Africa ICT Policy Monitor newsletter from the APC
Issue No. 9, April 2004: Focus on the 'Kenya ICT Week'
2. Main feature ‘Kenya’s draft ICT policy and strategy negates development goals’
3. Setting aside all the pomp and talk, what was the added value of the convention?
4. CTO/WSIS Conference, ‘A brief review’
5. Implementing The WSIS Action Plan Conference, ‘What was achieved?'
6. Selected Papers/Presentations from the Kenya ICT Convention
7. Selected Papers/Presentations from the CTO/WSIS Conference
8. APC Comments on the First Draft National ICT Policy for Zambia
9. Other news, resources and notices from the Monitor
10. Subcribing to 'Chakula'
In this issue of Chakula, we focus on two recent events, the Kenya National ICT Convention and a conference on the implementation of the WSIS action plan –held in Nairobi, Kenya in late March 2004- organised by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) and dubbed “Kenya ICT Week”. The National ICT Convention was intended to provide a platform to develop a comprehensive national ICT strategy while the CTO conference was intended to find ways of practical implementation of the WSIS plan of action.
Chakula this month presents some insights into the general outcomes of the forums beyond the official declarations and press releases. In particular we take a special note of the Kenya ICT convention that brought together many key players in the Kenya ICT sector to analyse some key issues of Kenya national ICT policy as well current dynamics taking place in the county around policy formulation and strategy development.
We also include observations from other participants at the Kenya ICT week and some of the key presentations made at both forums, with annotations and highlights about the presentation and/or speaker as none of this material is currently available online.
Finally you will also find comments made by APC in response to the first draft national ICT policy for Zambia released in November 2003, alongside comments by others.
APC Africa ICT Policy Monitor Team
2. ‘KENYA’S DRAFT ICT POLICY AND STRATEGY NEGATES DEVELOPMENT GOALS’
Kenya recently held a national ICT convention aimed at bringing together a wide group of stakeholders to discuss Kenya’s information and communications technology (ICT) policy and most importantly work towards an implementation strategy. The convention was organized by the Kenya ICT Federation (KIF),a body incorporating many private sector organizations involved in the sector such the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and the Kenya ICT Board that was recently formed to try and incorporate all the main actors including civil society organizations.
The convention was held in Nairobi, Kenya at the end of March over a 3-day period and was funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and had received endorsement from the highest office in the country, with a minister from the Office of the President presiding over the opening ceremony.
Taking a close look at the profile of the organizers of the convention, observers could not help thinking that the presence of a large numbers of private sector organizations coming together to talk about ICT policy and strategy would be enthusiastically supported by the government, which has been focusing its ICT policy strategy on the support of private sector initiatives. However, not even the business groups present were happy with the government’s ill-coordinated, non-inclusive attempts to draft a national ICT policy and the recent piecemeal introduction and haste to move towards implementation of scattered, under-resourced ICT projects.
Few of the groups present –particularly the civil society and community groups whose interests and efforts have been ignored in government plans- were convinced by the organizers calls not to get bogged down in analysing the current policy position and instead to focus on developing a strategy for implementation.
Will the current ICT policy draft please stand up?
As various speakers talked about the current national policy, many were surprised to hear that the draft national ICT policy released in late 2003, just prior to the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva had in fact been updated and reviewed and that a ‘new’ draft was in circulation. The ‘new’ draft had been issued sometimes in February but only circulated to a select few on the ‘need to know’ basis said Charles Nduati, the Executive Secretary of KIF. Delegates demanded to know why they had come to a forum intended to provide a platform to develop a comprehensive national ICT strategy when the latest draft of the policy document had not been made public.
Demands to have the new document copied and distributed were turned down by the conference organizers who indicated that since the document was labelled ‘confidential’ they could be arrested for distributing a document that had not been officially released for public distribution. Efforts to query the government representatives present at the convention as to the status of the latest version of the ICT policy did not bear fruits either and incredulous delegates were advised to contact the relevant ministry and demand a copy as “tax-paying citizens who have the right to access public policy documents”.
Features of the current draft framework
A presentation on the ‘confidential’ version of the national ICT policy illuminated conferencists on important questions regarding the current ICT policy and thereby forming the basis for next steps - strategies for implementation. The salient features of ICT policy framework were presented at the opening of the convention by Mike Eldon who also serves as the Chairman of KIF:
* Kenya’s key policy documents fail to incorporate the role of ICT
as an enabler of various goals included in government plans to transform the
country into a Newly Industrialized Country (NIC) by the year 2020, and as
an enabler of national programs to reduce poverty and promote economic recovery.
* The Kenyan government has been slow to formulate and implement ICT policy and it is only recently that the government announced an e-government strategy.
* The ICT policy formulation and implementation strategies vacuum has been filled by efforts from the private sector and civil society actors.
* Current policy defines the role of government as the principal policy-making authority while the role of private sector is relegated to one of operator and civil society is somewhat lost in the middle.
* The current policy framework defines the main policy issues in terms of economic impact, liberalization of certain key sectors, e-commerce, e-government and human resource development.
Without dedicating any time to discuss the current draft and issues of concern,
Mike Eldon indicated the need to move discussions onto policy implementation
or strategy formulation as the key to getting anything done when so many are
looking for results.
So the convention mirrored the problem of Kenya’s ICT policy. At the heart of the matter is government’s failure to address ICT policy and strategy in a cohesive and comprehensive manner. The current draft policy apart from not being publicly available is said to be lacking in many areas. There is no clearly-defined strategy and day-to-day activities by the government are not sending a clear message on a common vision for all.
Failure of policy and strategies to see beyond the private sector
This position is not helped by the latest move by government policy to prioritise economic development in the (questionable) belief that economic growth will automatically result into significant social development. A key example is that the government, in pursuit of attaining Newly Industrialised Country status by the year 2020, is focusing on the private sector as the country’s “engine of growth” and thus putting in place major policy frameworks for enabling enhanced private sector participation in the economic growth of the country . However, many claim that in reality the frameworks are not actually private sector-friendly as government has not taken action on some of the major policy issues that private sector has been lobbying on the government to act upon. Sammy Buruchara of the Telecommunications Service Operators Association of Kenya cited a case where private sector inputs to the ICT policy were ignored. At the same time there is also the feeling that current government policies and activities are geared towards appealing to foreign investors with little regard at local investors, a fact confirmed by both Brian Longwe of Africa Internet Service Providers Association and Bill Kagai of Circuit and Packets and the Free and Open Source Foundation of Africa (FOSSFA).
