EAC urged to establish strategic partners

TANZANIA: THE tenth Edition of the East Africa Internet Governance Forum (EA-IGF) has called on Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) experts in the region to take proactive steps towards ensuring that the internet continues to be a force for positive change in the region.

Jointly hosted by the East African Community and Rwanda Ministry of ICT and Innovation through the Rwanda Internet Community and Technology Alliance (RICTA), the Forum was convened under the theme: The Internet We Want – Empowering All People in East Africa.

The theme is in line with the over-arching global Internet Governance Forum 2023 theme: The Internet We Want.

Rwanda’s Permanent Secretary, Ministry of ICT and Innovation, Mr Yves Iradukunda, said the internet was critical in facilitating the region’s vision of transforming into a digital economy and in doing so, the region must employ a multi-sectoral approach to ensure the people of the region are empowered by the internet.

“To create the internet we want, we must ensure that it is accessible to all and that it is not too expensive. We must therefore work towards ensuring access to the internet is affordable by taking advantage of the power of competition,” said Mr Iradukunda.

The Permanent Secretary further called on ICT stakeholders to develop locally relevant content and applications for diverse sectors including education, healthcare, environment, agriculture, products that are useful to local communities, if the region is to create the internet it wants.

“As we develop locally relevant content, as sector experts and other stakeholders, we must work together to push for development of global regulations that facilitate development of digital economies,” added the Permanent Secretary.

The Permanent Secretary called upon the ICT experts and other stakeholders attending the forum to ensure that internet regulations and laws transcend national barriers and provide for a sustainable and safe digital sphere for all to use.

Speaking at the Forum on behalf of the EAC Secretary General, Dr  Peter Mathuki; EAC Principal ICT Officer, Engineer Daniel Murenzi noted that in the rapidly evolving digital age, the internet has become an indispensable part of our daily lives, transforming the way we communicate, work, trade and access information.

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