AfIGF 2023 Adopts Recommendations for Transforming Africa’s Digital Landscape

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The African Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF), held in Abuja, Nigeria from September 19 to 21, 2023, ended with the adoption of a set of recommendations aimed at transforming Africa’s digital landscape.

The AfIGF expressed gratitude to the Federal Government of Nigeria; the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy; the Nigerian Communications Commission, and all partners and stakeholders who contributed to the success of the event.

The forum encompassed several related events, including the African School on Internet Governance (AfriSIG23), which took place from September 13th to 18th, focusing on the African Union’s Data Policy Framework. Additionally, the Parliamentarian Symposium on September 18th and the African Youth Internet Governance Forum both contributed to the rich discussions.

In the communique issued at the end of AfIGF 2023, participants came up with key declarations which include the following:

Participants recognized the significant growth in internet penetration across Africa since the COVID-19 pandemic but emphasized the need for policy interoperability to enhance digital cooperation and further digitize the continent.

The forum stressed the importance of developing shared norms, rules, and decision-making procedures to guide the evolution and utilization of the internet in Africa.

Education curriculum and digital literacy were highlighted as crucial for breeding future technology leaders and innovators in Africa.

Participants called for the enforcement of cyber laws, people-centric approaches, and checks and balances to ensure a secure digital environment.

The forum emphasized harnessing the power of data and promoting its free flow as critical to African growth and innovation.

The forum also advocated for the growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) from African datasets, ethical AI practices, and increased research to address the uniqueness of Africans and their culture.

Delegates encouraged the adoption of the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System to boost cross-border trade and support the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA).

The development of interoperable digital IDs accessible and usable across Africa was also seen as crucial for the digital economy.

In their declaration, participants committed to a multi-stakeholder approach that fosters collaboration within and outside of Africa. They also called on African governments to create an enabling environment for the digital economy by reducing taxation on connectivity.

The AfIGF 2023 concluded with a sense of unity and purpose, emphasizing the importance of continued dialogue and cooperation in shaping Africa’s digital future. The recommendations put forward during the forum aim to empower inclusion, enhance security, and drive innovation across the continent’s digital landscape.