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Ethiopia calls for the need for due emphasis on Africa’s challenges in IGF agendas

Addis Ababa, October 10, 2023 (FBC) – The agendas of the International Internet Governance Forum (IGF2023) should focus on the concerns of African countries, according to Ethiopia’s Minister of State for Innovation and Technology, Ms. Huria Ali.

The 18th annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum is being hosted by the Government of Japan in Kyoto from 8 to 12 October 2023 under the overarching theme, ‘The Internet We Want – Empowering All People’.

In that regard, Ethiopian delegation consisting of the Minister of State Huria Ali and Ethiopia’s Ambassador to Japan, Dhaba Debele is attending IGF2023.

Also the member of IGF, Minister of State Huria Ali, pointed out that the IGF annual meeting should focus on the concerns of African countries.

In her speech at IGF2023, the Minister of State said that developed countries have an established internet access to their citizens.

She underlined that when the laws regarding internet governance are issued, they should consider the developing countries that are still lagging in the field.

The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida opened IGF2023 in Kyoto, calling for human-centred approach to digital governance.

The UN chief António Guterres underscored the need to work together to close the connectivity and digital governance gap, and to re-enforce a human rights, human-centered approach to digital cooperation: “We need to keep harnessing digital technologies enabled by the Internet to help deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals, take climate action and build a better world.”

The Secretary-General also highlighted the importance of the UN Global Digital Compact which aims to set out principles, objectives and actions to secure a human-centred digital future, which will be taken up at the Summit of the Future next year: “Governments, the private sector and civil society must come together regularly to ensure that the commitments enshrined in the Compact are followed up.”

The opening day of the Forum also saw the release of the ‘The Internet We Want’ vision paper by the UN Secretary-General appointed IGF Leadership Panel Chair, Vint Cerf and Vice-Chair Maria Ressa. The paper reiterated that digital governance is critical for economic, social and environmental development, and is a crucial enabler of sustainable development. It further elaborated what it means for the Internet to be whole and open, universal and inclusive, free-flowing and trustworthy, safe and secure and rights-respecting.

The annual meeting is deliberating on AI & Emerging Technologies, Avoiding Internet Fragmentation, Cybersecurity, Cybercrime & Online Safety, Data Governance & Trust, Digital Divides & Inclusion, Global Digital Governance & Cooperation, Human Rights & Freedoms, as well as Sustainability & Environment.

Moreover, Ms. Huria Ali also held a bilateral discussion with Ahmed Mohammed Alsuwaiyan, Governor and Board Member of the Digital Government Authority of Saudi Arabia.

During the meeting, both sides discussed areas of collaboration in the field of digital government between Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia.

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