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The Kenya Internet Governance Forum

Monday 29 August 2016, by SIGNIS

Nairobi, August, 29th, 2016 (Unesco). The 9th edition of the Kenya Internet Governance Forum (KIGF) took place recently in Nairobi, Kenya. The Forum brought together over 200 ICT stakeholders drawn from small and big enterprises, government, civil society, the United Nations and academia to discuss the state and evolution of Internet and emerging issues in Kenya.

The KIGF 2016 theme replicated the global IGF theme, Enabling Sustainable and Inclusive Development, but maintained topics that were specific to the current Kenyan Internet Governance landscape such as Internet and elections, block chain technology and its impact on industries, cybersecurity, perceptions and regulation of Over the Top (OTT) services and innovations.

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) provides a soft policy direction, which does not make decisions but offers a forum for discussion and advice on Internet policy. “National IGFs become stronger platforms to influence and shape policy,” says Alice Munyua, from the Africa Union Commission. “The national forum is stronger in making recommendations that directly shape the Internet Governance policy environment.” National IGFs also feed into regional and global Internet Governance to inform policy direction at these levels.

KIGF 2016 focused on opportunities and Internet regulations around innovation and use of Internet towards the General elections. UNESCO, a long-time supporter of the Kenya IGF noted the importance of digital literacy in inclusive and sustainable development. Jaco Du Toit, Adviser for Communication and Information in UNESCO’s Regional Office for Eastern Africa, urged the government to look into the use and relevance of technologies, as well as to empower people living with disabilities to participate in the creation of a knowledge economy and in enabling innovation. Principal Secretary of Innovation in the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology Victor Kyalo made it clear that the government will continue to support innovation and is not interested in regulating the practitioners.

Live interaction was prompted by the discussions on how the ICT sector can make use of the blockchain technology to bring innovation to other sectors in the economy, such as agriculture and finance, and promote transparency, especially in matters of public interest. Participants also raised the question on whether most African entrepreneurs can afford to participate in the innovation global market.

The full report about KIGF 2016 will be available on kictanet.or.ke and intgovforum.org upon release. It was supported by UNESCO, KENIC, Facebook, TESPOK, and Simbanet.

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