In the afternoon we highlighted that we were attending the Zimbabwe Internet Governance Forum (ZIGF) 2017. In case you’re wondering what ZIGF is; well, ZIGF as defined is a multi-stakeholder forum for public policy dialogue on issues of Internet Governance in Zimbabwe.
It is at such forums where policies are shaped… and in this case policies involving the internet. The forum seeks to incorporate the views of the concerned stakeholders i.e the government, the private sector, the civil society, the technical community, and the academic community in the generation of policies.
However, ZIGF does not have any direct decision-making authority, its role is to identify existing and emerging internet-related public policy issues, bring them to the attention of the relevant authorities and the general public, and where appropriate, make recommendations to the relevant authorities.
Today, the forum was aimed at addressing issues relating to Sustainable Development and the Internet, Data Economy, Social media, Cyber Security and Cyber Crime, Internet and Human rights, and finally Bridging the Digital Gender Divide.
Here’s the preliminary (key word there being preliminary) communique that was drafted today:
Sustainable development and the Internet
- More liberalization of the telecoms sector in order to increase competition and improve quality and value for the consumers
- The Government should review licensing costs of telecoms licenses
- Availing more spectrum to the Operators by fast tracking the digitalization of the broadcasting service
- Creation of Innovation and information Hubs to the under-served areas.
- Increased use of Green energy, i.e solar and wind power in order to arrest global warming
- Use the USF to fund research.
- The composition of the ZIGF MCT needs to include more private sector players.
- There is need for a framework which makes sure that internet is available all the time in the country
- The USF and the regulator should be separate so that the regulator does not operate CICs as well
- Centralized and Localized data systems, in order to avoid data blackout in the event of blackout
- DNS management should also be done locally in order to improve names resolution.
- The government should avoid monopoly by service providers
- Robustness of legislation
- Content should be directed to the demographic so that its relevant, rural and urban
- The environmental policy to do the dig once policy
- Enhance competition amongst telecoms players
- Speed the implementation of Cyber legislation
- There should be government policy support at the highest level
- Government must invest in technical and R&D
- Need for an attitude change, Government should change its stance on Social Media
- There is need for an experiment so that government will have proper statistics on user preferences with regards to social media ,because current bundles are creating a bias
- Consumers should get more value on the internet. The debate must not be limited to social medial so that citizens have the right to decide what they want to access on the internet.
Cyber Security and Cyber Crime
- Policy – The act should be implemented
- Technical – there is need for equipment to set up a cyber centre /hub and there is need for the creation of a CRT
- Socio –economic – awareness, education, preservation of common values
- Environmental- establishment of an infrastructure that is eco-friendly
- Research- creating a path with knowledge sharing establishment of a resource centre, international partnerships.
- Increase the number of stakeholders involved in cybersecurity
Internet and Human Rights
- Internet consumer education policy
- Accountability policy from government level to individual
- As a nation we need a CERT (Computer emergency Response Team).
- Infrastructure sharing
- Need an encryption solution that can work locally.
- Accessibility of internet to differently abled persons i.e. use of brail key boards
- Subsidizing equipment for the differently abled
- Pollution and green energy solution(sub-stations to be using green energy, replace service scratch cards with digital recharging).
- Multi-stakeholder in research
- Advocate for number potability
Bridging the digital Gender Divide
- Education curriculum should be crafted to cater from the young and encourage use
- Civil society should take part in educating and encouraging women to adopt digital platforms
- Gender focal person in the ICT Ministry
- Statistics on digital adoption and usage based on gender are required to make informed decision