CIPESA to Host FIFAfrica21 in September, Calls for Session Proposals

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Dr. Wakabi Wairagala
Executive Director, CIPESA

 The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) will be hosting the eighth edition of the annual Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica21) from September 28 to 30, 2021 and has issued a call for individuals and organisations to submit proposals to host sessions, including panel discussions,  workshops, and training events at the forthcoming edition.

FIFAfrica is a landmark event that convenes a wide spectrum of stakeholders from across the internet governance and digital rights arenas to deliberate on gaps, concerns and opportunities for advancing privacy, free expression, non-discrimination and the free flow of information online.

This year, it will be taking on a hybrid approach (physical and virtual) and will respond to rising challenges to the enjoyment of internet freedom in various African countries, including arrests and intimidation of online users, internet disruptions, digital taxes, and a proliferation of laws and regulations that undermine the potential of digital technology to drive the continent’s socio-economic and political development.

FIFAfrica, therefore, puts internet freedom on the agenda of key actors including African policymakers, regulators, human rights defenders, academia, law enforcement representatives, and the media, paving the way for broader work on advancing digital rights in Africa and promoting the multi-stakeholder model of internet governance.

Internet freedom is multi-faceted, and just like it requires to have a multiplicity of stakeholders working jointly, it also requires diversity in the voices, backgrounds, viewpoints, and thematic work areas of those that attend FIFAfrica.

In the shadow of Covid-19, FIFAfrica is an extension of CIPESA’s work and that of diverse stakeholders to ensure continued proactive efforts to advance effective and inclusive Information and Communication Technology (ICT) policy debates and to elevate marginalised communities and at-risk groups – including women and vulnerable minorities such as refugees, sexual minorities and persons with disabilities – in internet governance dialogues.

The FIFAfrica21 edition will focus its attention on three key themes through engagements that will run over three days. Through carefully curated sessions and workshops, it will interrogate the deeper internet freedom layers shaping these three themes. 

The three themes are access to information, digital inclusion as a means to an end for the Web We Want, and key trends in 2021 shaping the digital landscape Africa.

To propose a session for #FIFAfrica21 please fill the Session Proposal Form, while those who have an alternative approach you would like to discuss further should contact CIPESA directly by email.

The first FIFAfrica was held in Kampala, Uganda between 2014 and 2016 and has since then been expanding its footprint and has been hosted in Johannesburg, South Africa in partnership with the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) in 2017, and in Accra, Ghana in partnership with the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) in 2018. It was hosted in 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, alongside the Ethiopia Ministry of Innovation and Technology (MINT) and in 2020, the first-ever hybrid edition was held alongside Paradigm Initiative.

Since inception, FIFAfrica has coincided with the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) marked every September 28 so as to increase awareness on the right to information.