CHAKULA Issue No. 9, April 2004: Focus on the 'Kenya ICT Week'
Text only version
draft ICT policy and strategy negates development goals’
aside all the pomp and talk, what was the added value
of the convention?
Conference, ‘A brief review’
The WSIS Action Plan Conference, ‘What was achieved?'
Papers/Presentations from the Kenya ICT Convention
||Selected Papers/Presentations from the
|| APC Comments on the First Draft National ICT Policy for Zambia
news, resources and notices from the Monitor
||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
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
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
(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
- 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.
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
Over-ambitious e-government strategy
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
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
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
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
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 year .
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
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?
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
- 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
- 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’”,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 Human Needs"
Adopted by the WSIS Civil Society Plenary, Geneva, 11 December
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.
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,
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
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
- The UN’s Millennium Goals and ICT – The
case of Uganda, by Dr Johnson Nkuuhe, Member of Parliament,
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 nation building.
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
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,
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
- Convention Declaration: The Roadmap for Kenya’s
National ICT Strategy, James Gachui, First Vice-Chairman, Kenya
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 and successful.
National ICT Infrastructure
National ICT Strategy and Human Resources
National ICT Strategy and e-Commerce
PAPERS/PRESENTATIONS FROM THE CTO/WSIS
The Challenge for Regulators
- Developing Strategies For The Implementation
Of The WSIS Action Plan: A West African Perspective on the Challenges
By Ernest Ndukwe CE, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) & Chairman,
West African Telecommunications Regulators Association (WATRA).
The Challenge for Development Partners
The Challenge for the Private Sector
The Role of Civil Society
Conclusion and the Nairobi Accord
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 - email@example.com
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
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
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
The current draft seems only to address principles related to
infrastructure provision such as the liberalization of telecommunication
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
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 patents
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
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
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
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:
- 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
control of content; an aspect that would impact on content diversity.
- Free/open source software, technology development, copyright,
trademarks and patents
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
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.
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 click here..
- APC seeks a manager for our Communications and Information
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
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.