CIPESA Hosts FIFAfrica 2023 in Tanzania, Invites Session Proposals

Dr. Wakabi Wairagala
Executive Director CIPESA

The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) will host the 2023 edition of the annual Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica23) in Dar es Salam, Tanzania,  from September 27 to 29, 2023. It is also inviting interested parties to submit session proposals to the  Forum and/or apply for travel support.

CIPESA says successful submission of session proposals will help to shape the agenda of the event, which will bring hundreds of policymakers, regulators, human rights defenders, journalists, academics, private sector players, global information intermediaries, bloggers, and developers together.

FIFAfrica23 will mark a decade of the Forum which has become the largest gathering on internet freedom in Africa. Since 2014, FIFAfrica has put internet freedom on the agenda of key actors including African policymakers, platform operators, telecommunication firms, regulators, human rights defenders, academia, law enforcement representatives, and the media. This has paved the way for broader work on advancing digital rights in Africa and promoting the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance.

CIPESA is hosting the 2023 edition of FIFAfrica in Tanzania in recognition of the country’s progressive shift to advance digitalisation for sustainable development. The country has undergone political and legal reforms aimed at enhancing civic space and digitalisation agenda under the leadership of Samia Suluhu Hassan, the country’s first female President, who is a proponent for civil and women’s rights. Notably, Tanzania has enacted a data protection law; is revising the law governing media operations; and has revised the Online Content Regulations 2020 to make them more supportive of online speech, privacy and access to information.

FIFAfrica23 will provide a platform for critical engagement of diverse stakeholders in identifying the most pressing internet rights-related issues and challenges that have to be addressed at national and regional levels. Over the years, the Forum has identified opportunities for bringing the debate on the importance of digital rights to national, regional and global fora.

In particular, the Forum supports the development of substantive inputs to inform a wide range of conversations at organisational, national, regional, continental and global levels, including at the African Union, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), the United Nations Human Rights Council, the African Internet Governance Forum (IGF), sub-regional IGFs and at the global IGF.

FIFAfrica has witnessed growth in diversity of participants and discussions that reflects the evolving trends and concerns in access and usage of the internet and related technologies. Topics that have been explored at FIFAfrica over the years have included access to information, mass surveillance, turning policy into action, internet shutdowns, content regulation, cyber security, digital economy, online violence against women, data protection and privacy, cyber governance, open source investigative journalism, online movement building and civic building, business and big data, building research capacity in internet measurements, innovation and security in conflict territories, as well as gender-sensitive approaches to ICT Policy and decision making. 

Overall, FIFAfrica is helping to grow the community advancing digital rights in Africa, increasing awareness about and advocacy for internet freedom, while forging new alliances that advance digital rights. It elevates new voices including those of often marginalised groups such as the youth, persons with disabilities and women, and enables state and non-state actors to develop evidence-based interventions that guide policy and practice

FIFAfrica has previously been hosted in Uganda, South Africa, Ghana, Ethiopia and Zambia, with the last edition attended by up to 1,000 individuals (online and offline) from 47 countries.

The call for proposals and travel support applications have been announced and can be accessed here.