At the same time, the role of civil society organizations and other community development projects is ignored by the current policy framework and strategies. For instance, the latest initiative by the government on e-government strategy with no mention of civil society involvement.
Over-ambitious e-government strategy
There are approximately 4,000 computers in the whole of the Kenyan government. That’s a ratio of one computer for every 60 civil servants!
Occupying a key position on the podium, Mr Peter Gakunu, a government representative and advisor to the cabinet moved on to talk about Kenya’s latest initiative. an ‘e-government strategy’, aimed at applying ICTs to transform the efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and accountability of exchanges within Government, between Government and citizens and businesses locally and abroad, was released in March 2004 and is supposedly ready for implementation.
The glossy booklet distributed to all delegates outlined ambitious plans, including the delivery of all published material into the public domain through relevant government and departmental websites and the networking of all ministries and departments. While all this seemed well-intentioned, what was thrown into relief was the government ad-hoc approach to ICT policy and implementation strategies. Kenya is rushing into a complex e-government strategy without having first finalised a national ICT policy.
And it appears the government is already getting tripped up by their haste. The minister admitted to the convention that it’s seeing that “ICT skills in government are inadequate indicating a serious capacity problem for effective roll out of [the] e-government strategy”.
Moving ahead with implementation without a human resource development strategy running in parallel will only result in failure or wastage of funds as government will end up having to fund additional training for civil servants which could have been avoided if ICT literacy has already been provided as part of a national ICT plan.
ICT and economic growth
The Economic Recovery Strategy (ERS) has been THE buzzword coming out of the 2003-2007 Economic Recovery Strategy For Wealth and Employment Creation aimed at spurring growth, including creation of job opportunities and wealth. Dennis Kabaara of the Institute of Economic Affairs criticized the government for once again looking at ICT as a sector, instead of a development enabler, and thus proposing certain growth and financing indicators for the sector.
In his presentation, Kabaara pointed to five key growth sectors in the ERS and the average growth per annum projection during the five-year strategy period of 5.0% in the ICT sector. In comparison, the Kenya investment programme data for the same period shows only a 0.27% planned investment into the ICT sector.
From an investment point of view there is no way to explain how the 5.0% sustained growth would be achieved with an investment of a mere 0.27% of which only about half of the funds are available, meaning the actual investment could be less than 0.15% going into ICT of the overall investment expected to be injected into the Kenyan economy between 2003-2007. This indicates inconsistencies of government’s understanding of the potential of ICT contribution to economic growth, said Kabaara.
Kabaara placed emphasis on how Kenya’s national policy and strategy focused on ICT as a sector, thus placing efforts on the development and strengthening of ICT-service provision industries (telecommunications and ICT-enabled services) instead of adopting a conscious policy towards promoting ICT as an enabler to socio-economic development.
Again backed up by statistics, Kabaara demonstrated that more than 90% of Kenya’s population lived in rural areas outside Nairobi and thus focusing on ICT as a sector would only have impact on the urban population which has access to ICT services. He said Kenya would only achieve the development goals especially those of the Kenya’s Poverty Reduction Strategy by taking a crosscutting approach to ICTs, and not addressing ICT as a separate sector. Such an approach would ensure “ICT is mainstreamed within all sectors, without marginalizing any groups such as gender and pastoralists”.
Kabaara concluded his presentation by calling for a holistic ICT policy and strategy driven by national development goals, “Is there a pro-poor national ict strategy or policy?” he asked.
Kenya’s draft policy and strategy compared to other countries
An interesting comparison of Kenya policy situation with other countries’ was presented by the Kenya Institute of Public Policy Research and Analysis. The review supported the observation that Kenya’s current draft policy lacks a single vision that harmonizes the efforts of the public and private sector, civil society entities and communities. It also revealed that some key issues (infrastructure development, human resource capacity building and dealing with the digital divide) have been poorly addressed and that government had not paid sufficient consideration as to how ICT initiatives will be funded, again corroborating economic data demonstrating the under-funding of ICT investment.
The private sector caught up in the narrow perspectives of ICT as a sector
Private sector operators at the convention though enthusiastic about pinning the government down in order to finalize national policy seemed somewhat caught up in the narrow perspective of ICT as a sector and assuming that growth in ICT-enabled services will lead to or is equal to economic and social development.
While private sector organizations are doing a great job in lobbying government to move fast in policy implementation, their biggest single failure is that they have a tendency to forget about the wider development paradigm in their lobbying strategies.
There was a heavy presence of private sector operators at the conference but their presentations all focused strongly on lobbying government to implement policies that create an enabling environment for the delivery of ICT services. No wonder the government is turning a blind eye to demands by the private sector. One government delegate having being cornered as to why the government was inept at implementing ICT policy replied that government “cannot formulate and implement policy that is largely driven by private sector concerns” and appeared to indicate that private sector concerns were too skewed towards improved service delivery and profit-making and with little regard to the development agenda.
A presentation by the telecommunications service providers association (TESPOK) raised some concerns around failure of government to include private sector in policy formulation and lamented that neither the policy draft of 2003, nor the new ‘confidential’ draft included private sector input.
It is worth mentioning that some key elements of private sector organizations were noticeably absent from the convention. For instance, the Computer Society of Kenya, which has been actively lobbying for policy reform in Kenya, was absent. One cannot help wonder why miss such an opportunity to network and find synergies with other stakeholders in this important process. Perhaps CSK were in a meeting to talk about the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and the role of African private sector organizations with the secretary general of the Coordinating Committee of Business Interlocutors (CCIB). Given the nature of contributions and interests pushed by CCIB at the WSIS processes which mostly favour private sector interests in developed counties sometimes at the expense of developing countries, Kenya’s private sector organizations might be better off aligning themselves with the government and civil society entities as far as the WSIS process is concerned.
All in all, Kenya’s private sector could consider reaching out to a wider and more diverse group of constituents to achieve better results in the lobbying to government on policy formulation and strategy, as well as begin to take a broader view of ICT as an enabler to development, and not merely an industrial sector.
Civil society organizations fail to reach out to other stakeholders
Civil society participation at the forum was noticeably very poor in comparison to private sector actors and government representatives. A hand-count indicated less that 10% of the delegates came from civil society organizations and the numbers present fluctuated widely throughout the duration of the convention.
While the importance of involving all stakeholders in key policy processing is constantly espoused, one cannot help wondering why civil society numbers were so low at this convention. Was it because civil society organizations were not informed? Was it because there was a registration fee to attend? Is civil society itself not aware of the importance of being part of ICT policy formulations?
