In September 2017, the annual Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica) was hosted in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was a partnership between APC and the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) which saw the physical footprint of FIFAfrica grow: since the first edition in 2014, the Forum had always been hosted in Uganda.
The landmark event convenes various stakeholders from the internet governance and online rights arenas in Africa and beyond to deliberate on gaps, concerns and opportunities for advancing privacy, access to information, free expression, non-discrimination and the free flow of information online. Sessions at the Forum were built around the 13 principles of the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms.
In the lead-up to FIFAfrica, CIPESA activities included a series of convenings and ICT policy advocacy workshops which were hosted in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. Following continued affronts to digital rights in Africa, FIFAfrica provided a platform to delve deeper into the various challenges and opportunities that exist – and lie ahead. The State of Internet Freedom in Africa 2017 report was launched alongside the new Framework for Calculating the Economic Impact of Internet Disruptions in Sub-Saharan Africa. Insights from the Forum were shared at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), which took place in December in Switzerland.
Image source: The REACT policy framework to close the digital gender divide as captured by Neema Iyer, a beneficiary of travel support to attend FIFAfrica 2017.