents who were consulted during the course of this research study, and the questionnaire which was distributed in paper or electronic format and which was used in the interviews and discussions. In addition, Appendix 5 presents seven examples of ICT projects currently ongoing in Zambia. A timeline for communications progress (Appendix 6) provides a snapshot of Zambia’s development since 1994.
    Zambia_Research_Report.pdf1.03 MB
  • Social Media for NGOs: Exploiting the Opportunities

    Social media, web 2.0 and the mobile web are terms that have gained increased visibility in South Africa and across the world. But what do they mean for non-governmental organisations working for social change in resource poor communities? Why should NGOs care about technology when they are finding it hard enough to serve their constituencies and have an impact?

    They should care because, if the programme of the 2009 SANGONeT Social Media for NGOs Conference is anything to go by, social media is changing the way that NGOs and other development organisations are responding to the needs of their beneficiaries. Cell-Life is using mobile phones to support the dispensing of ARV drugs in the public health care sector, while SA Emergency Info used online tools to help organisations and individuals respond to the xenophobic attacks which rocked South Africa last year. Social media is helping NGOs respond faster, reach more people, and support each other.

    Kicking off in Johannesburg tomorrow and in Cape Town on 20 October, speakers at the 2009 SANGONeT conference will share their experiences and lessons of working with social media. However, it will not be only about creating awareness and exposure to specific tools and applications. “Social Impact Labs” will draw on the diversity and collective expertise and experience of participants to conceptualise, share and develop social media ideas relevant to the work of NGOs, the challenges they face and the communities they serve. These outcomes will be shared with funders, social entrepreneurs, ICT service providers and other NGOs in the post-conference period to generate wider awareness, interest and support for the social media and ICT requirements of the NGO sector.

    We will also launch the findings of the "State of ICT in South African NGOs 2009" research at the Johannesburg leg of the conference. Findings show a consistent uptake of ICTs amongst NGOs, and also a greater use of cellphone technologies in their work.

    According to SANGONeT executive director, David Barnard: “South Africa ranks in the top 10 users of Facebook while millions of South Africans are users of MXit, the local mobile social networking platform… Broadband is an issue of specific interest to the NGO sector in South Africa. Access to increased and affordable broadband will no doubt result in more NGOs investing in their ICT infrastructure and skills, and as a result, strengthen the scope and impact of their work. Traditional NGO activities such as fundraising, networking, advocacy and information-sharing will directly benefit from increased emphasis on, and the availability of a wide range of affordable online services and applications”.

    We will be putting social media tools into action during the event for reporting and documentation purposes. This includes:
    • Live-blogging the conference - you can watch a minute-by-minute broadcast of the sessions as they unfold - both participants and those who are not at the event can visit the conference site and are able to add their own comments, and even ask questions. Watch the conference website as the proceedings begin.
    • Looking for shorter and punchier updates - follow the conference on twitter.
    • Look out for speaker presentations on Slideshare - the presentation sharing site all under the tag #sango09.
    • Lastly, The Social Media for NGOs wiki was established at the beginning of 2009 and is a collaboration between SANGONeT and the African Commons Project to share information around social media and its application by and for South African NGOs. During the conference we’ll be developing the resources on the wiki to document the case studies and examples, challenges and solutions, discussed at the event, with the aim of creating a repository of South African specific applications of social media in the NGO context.
    The deadline for registering for the Cape Town leg of the SANGONeT conference is 16 October 2009.

    For more information, visit the 2009 SANGONeT 'Social Media for NGOs' conference website.

    - Butjwana Seokoma is the information coordinator at SANGONeT.
    NGO Pulse Team
  • ICT: Policy and Regulatory Management

    The School of Public and Development Management at the University of the Witwatersrand invites applications for a postgraduate degree in Information Communication Technology: Policy and Regulatory Management for 2010.

    The course will empower participants on policy regulation in the information and communication technology sector.

    Closing date for applications: 30 November 2009

    For more information, contact tozi.zeka@wits.ac.za or tel: 011 717 3783 or click here.
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    LINK Centre at the University of the Witwatersrand
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  • ICT4D: Facing the Challenges Head-on in Tanzania

    Download the full report here.

    This report presents a situational analysis of ICT4D in Tanzania and aims to establish key priority areas for ICT4D in Tanzania, identify various issues determining the success or failure of ICT4D in Tanzania, and recommend possible measures to be taken to facilitate the progress of ICT4D for the next ten years.

    With respect to the above objectives, an inductive-interpretive approach was adopted to inform the study. Information was purposefully gathered from a broad range of informants from government, the private sector, NGOs and international organisations. Qualitative analysis was used to identify the issues and priorities, and to build the concepts and recommendations.

    The analysis shows that, at a high level, the Government of Tanzania has established key priority areas, some of which coincide with priority areas identified by citizens. The government priority areas are defined in strategies such as the Tanzania Vision 2025, the National Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy, the National ICT Policy, and the Universal Communication Services Access Fund. However, a composite of the two perspectives reflects the shared view that it is of paramount importance to streamline ICT into the areas of production and service provision, government, health, education, business, and the growth of SMEs.
    Three categories of success factors have contributed to facilitating ICT4D in Tanzania, namely the affordability, availability, and adoption of ICTs; supportive social infrastructure (levels of literacy and Kiswahili as the national language); and presence of government will. At the same time, four categories of issues were identified to challenge the successful uptake of ICT4D in Tanzania, namely an unsupportive ICT connectivity and supporting infrastructure; inadequate quality of ICT content; unsupportive organisational issues and peeople-related challenges.

    Various areas were identified as requiring further studies. These include development and applicability of policy to facilitate the documentation and archiving of information concerning ICT and related projects. Others are identification of possible services to be delivered through mobile phones. The transferability of successful ICT implementation modes from one local community to another also needs further investigation.

    The report was compiled by Jim Yonazi of the The Institute of Finance Management in Dar es Salaam.

    tanzania_thetha_report_ict4d.pdf1.98 MB
  • Tanzania Thetha ICT Discussion Forum

    The Tanzania Thetha ICT Discussion Forum will be held on 15 September 2009 at the Mövenpick Royal Palm Hotel in Dar es Salaam.

    The event forms part of a series of regional events that SANGONeT is hosting in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Botswana.

    Organised and implemented in conjunction with The Institute of Finance Management in Dar es Salaam, the Tanzania event will bring together various ICT stakeholders, including representatives from government, industry, NGOs and the donor community, to discuss key “ICT for Development (ICT4D)” challenges and opportunities relevant to the future development of Tanzania.

    The discussions will be informed by the “ICT4D: Facing the Challenges Head-on in Tanzania" research report that Jim Yonazi of The Institute of Finance Management in Dar es Salaam prepared in support of the event.
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    Movenpick Royal Palm Hotel, Dar es Salaam
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