One of the key organizations involved in ICT policy did present their work
and key activities undertaken by civil society around policy processes in particular
related to the WSIS. The Kenya WSIS Civil Society Caucus secretariat –based
at APC member in Kenya, Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN-EA)- presented
details on how the caucus has been operating and results achieved at the World
Summit in Geneva as well as a local workshop on ICT policy held the previous
However, while that work is laudable, it has been mainly carried out by is a very small group of civil society organizations who are actively involved in the ICT sector. Civil society organizations and NGOs not working directly with ICTs, such as those working in health, trade, micro-finance, agriculture and so forth, do not yet recognize how ICT policy impacts on their work, or when they do have not been working closely with those organizations already lobbying around ICT policy issues. Such a scenario has only perpetuated a culture wherein many organizations feel they are not part of a process or do not need to act on ICT issues because they are not directly involved in the sector.
Civil society organizations working specifically with ICTs have a responsibility to reach out to the wider communities and have them attend workshops or related activities to create awareness on the role of ICT as a development enabler and thus discuss ways in which all can work together to lobby government action on ICT for development. It is only then that civil society will be able to work collectively with other sectors such as the private sector to lobby government to develop a progressive policy framework and strategies for the nation.
Africa ICT Policy Monitor Team
3. ‘SETTING ASIDE ALL THE POMP AND TALK, - WHAT WAS THE VALUE ADDED OF THE CONVENTION?’
The Kenya National ICT Convention was billed as a milestone event in the development of the Kenyan ICT sector, an opportunity to move the ICT agenda forward. A coming together of the private sector with representatives of the government, civil society, academia and development partners to get to know each other, to see who’s doing what, to partner, to support and to synergise. The question then is, setting aside all the pomp and talk, what was the value added of the convention?
* The convention was broken down into several sessions addressing specific
1) Sector polices and ICT
2) National ICT strategy, including
o The strategy and e-Commerce
o The strategy and human resources
3) National ICT infrastructure
4) ICT projects: Investment opportunities
5) ICT professional bodies
Working for a Ugandan women’s NGO myself (Women of Uganda Network - WOUGNET), I was particularly interested in the gender issues in the Kenyan ICT sector, particularly in the draft policy document. I had the opportunity to speak to Constantine Obuya, Executive Director, African Centre for Women, Information and Communication Technology – ACWICT about her impressions of the convention. My focus was on the gender issues in relation to ICT. The intent was to draw a comparison between the gender inclusiveness of Kenya and Uganda ICT policy, but therein lay the greatest setback of the convention.
The guidelines for any sector are drawn up in the national policy document for the sector. In Kenya, the ICT Policy is not developed and adopted yet, but the problem is a lack of transparency and multi-stakeholder participation in the development process, in sharp contrast to the process in Uganda. It thus turned out to be an effort in futility as most of the participants had not seen the draft ICT policy and were frustrated in their inability to get a copy of the same. Ms Obuya had seen an earlier draft, at a time when stakeholder contributions had first been sought, however, was dismayed to later learn that the initial draft had been discarded and another draft developed for which stakeholder contributions were not actively sought. “I can not comment on the gender inclusiveness of the draft policy because I haven’t seen what is in the current draft. I know the Ugandan version includes gender sensitive language, although I haven’t read it in detail, but it is in the public sphere.”
Other short falls of the convention included, domination by service providers in the private sector, limited input from the government (the Kenyan minister responsible for this sector conspicuous by his absence) and limited speaking opportunities for the civil society and academia, with the important role of the media largely ignored.
But, it wasn’t all bad. It was a great opportunity for multi-stakeholder interaction to contribute to the development of a comprehensive national ICT strategy. As Ms Obuya put it “The convention was well organized and attended, a great networking opportunity and good presentations from influential speakers, from within and outside Kenya.”
The writer’s scope and depth of reporting on the convention is limited by the fact that he was only able to attend one day of the three-day event.
Program Officer – WOUGNET
4. CTO CONFERENCE – IMPLEMENTING THE WSIS ACTION PLAN ‘A BRIEF REVIEW’
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) conference on ‘Implementing the WSIS Action Plan’ held in parallel with Kenya ICT week, the CTO Chief Executive, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, noted that the conference was an opportunity to “provide all of us with a better understanding of the way forward for the adoption of respective national and institutional strategies to bridge the digital divide and to make the information society a reality, throughout the African continent and beyond.”
The Road Map
The conference proposed a road map as a support programme to deliver WSIS/MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) compliant country ICT action plans. Recognising various developmental challenges posed by ICT explosion, and consequent global response to these challenges in the form of initiatives such the MDG, NEPAD and the WSIS process.
The envisaged action plans would occur at different levels within countries covering policy, legislative and regulatory aspects and thus resulting into operational plans. At the regional level, this would involve coordination of policies, strategies, plans and programmes, while the international level would cover harmonisation of programmes, including procedures of donor agencies as well as fund mobilizations and coordination.
Key presentations delivered
The conference, broken down into six sessions running over the two days addressed various specific action plan implementation issues such as challenges faced by policy-makers, regulators, development partners, private sector and civil society organizations. The role of private financial institutions and capital markets was also explored.
Key government inputs included the reiteration by Hon. Cornelius Adebayo, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications, of their intention to launch a satellite by 2007. “Nigeria is committed to the WSIS action plan and is pursuing such measures as introduction of national ICT education programmes especially for rural areas where the private sector is less likely to invest”.
In Senegal, Hon. Mamadou Diop, Minister of Information, recognised that Africa missed out on the benefits of the industrial age, but must not miss out in the information age. He emphasized that Africa could not benefit from the information revolution in seclusion and there was a need for a joint effort at the global level, hence the need for the digital solidarity fund. He concluded that the digital divide would not be bridged until the capital divide was addressed.
Hon. Michael Warikhe, Uganda’s Minister of State for Communications noted that ICT is a priority area for funding in the national Poverty Eradication Action Plan – PEAP. He said that the ICT policy for Uganda, developed along the lines of the WSIS declaration of principles and action plan, included, the establishment of telephone and Internet points of presence in all districts by 2005, recognise the important role of community radio and the political will and commitment to create an enabling environment for the private sector investment in ICT.
Echoing the need for a conducive environment, Hon. Albert Kan-Dapaah, Ghana’s Minister for Communications and Technology recognised that the role of government has evolved from being a player in the market place to being an enabler for social and economic development.
