Image Credit: Internet Society
Image Credit: Internet Society

The Internet Society in partnership with UNESCO, and Republic of Rwanda’s Ministry of Youth and ICT have today announced they will hold the first ever Africa Regional Internet and Development Dialogue from 8th to 9th May, 2017 in Kigali, Rwanda.

The two-day meeting will bring together experts including government and inter-governmental organization officials, business and educational leaders from throughout the continent to discuss how Africa can use the Internet to advance education, innovation and job creation.

The event aims at gathering various organizations working on Internet and development across the region to identify synergies and create opportunities for coordination and collaboration.

“One of the key topics of discussion will be what needs to be done for Africa to benefit from the transformational opportunities of the Internet for the benefit of the African economy and education,” explains Dawit Bekele, Regional Bureau Director for Africa at the Internet Society. 

“While there are many challenges, we know it can be done. Countries such as Kenya and Rwanda have created policy environments that enable innovation and they are now seeing the benefits of the Internet economy. Universities throughout the continent are also using e-learning opportunities to increase their reach as well as to give flexibility for their students,” he adds.

“Africa is on an unstoppable move toward digital transformation. However, the room for increasing speed and impact is limitless. This can only be achieved if we are able to harness effectively the power of partnerships,” says Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Rwanda’s Minister for Youth and ICT, says in a press statement.

The Africa Regional Internet Development Dialogue is an opportunity for key stakeholders to:

  • Discuss not only the challenges, but also the achievements in building the Internet economy and education in Africa.
  • Review the successes and setbacks of various initiatives throughout the region and share lessons-learned.
  • Identify the next steps different stakeholders need to take to build the Internet economy and improve education in Africa.

“UNESCO is committed to working with all stakeholders to harness ICTs in a way that serves the interests of learners and the larger teaching/learning community,” said Indrajit Banerjee, Director Knowledge Societies Division, Communications and Information Sector at UNESCO.

This conference is part of a global series of Internet development conferences organized by the Internet Society with the aim of furthering the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) that aim at tackling the world’s main development challenges by 2030.

Regional Internet Development Dialogues were held last year in Asia Pacific, hosted by UNESCAP, and in Latin America & Caribbean in partnership with Inter-America Development Bank and hosted by the Government of Argentina.