The Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) will hold its first General Assembly in Johannesburg, South Africa, on January 28 and 29, 2014.
AFIC’s Chairperson, Mr. Gabriel Ayite Baglo, who is Director at the Africa Office of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in Dakar, Senegal, said the meeting, being the first since AFIC’s establishment, would provide an important opportunity for members to discuss the progress of the Centre since its establishment and to contribute to its future through strategic planning and networking.
At the end of the meeting, the participants issued the “Lagos Declaration on the Right of Access to Information” in which they decided to establish AFIC “to provide a platform for cooperation and collaborative activities among civil society organizations in the region.”
AFIC was therefore established as a regional Freedom of Information Centre, where experiences garnered in the different countries can be pooled and shared among civil society activists and which will provide technical assistance to organizations involved in any stage of Freedom of Information advocacy or implementation.
AFIC began operating from the Lagos offices of MRA, its principal promoter, and was subsequently incorporated in Nigeria as a not-for-profit organization, on August 13, 2007. The Secretariat of AFIC remained for some time at MRA, which managed its finances and provided administrative support.
A decision was later taken by the Steering Committee of AFIC, its governing body, to move the Secretariat from Lagos, Nigeria to Kampala, Uganda, where it was initially hosted by the Human Rights Information Network, Uganda (HURINET-U), which was also one of the promoters of the Centre.
Mr. Baglo said since its establishment, AFIC had made strides to establish itself as the continent’s largest membership civil society organization and resource centre promoting the right of access to information.
According to him, “Through members and with support of partners, AFIC has contributed to the advancement of the right to information through different strategies which have enabled it achieve the brand and profile to obtain Observer Status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights as well as an active contributor to the Open Government Partnership as well as Open Contracting initiatives.”
A new Steering Committee is expected to be elected at the General Assembly.