Leading the Regulators, Ernest Ndukwe, Chief Executive of the Nigeria Communications Commission and Chairman of the West African Telecommunications Regulators Association – WATRA noted that the WSIS Action Plan is designed to extend the benefits of ICT to all nations, communities and people of the world. However the challenges include; limited infrastructure development, prevailing policy and regulatory framework, a lack of political will and limited regional cooperation.
Patrick Masambu, Executive director of the Uganda Communications Commission laid out the regulatory innovations Uganda has developed to overcome these challenges. To implement the WSIS action plan, he suggested that each country should develop a country level strategy, develop the infrastructure, and ensure universal access.
Mr. Masambu gave some examples from Uganda including;
- The ICT infrastructure strategies include adoption of technology neutral policies, fully liberated markets, but include network rollout obligations in operator licenses.
- The universal access policy includes provision of services in rural and underserved areas and the establishment of a universal access fund.
- Capacity building strategies include support basic ICT training centre in every district, and gender mainstreaming in all policies.
- Awareness initiatives include quarterly media briefing on the status of the sector. Furthermore, no policy is made without multi-stakeholder consultations.
- Local content creation is promoted through district information portals and support translation of IT content into local languages.
Brian Longwe of the African ISP Association – AfrISPA, suggested that key action lines of the WSIS action plan, information and communication infrastructure, access to information and knowledge and creation of an enabling environment would remain a mirage until true independence of regulators, free from “political interference”, acting as a facilitators rather than inhibitors with swift and decisive regulation that is futuristic and technological neutral.
Nadia Hegazi, advisor to the Egyptian Minister of Telecommunications and IT recommended active development of information systems, research and development and training of trainers and regulators as part of capacity building.
Mohammad Shahid Uddin, Co-ordinator of the Bangladesh ICT for Development Programme suggested the creation of a global watchdog body for the implementation of the WSIS action plan. Its role would include designing evaluation modules, resource mobilization and networking among the global ICT initiative.
On the role of civil society, John Dada Chairman of the Fantsuam Foundation, Nigeria reminded participants that the WSIS process is about people. “There has been so much talk about hardware and software, but not about the ‘people-ware’”, he said.
Eric Osiakwan, Executive Director, Ghana New Ventures Competition noted that individuals working for civil society organisations claim to speak for the marginalized, but if one is not marginalized, how can one know their needs? He proposed the creation of a forum to be made available for the voice of the marginalized to be heard.
The Coordinator of the Africa ICT Policy Monitor Project of the Association for Progressive Communications, Alice Munyua stressed the key focus areas in the implementation plan, capacity building, awareness, and a locally driven advocacy campaign as well as continued support of national champions lobbying for a progressive ICT policy.
For its part, the African Centre for Women, Information and Communication Technology represented by the Executive Director, Constantine Obuya, announced that they would be organising an African Regional Conference on Women and ICT – A Road Map to Tunis 2005, to be held in September 2004.
Finally Chris Kabwato, Director Highway Africa presented the Highway Africa virtual news agency composed of journalists across the continent that report on the African ICT story and of their current activities that look into building synergy between research, training, conferences and policy development.
At the closure of the conference, the CTO Chief Executive described the roadmap as an effective tool for all stakeholders to overcome the obstacles faced by African stakeholders in the implementation of the WSIS action plan.
It was noted that the CTO's roadmap is intended to serve as a strategic guide, particularly for developing nations, to prepare for the second phase of WSIS in Tunis, 2005, and further meet the development targets agreed by the international community. It is based mainly on the premise that achieving development through ICT in each country requires countries' total compliance with the action lines agreed in the plan and their ability to commit national resources and secure additional funding within the recommendations of the plan. It also requires effective national measures to implement an all-stakeholder inclusive development strategy through international cooperation, cross-border initiatives, national stakeholder partnerships and best practice.
At the conclusion of the conference, delegates approved by consensus "The Nairobi Accord", and thus resolved to encourage all stakeholders involved in the WSIS process to familiarise themselves with the requirements of the WSIS Action Plan, especially as they relate to the fulfilment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The Nairobi Accord also called upon all stakeholders in the ICT development process to support the further development of the CTO Roadmap and any other relevant new initiatives, utilising them as instruments and mechanisms for facilitating the capacity of developing countries in their efforts to achieve MDG/WSIS objectives.
Program Officer - WOUGNET
5. IMPLEMENTING THE WSIS ACTION PLAN CONFERENCE - WHAT WAS ACHIEVED?
The WSIS/CTO conference was a highly publicised conference for policy-makers, ICT activists and private sector organisations, hosted by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation at the Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, 25-26 March 2004. and was meant to reassess the outputs and project themes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) held in Geneva in December 2003 and act as a follow-up focusing on implementation and best practices.
The programme had indeed been tailored to debate on these matters culminating
in what was dubbed the 'Kenya ICT Week'. The programme included sessions on
the challenges for policy-makers, regulators, the private sector, financing
the WSIS action pan and the role of civil society.
Key government inputs focussed on national level attempts to put in place national e-strategies. Nigeria presented its national ICT education programmes for rural areas. Uganda’s priorities that fall within the national Poverty Eradication Action Plan – PEAP. Senegal continued to lobby for a digital solidarity fund, which had resulted in a stalemate during the WSIS Geneva debates. Some of the policy makers, most notably Uganda’s, asserted the importance of giving recognition to the role of community radio and the political will and commitment to create an enabling environment for the private sector investment in ICT.
Revisiting old ghosts and hoping others will go away
All in all the policy makers did not present a clear picture or plan on the implementation processes for WSIS. With the exception of Uganda, most other countries were still lobbying for issues that had not been addressed during the first phase of the WSIS. Attempts to discuss contentious WSIS issues such as internet governance and financing were ignored. For example on the issue of internet governance, given the fact that that the working group deliberations were taking place in New York (Global Forum on Internet Governance) in parallel to the CTO/WSIS Conference , the ICANN representative present reiterated that ICANN does not deal with policy issues and could therefore not adequately provide any insights into the issues at stake or how they would affect the WSIS implementation process.
On issues such as free and open source software and recent developments in Africa -an example being the case of Microsoft that is now involved in offering free gifts to various African leaders and development agencies in return for contracts with African governments- were not discussed even when raised by civil society organisations (CSOs) present. CSOs reiterated the illegality of these deals and Bill Kagai, coordinator of the Free and Open Source Software Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) called them a Trojan horse, adding that most of these deals will be geared towards creating monopolies, which in places like the US and Europe would be illegal. Some of the private sector organisations did not welcome any discussion on the issues of free and open source software at all.
