[AfrICANN-discuss] Re: [africs-ig] Africa report

Mawaki Chango kichango at gmail.com
Tue May 28 12:42:21 SAST 2013


There is a lot to be done in Africa. So one might think it is even more
crucial here to bring in all segments of the society which can help improve
our understanding and practice. I totally agree that academia should be
invited in what we do at all levels. It doesn't matter how much you slice
this, you can't avoid education, training, research without a serious loss.
As recently as last year I was doing a survey in an African country and one
of my respondents working in a public research agency told me once she
asked to consult a document (which was not a government classified document
but has to do with some development issues in one sector of activity) at
another government agency, then after asking what exactly she was looking
for her colleague opened the corresponding pages for her to make note of,
while concealing the non-related contents. That's the mindset we're up
against. In many places, it is the very notion of collecting information
and making it easy to retrieve later on which is lacking. Believe it or
not, in some countries ICT-related policy documents are said to exist but
cannot be easily found by the public. For the medium and long-term there is
a need to educate and train information specialists, librarians, people
who are prepared to identify relevant data gathering opportunities and
sources and people who are prepared to systematically gather and curate
information, index it and make it easy to find and retrieve at any point in
the future. This can only help all researchers, academic or practitioners,
to do their job better as well as decision-makers, for that matter.

In any case, and particularly for the short term, the best we can do is to
gather raw data whenever possible, I agree with Nnenna on that (Reports are
just a means to build reference repositories for such data and there may be
other ways). The most important (and urgent) is to make sure the data (as
per the data points she just indicated) is available somewhere for the
public to access. Otherwise, how is one to debate cogently about the
geopolitics of the Internet in Africa without knowing which African
countries were there during relevant proceedings, which ones contributed
language, what their rationale was, what the different
positions among African countries are and which ones took which positions
and why, etc. A handful of people may be able to find out with a reasonable
time investment but most people, who might use that information for useful
things that we cannot even predict, won't be able to find it. Not to
mention that the more aware the public, the greater the benefits of the

So yes, we need to demonstrate more awareness for the necessity to collect
information and systematically document what we do and relevant events, to
associate academia and other researchers and work with them in order to
facilitate data collection and information retrieval for research and
policy analysis as well as for decision-making, policy-making and public



On Tue, May 28, 2013 at 9:40 AM, Nnenna Nwakanma <nnenna75 at gmail.com> wrote:

> SM, all
>  I am talking about an Africa report directly in relation to the:
> WCIT - World Conference on Information Technology
> WTPF - World Telecommunications and ICT Policy Forum
> WSIS+10 - World Summit of Information SOciety + 10 meetings
> It is not about "what worked in a country" but rather the sum total of:
>    1. Which African countries contribted content
>    2. In which areas/domains were African countries working/interested in
>    3. Which Countries had delegations
>    4. What commissions/committees of the policy rounds did they
>    chair/work on
>    5. What Ministers were present? What panels did they feature on? What
>    content did they contribute?
>    6. What engagements, what plans, what future..
>    All of that in the framework of global Internet/ICT Policy
> Best
> Nnenna
> On Tue, May 28, 2013 at 8:28 AM, SM <sm at resistor.net> wrote:
>> Hi Nnenna,
>> At 00:04 28-05-2013, Nnenna Nwakanma wrote:
>>> I honestly do believe that if we have an "Africa report" after each of
>>> these meetings, such will come in handy when we are planning for the future.
>> Replicating what worked in Country X does not work well.  The quality of
>> reports are in my opinion relatively low.  That might be due to research
>> constraints.  The reader would expect an Africa report to include as many
>> countries as possible.  Reports generally cover a few countries as case
>> studies and are extrapolated from there.
>> There isn't a breath of expertise as input; either the expertise is not
>> there, or it is untapped, or there is lack of interest.
>> Regards,
>> -sm
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