By Mandiaye Ndiaye, IFLA International Leaders Programme associate
The beautiful town of Sharm El Sheikh is hosting, from 4-6 December, with the support of the Egyptian National Telecommunications Regulation Authority, the 6th African Internet Governance Forum (AIGF). The general theme this year is ‘Making for an inclusive digital transformation in Africa’.
The AIGF provides a multistakeholder, multi-lingual, democratic and transparent space for exchange on Internet governance at a continental scale. It brings together representatives of governments, the private sector, of civil society of international organisations and of universities, as well as specialists and the other various actors in the Internet ecosystem. While the global Internet Governance Forum is organised by the United Nations, the secretariat of the African Internet Governance Forum is co-hosted by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNESCA) and the African Union (AU).
As a reminder, the African Internet Governance Forum was launched in Nairobi, during the global IGF in 2011. This in turn has gone through a number of phases, through the World Summit of the Information Society (WSIS) process, and regional meetings held between 2002 and 2005.
The Forum offers a number of spaces for exchange and building strategies, such as the Dynamic Coalition for Public Access in Libraries (DC-PAL), which opens the possibility to tackle questions of Internet governance relative to public access, and promotes a discussion on how existing technical expertise, networks and infrastructure in the form of libraries can contribute to achieving the objectives and the spirit of the WSIS process. In developing countries, public libraries are well placed to increase the number of people who are connecting – and so who benefit from the potential of the Internet – at minimum cost and with optimal results.
With delegates from IFLA, Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) and the African Library and Information Association (AfLIA), the voice of libraries and their users will be heard. The Dynamic Coalition, at AIGF 2017, will focus on the subject of ‘From Access to Autonomy: Public Libraries Meet the Challenge of Connecting the Next Billion.
IFLA is represented at this 6th African IGF by two associates of the IFLA International Leaders Programme – Mahmoud Khalifa of Egypt, and Mandiaye Ndiaye of Senegal, who will take part alongside other delegates in making libraries heard, and who will present a common project on Public Access to the Internet through Libraries’.
We’ll share more information as we go along!