Limited civil society presence
Despite an attempt by the convenors of the Nairobi Convention to adopt the ITU multi-stakeholder approach, by inviting private sector and CSOs to make formal presentations, there were again many barriers to effective CSO participation. The conference registration fees were prohibitive and as a result very few CSOs that have been engaged with the WSIS process were able to attend. As a result CSO participation was limited and not as effective and work still needs to be done to strengthen the instruments, which will guarantee that CSO presence and taken seriously, particularly within ongoing national level processes in Africa.
People-ware not hardware
John Dada, director of the Fantsuam Foundation, Nigeria, and a member of APC, articulated civil society concerns with the WSIS plan of action. He reminded participants of the concerns regarding the lack of support for the WSIS principles and plan of action that indicated a commitment towards building an equitable world. He said that WSIS should get to a level “where it’s not so much about hardware and software or technology, but about the people-ware ”. The current WSIS position, he said relies on market mechanisms to build much-needed infrastructure and doesn’t challenge the ongoing subsidisation of northern trade interests and inequalities between north and south. He said that change would require political will and pro-active regulation. For WSIS to succeed it will require ensuring equal opportunities and a major shift in global economic imperatives and values.
Other CSOs that attended reiterated the impossibilities of a debate on information society without considering who owns information, who controls its production and dissemination, and whose interests that information ultimately serves.
CSO articulated positions based on the WSIS Civil Society Declaration , which was unanimously adopted by the WSIS civil society plenary on 8 December 2003. The declaration contains an alternative vision of an information society that truly puts people first, that holds that information and communication are inseparable, and that points to alternative ways of building an information society. -. This, APC articulated is what most CSOs will base their implementation plans on as opposed to the official plan of action which if implemented could limit the freedoms needed for using ICTs for social justice and sustainable development.
The second phase of the WSIS is unlikely to offer an opportunity to rethink -broader questions. But momentum gathered at the WSIS should be carried forward, regardless of the official WSIS conferences (the second and last of which will be in Tunis in 2005), towards other processes, including at national levels, to deepen our understanding of the issues and build wider coalitions. In the medium-term, progress will depend largely on the capacity of civil society, working in collaboration with others, to develop credible, realistic alternatives to the current paradigms to build an information and communication society that puts the people and not the technology first.
The national level is still where most people feel the impact of change
The importance of the national level processes is a lesson that the WSIS might
usefully have been taken to heart. And even if there is just a small amount
of evidence that the Summit has created a momentum as acknowledged by CSOs
including APC , the national level is still where most people identify and
feel the impact of change, and it is the level at which they organise together,
the level at which most policy decision-making is carried out, and the level
at which governments can be influenced and persuaded as to how to proceed in
global and regional fora.
There is therefore an urgent need for African CSOs to get engaged with the establishment of comprehensive implementation strategies for creating information societies, which articulate a national vision. These strategies should be premised on the need to see information and communications technologies operating across a broad spectrum of development and social justice, avoiding the common fallacy of thinking of ICTs in terms of strictly relevance to technology-based sectors of the economy.
Many organisations, such as the APC, used the opportunity of WSIS for building the capacity of civil society to engage in ICT policy advocacy. APC developed a ICT Policy Training Curriculum , an ICT for beginners manual , and a guide to conducting national policy consultations . Demand for the training has been overwhelming and APC is looking at introducing the curricula in universities in some African countries.
APC’s implementation plan will therefore focus on enabling civil society organisations to plan and carry out well-informed advocacy strategies, to collaborate better with the media and the private sector as partners, -communicate with each other more effectively and in this way have more social impact. APC is also working to promote the free and open source software movement and creating better maps of civic cyberspace.
CTO roadmap is a possible way forward
At the end of the conference, a roadmap proposed by conference hosts, CTO, for implementing the WSIS action plan was presented and approved. The roadmap is meant to help countries implement the WSIS recommendations at national level as well as linking it to the Millennium Development Goals. It is also intended to be a tool for international organisations and financial institutions for the identification of areas of possible support, provides help to other ICT stakeholders in each country to more readily identify support needs, and serves as a strategic guide, particularly for developing nations, to prepare for the second phase of WSIS in Tunis.
1. Civil Society Summit Declaration " Shaping Information Societies for
Adopted by the WSIS Civil Society Plenary, Geneva, 11 December 2003.
2.Global Forum on Internet Governance
3. Whose “information society”?
4. “ICT Policy for Civil Society” Training Curriculum,
5. ICT Policy: A Beginner's Handbook.
6. Guide to Organising a National Consultation on ICT Policy.
6. SELECTED PAPERS/PRESENTATIONS THE KENYA ICT CONVENTION
Papers/Presentations with brief annotations
* Towards a national ICT strategy: by Mike Eldon, Chairman, Kenya ICT Federation (KIF)
The presentation goes through the background on Kenya’s ICT policy formulation,
role of various stakeholders and finally proposes mechanism for moving forward
with strategy development. An analysis of this paper was in the main feature
of Chakula issue No. 9. 2004.
* E-Government strategy for Kenya: by Peter Gakunu, Adviser to the Cabinet, Office of the President.
This presentation covers the process towards the formulation of Kenya’s e-government strategy, with details on proposed activities including partnerships and challenges expected. You will also find some information on expected impacts, way forward and opportunities for the private sector as this group formed the bulk of the participants at the convention.
Interestingly there was no mention of any role for civil society or community
groups on e-government strategy – how sad!
* Summary results of consultations & research by ARCC: Paper presented by Mark Matunga (Rev), Senior Consultant, Africa Regional Centre for Computing
This presentation covered the results of a survey funded by IDRC and conducted by Africa Regional Centre for Computing. The survey was in the form of a rapid appraisal of ICT policy initiatives in Kenya, in view of interviewing key organizations with regard to their roles in policy formulation.
Key findings were presented and the conclusion indicated that what was lacking in Kenya was a centralized coordination of ICT policy formulation and implementation. It further suggested that all ICT sub-sectors and stakeholders should come together to build consensus and create a critical mass that can push the policy process forward.
Some mention of the presentation is also included in the main feature of Chakula.
* Kenya’s competitiveness: Presented by Julius Kip’ngetich, Executive Director, and Investment Promotion Centre.
Mr. Kip’ngetich did present a wonderful background and current status
with regard to Kenya’s position in the world in terms of competitiveness
as an investment choice. While the presentation is heavily focused on investment
cum economic data, it covers clearly various factors that are hindering Kenya’s
ability to attract investment and highlighted key ICT factors such as high
costs of telecommunications that contributed to adversely to costs of doing
business. In particular he noted the costs of making international telephone
calls from Kenya or to Kenya are exorbitantly high as compared to other countries
that investors might be potentially looking at.
