Strengthening Africa’s voices in global digital processes

March 17

This session is co-organised by DiploFoundation and the Geneva Internet Platform with the Permanent Missions of Djibouti, Kenya and Namibia. The event is taking place during the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) Forum.

As Africa’s digital dynamism grows, its participation in global digital governance must increase. The continent’s involvement in global policy-making needs to more accurately reflect the dynamism of its digital transformation processes, with growing internet penetration rates, expanding digital economies, and fast-evolving start-up ecosystems.

The digital realm cannot be developed into an enabling, secure engine for human prosperity without Africa’s active involvement in digital diplomacy. African countries and continental and regional organisations need to mobilise human and institutional resources to enable their meaningful and long-lasting engagement in digital foreign policy and diplomacy. While most African countries are in the early stages of their digital diplomacy journey, there are many policies, initiatives and practices across the continent that could drive a faster take-off of digital diplomacy in Africa.

The session will look into how to strengthen African digital voices globally, by leveraging what already exists, while developing digital foreign policies for countries, regions, and the overall continent.

It will start by exploring the digital policy priorities of African countries and institutions and their involvement in global digital governance processes. In doing so, the session will build on the in-depth study titled ‘Stronger digital voices from Africa’, published in November 2022. The study analyses the current participation of African countries, companies, and communities in technical, intergovernmental, and other global processes focused on digital policy issues.

After looking at the current situation, the discussion will provide practical insights and suggestions on why and how to broaden African digital diplomacy footprint in international processes, with a focus on those dealing with access and infrastructure, cybersecurity, AI and data governance.

In brief, the session will outline the picture of Africa’s involvement in international policy processes in the digital realm by identifying existing building blocks and missing pieces for African digital diplomacy. It will then propose practical steps for the development of African digital diplomacy by strengthening the voices of national and regional actors in global digital diplomacy.

Relevant WSIS Action Lines: 1.The role of governments and all stakeholders in the promotion of ICTs for development | 4. Capacity building | 6. Enabling environment | 11. International and regional cooperation