* The UN’s Millennium Goals and ICT – The case of Uganda, by Dr Johnson Nkuuhe, Member of Parliament, Uganda.
Dr. Nkuuhe is always a pleasure to listen to and his presentation really did go through a number of issues very relevant to Kenya and especially in linking the role of ICTs as a development enabler. Among some very interesting comments from his presentation was at the start where he reiterated the fact that ICT was not just about computers or services, it has more to do with knowledge and content upon which technology enable their utilization.
It was also very interesting to hear him go through Uganda’s process
in ICT policy formulation and highlight some key lessons that those going through
the process should take heed. He concluded with a number of suggestions among
them the need to share knowledge and information among key stakeholders in
National ICT Strategy
* “Top-Down” or “Bottom-Up”? Locating ICT Strategy in Kenya’s Growth, Equity & Poverty Reduction Agenda: Dennis Kabaara, Executive Director, Institute of Economic Affairs
Kabaara’s paper focused on rethinking ICT policy and strategy formulation
in the context of economic growth, equity and poverty reduction agenda or in
simpler words ICT policy and strategy from a development agenda perspective.
An analysis of his presentation or contribution to the convention is covered
in the main feature of this edition of Chakula. In addition, his presentation
included a detailed sector-by-sector (agriculture, education, health, and so
forth) comparison of the economic recovery strategy, the poverty reduction
strategy program and the investment program.
* The National ICT Policy: The missing bits; by Aquinas Wasike, Second Vice-Chair KIF; Managing Director, LanTech.
This paper really analysed the ‘new’ ICT policy draft from a private sector perspective, nonetheless it offers a basic coverage of what is in the ’confidential’ draft policy.
* ICT - Current Policy Issues: by Sammy Buruchara, Chairman, TESPOK
This was another interesting presentation from the private sector perspective
on current ICT policy issues in particular; the presentation covers the issue
of liberalization and ensuring fair competition amongst operators in the country.
* National ICT Strategy and Infrastructure, Comparing Kenya with her Competitors, by Dr Eric Aligula, KIPPRA and Dr. Katherine Getao of University of Nairobi.
This was another of the interesting papers comparing Kenya with South Africa,
Mauritius, Malaysia and India. An analysis of the presentation has been covered
on the main feature of Chakula.
* Involving civil society in ICT policy: Paper by Emmanuel Njenga Njuguna, Co-ordinator, Africa ICT Policy Monitor Project, Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
Main focus of the paper was the role of ICT in development and importance
of involving civil society in ICT policy formulation and implementation.
* Convention Declaration: The Roadmap for Kenya’s National ICT Strategy, James Gachui, First Vice-Chairman, Kenya ICT Federation; Chairman, Wananchi Online.
The official convention declaration, observed that the national ICT policy
formulation process lacks transparency and the current known drafts reveal
a reluctance to pursue liberalization on key service delivery areas. The declaration
also noted that private sector has been addressing and articulating certain
policy issues and concluded with a call for policy development be inclusive,
with the involvement of the private sector and civil Society for it to be meaningful
* E-Governance: Success Stories from around the World, by Owino Magana E-governance Consultant, E-Kazi Africa.
* Priorities for ICT in Government, by DR. W.K. Sitonic, Director, Government
Information Technology Services (GITS).
National ICT Infrastructure
* Universal Access as a Medium-Term Strategy for ICT. By Presentation By Mr.
Alex Kahindi, Communications Commission of Kenya
* Broadband access development between Kenya and the world, by Joseph Ogutu,
Chief - Strategy and Regulations & PA to MD, Telkom Kenya Ltd
National ICT Strategy and Human Resources
* Perspectives on ICT Human Resources; Dr Catherine Getao, Institute of Computer
Sciences, University of Nairobi,
National ICT Strategy and e-Commerce
* Introduction: eCommerce & the National ICT Policy: Robert Wakaba, E-commerce
Association of Kenya
* Security Aspects Of E-Government In Kenya; Andrew Gakiria, Consultant to
the Office of the President / e-Government Task Force
7. SELECTED PAPERS/PRESENTATIONS FROM THE CTO/WSIS CONFERENCE
* WSIS Follow-up. Building the Information Society: a global challenge in
the new Millennium.
By Pierre Gagné, International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
* Uganda’s strategies to achieve the WSIS vision.
By Hon. John M. Nasasira, Minister of Works, Housing and Communications, Uganda.
* Policy Formulation In Africa: A Regional Overview And Country Case Study
By Prof. Nadia Hegazi, Consultant to Minister of ICT Consultant to Minister of Education.
* Telecommunications policy in a rapidly evolving market.
By Hon. Albert Kan-Dapaah, Minister of Communications and Technology, Ghana.
* Senegal’s roadmap for the WSIS vision.
By Hon Mamadou Diop, Minister of Information & Pan-Co-operation for New Information & Communication Technologies.
The Challenge for Regulators
* Developing Strategies For The Implementation Of The WSIS Action Plan: A
West African Perspective on the Challenges for Regulators.
By Ernest Ndukwe CE, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) & Chairman, West African Telecommunications Regulators Association (WATRA).
* Uganda’s Regulatory Innovations.
By Patrick F. Masambu, Executive Director, Uganda Communications Commission.
* Implementing the WSIS Action Plan, The Challenge for Regulators.
By Brian Longwe, CTO, ISP Kenya & GM, African ISP Association (AfrISPA).
* Implementing the WSIS Action Plan “Surviving Regulatory Uncertainty
as an Operator”.
By Karl-Barth Xhanti Socikwa, CEO, Transtel (a Division of Transnet Limited).
The Challenge for Development Partners
* Co-ordinating ICT initiatives across Africa.
By Mohammed Timoulali, UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
* The WSIS Action Plan: The role of governments in developing countries.
By Mohammad Shahid Uddin Akbar, Co-ordinator, ICT for Development Programme, Bangladesh.
The Challenge for the Private Sector
* The Global Broadband Satellite Infrastructure (GBSI) Initiative: A way
to implement the WSIS objectives.
By Jose Toscano Director, External Affairs International Telecommunications Satellite Organization.
* Voice over IP as an Enabler of Cost-Effective Telephony.
By Mike van den Bergh, Vice-Chairman, Africa, International Telecoms User Group.
* VSAT in Kenya: Ensuring our villages become global.
By Patrick Ruah, CEO, Ruatek Online International, Kenya.
* An effective Model for Technical Coordination in the Globalising Internet.
By Anne-Rachel Inne.
The Role of Civil Society
* Implementing the WSIS Action Plan -The Kenya WSIS Caucus perspective.
By James Nguo, Regional Co-ordinator, Arid Lands Information Network, Kenya.
* WSIS as a catalyst for Nigeria’s ICT policy process.
By John Dada, Chairman, Fantsuam Foundation, Nigeria.
* Engineering all forces for the implementation of WSIS.
By Eric Osiakwan, Ghana New Ventures Competition, Ghana.
* A civil society African regional action plan and monitoring mechanisms
By Alice Munyua, Co-ordinator, Africa ICT Policy Monitor Project, Association for Progressive Communications (APC).
* Developing the skills needed to participate in the Information Society.
By Rodwyn Grewan, SchoolNet, South Africa.
* The WSIS challenge for women.
By Constantine Obuya, Executive Director, African Centre for Women, Information & Communication Technology (ACWICT), Kenya.
Conclusion and the Nairobi Accord
* Presentation of key conference conclusions and moving forward with the
WSIS Action Plan.
By Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Chief Executive Officer, CTO
* The Nairobi Accord
8. APC Comments on the First Draft National ICT Policy for Zambia
First Draft National Information and Communication Technology Policy for Zambia, November 2003
Comments by APC (Association for Progressive Communications), 30 April 2004
Contact: Emmanuel Njenga Njuguna - firstname.lastname@example.org
1. General comments
The APC wants to commend the drafting team for their efforts and for disseminating the document via the internet and for making it possible for members of the public to submit their comments. We also value that broad definition of ICT adopted early in the document: “ICT for purposes of this document is a generic term used to express the convergence of telecommunications, computer science, broadcasting, postal and information services in the delivery of social and economic services and products.”
We found Chapter 2, which provider an overview of the current ICT context and institutional and regulatory framework very helpful.
The draft National Zambian ICT Policy framework refers to linkages with wider national development policy documents such as the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and the Transitional National Development Plan. However, it then seems to dive straight into infrastructure focused issues with little mention or concern for wider policy issues that have a relationship with ICTs. For example, issues such as content development, privacy and surveillance, communications rights, and intellectual ‘property’. In other words, the document reads like an ICT infrastructure development policy and implementation plan rather than a national ICT policy or strategy.
Infrastructure development is a critical challenge that underpins making use of ICTs in all sectors of society, but, it is also necessary to look at policies that can create an enabling environment for broader ICT use.
While the draft policy tries to address the role of ICT in sectors such as agriculture, health, education and e-commerce, it dwells on implementation plans for building ICT infrastructure without making adequate reference to relevant policy issues associated with these sectors, for example, the issue of the right of individuals to privacy in the health sector once health information management is ICT enabled.
The role of civil society
We commend the document for recognising the role of civil society in implementation, in the chapter on ‘implementation measures’, page 58: “Civil society is a fundamental element in the preservation of human rights and in the development and consolidation of democracy.”
However, the document does not emphasise the importance of involving civil society in policy formulation nor in monitoring implementation. There are few other references to civil society in the document and we recommend that in the next draft of the document the role of civil society be integrated into all sections of the document, and that the role of civil society organisations be explored in greater depth.
2. Vision and Mission
The APC feels that a good policy framework should present a broad course of action that guides the behaviour of governments, organisations, corporations and individuals. It is a tool to promote a national vision that can then form the basis for the legislation and regulation that is instituted to help implement this vision. . The ‘vision and mission’ section of the draft policy (chapter 3) is not very substantial.
It dwells very briefly, and not very convincingly, on a vision of Zambia becoming a knowledge-based economy by 2020 through the provision and use of ICTs. The vision emphasizes the role of ICT as an enabler of social and economic development in the priority sectors identified. But, what is missing are the principles and values that, linked to the vision, can form the basis of legislation and regulation in the medium and long term. For example, there is no mention of human rights, public participation, gender equality, media diversity and freedoms; some of the basic building blocks of a society in which information and communications can freely and effectively contribute to social and economic and political development.
The current draft seems only to address principles related to infrastructure provision such as the liberalization of telecommunication services.
This section, Chapter 4, opens with a rather questionable statement: “It has been demonstrated that countries that have achieved sustainable economic growth and social development have largely done so through the adoption and exploitation of ICTs.” It emphasises the need for ‘local and foreign direct investment’ but, while it stresses the need for coordination among government departments, it does not sufficiently emphasise the government’s responsibility for national social and economic development.
While APC would not deny the importance of ICTs in social and economic development there are several other factors which play a key role, particularly looking at a country’s development over time, such as the structural inequality that characterises global social and economic realities; basic infrastructure development; human rights; education; public sector capacity and service delivery; public participation in decision-making that impacts on people’s lives; and freedom of information, to mention but a few. Relying on ICTs to ‘create’ development is not a reliable starting point for any country that is facing severe under development and that needs to strengthen participative government.
However, some very important policy issues are raised this chapter; the problem is that they are not addressed in any depth, for example, ‘intellectual property’, ‘information security’ and ‘content development’.
4. Guiding Principles
Some excellent principles are contained in this section. We recommend that in the next draft, greater attention is given to ensuring that the policy recommendations adhere to them. Attention should also be given to ensure that some of the guiding principles in the Draft ICT Policy harmonises with principles that guide other policies (for example freedom of the media and information).
6 Policy Goals Objectives and Strategies
This section shows the wealth of work that went into developing the strategy. It is fairly comprehensive, and covers most key areas, but, there are some important gaps, and in some cases critical issues are glossed over.
‘Intellectual property’, or rather, copyright, trademarks and
For example, on page 20 in section 6.3 on ‘overall policy objectives’ there is a very brief and uncritical reference to intellectual property: “9. To accord due regard, recognition and protection of intellectual property rights.” What does this really mean in the Zambian context? Have the limitations of current intellectual property regimes on using ICTs for development been explored? For example the impact of copyright restrictions on university libraries, or the cost of government having to enforce adherence to software licences of international software monopolies?
We recommend that the each of areas of copyright, trademarks and patents (incorrectly lumped together as ‘intellectual property’) be explored in its own right in the next draft of the document.
The role of the media, in particularly community media
On page 22 the government declares its commitment to “Developing appropriate local multimedia content by; a. Accelerating the implementation of the national cultural policy by using ICTs; b. Promoting the production and dissemination of products and services that reflect the needs, interests, cultural values and realities in the country; c. Encouraging the harnessing and development of local knowledge resources.”
However, this paragraph does not mention the importance of a vibrant and free media sector, nor the important role the community media can play in developing and disseminating local content. Also, while APC supports the recognition by governments of the importance of investing in local and useful content, we want to sound a word of caution: ‘Who decides what content reflects the needs and realities of the country? Who decides what the cultural values are? Such norms can easily be used as a basis for limiting freedom of expression, particularly when content is perceived as being critical of government.
Youth and gender
On page 48 there is a section on ‘youth and gender’. Both these areas are important and should indeed be mentioned in an ICT policy document, but, lumping them together tends to reinforce the marginalisation of women and young people. We propose that in the next draft young people and women are addressed in separate sections, with gender being dealt with consistently as a cross-cutting issue.
On a positive note, this section is one of the few in which there is a mention of civil society as a stakeholder.
Section 6.4.10 on ICT services has good content, and in particular we strongly support the objective to expand community radio which is mentioned on page 53 and the multi-faceted approach to providing public access.
However, there is no explicit reference to the use of voice over internet protocol (even though the current monopoly of Zamtel over VoIP is mentioned in chapter 2) and there is an over-reliance on private sector investment in rolling out these services.
We also feel this section does not mention the critical importance of community based structures and civil society entities in establishing and maintaining such services.
Chapter 7 focuses on implementation measures an outlines the roles of different groups. As mentioned above we believe that the role of civil society needs to be developed n greater depth.
We also recommend that the section on multi-lateral trade on page 59 be reviewed to reflect more critically and expansively on both the threats and opportunities that current trade regimes hold for the use of ICTs for development in a country such as Zambia.
8. Comments on Specific Policy Issues of Concern to the APC
Some important policy concerns are mentioned as action points for implementation without a clear enough policy position that would give direction during implementation. Some are left out altogether.
A few of these worth mentioning:
* The Right to Access
While the draft policy does address some important elements of the right to communicate, such as universal access (through the planned universal service fund and its implementation) there is insufficient emphasis on mechanisms that would monitor the implementation of universal access. Nor does it addressing financing convincingly. The document emphasizes the role of the private sector and government in funding universal service through a % of revenue and a levy but this does not guarantee that enough funds will be made available. Not does it guarantee implementation. The government should explore more innovative ways to realise universal service and not merely rely on universal service funds to ensure that every citizen has access to affordable and universally accessible ICTs, for example effective liberalisation to allow for competitive service delivery based on deregulation of low cost options such as wireless connectivity and voice over internet.
We also believe that all the recommendations made with regard to public and
universal access should be reviewed from the perspective of ensuring equal
access for women and men.
* Freedom of expression and information exchange
Chapter 4 on ‘rationale’ proposes that the policy framework addresses constitutional matters such as freedom of expression and access to information. However, the draft policy does not go into detail on any of the issues related to ensuring that freedom of expression and information exchange will be ensured in the use of the internet, not does it mention what policy would be implemented to prevent censorship and secure the freedom to engage in public protest and online debates.
* Diversity in the ownership and control of content and the content itself
The draft policy framework emphasises the need for developing appropriate local multimedia content but fails to address the ownership and control of content; an aspect that would impact on content diversity.
* Free/open source software, technology development, copyright, trademarks
The document fails to address the crucial issues of patents and copyright in the production of software. Current regimes restrict the development of local software industries in developing countries, increases the profits of foreign owned software producers with monopolistic practices often illegal in their countries of origin, limits the development of software appropriate to local needs, and does not build local technical capacity and creativity. There is a widespread free and open source software (FOSS) movement in Africa and several governments reflect this in their policy documents and we are surprised that this is not the case in the draft Zambian policy. It raises the concern that the document might be avoiding contentious areas deliberately.
We also note that when the issue of intellectual property rights is mentioned in various sections of the document it is usually to say that the government would ensure the protection of intellectual property rights. Current intellectual property rights have mostly been benefiting developed countries where ownership of patents, trademarks and copyright is held, at the expense of developing countries. It is thus imperative that alternate options such as FOSS be pursued, and that the impact of copyright on information dissemination be considered.
* Global information commons
There are several references to the need for information production and dissemination, but the document does not address the impact of the increasing commodification of information and information services on ‘information for the public good’.
* Privacy and SPAM
The issue of privacy is only mentioned as a concern to citizens who may be hesitant to use e-government channels. Protecting the privacy of users of ICT services at all levels is essential if the government wants to build an enabling environment for the use of ICTs. Crucial privacy issues needs to be addressed to ensure certain minimum conditions are adhered to like data protection, freedom from surveillance, the right to secure, private communication.
The issue of SPAM (unsolicited commercial email) should also be addressed. It is critical that SPAM is addressed at all levels, including in national policy and regulatory frameworks. SPAM is impacting on the cost of using and running the internet, and violates the privacy of individual users.
* National governance of the internet
The draft policy framework fails to address issues related to governance of the internet and the participation and scrutiny by all stakeholders, particularly non-commercial stakeholders as far as the Zambia domain name is concerned.
* Awareness, protection and realisation of rights
Finally we also find the draft policy does not adequately address the promotion and protection of rights. For example, in the case of universal services, unless communities and citizens are aware that a policy document provides for their rights to access, they will not be in a position to lobby for the implementation of those rights.
The draft policy should give guidance on what measures and institutions will responsible for informing people about their rights when using ICTs and what mechanisms will be in place for people to make use of should they feel their rights are violated.
In spite of the various points of criticism contained in our comments we commend the Zambian government for undertaking this process and for the addressing ICTs as an important area, was well as an issue that should be mainstreamed in sectoral policies. The document is generally comprehensive and adopts a holistic approach.
We look forward to the next draft.
Association for Progressive Communications
30 April 2004-05-03
To download the full draft please click here...
To view other comments made by other people/organizations, or send your comments
9. OTHER NEWS, RESOURCES AND NOTICES FROM THE MONITOR
* APC seeks a manager for our Communications and Information Programme
APC is looking for a strategic thinker with experience in and understanding of global and regional level ICT policy issues to run our 'CIPP' programme. The successful candidate will understand how ICT policy issues relate to development and social justice and have a proven background in civil society networking.
A minimum five year’s experience in project management is necessary
and fundraising experience is essential. As APC is a truly virtual organisation,
excellent computer and internet skills and familiarity with working in an online
environment are important as well as sound academic qualifications. Deadline
for applications is May 9 2004.
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