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

Mawaki Chango kichango at gmail.com
Wed May 29 12:22:09 SAST 2013

Greetings, all:

I'm afraid there is a confusion about two issues that are both comprised in
this discussion thread (which started with Pierre D. posting the link to
the page of an academic gathering on the Future of the Internet at Columbia
Institute for Tele-Information, suggesting that we should be having the
same kind of debate in Africa, followed by another link by McTim to another
talk on the Geopolitics of Internet Governance at the Center for Strategic
and International Studies, both events taking place in the US.)

1. The academic research aspect which I have insisted on: One does not
become an academic just because they decide to or volunteer to act like
one. Academics are found in specific institutions that are not always
involved with our work and they have their funding structures, including
external funding such as research grants, etc. So it is legitimate to
mention the possibility of cooperation across organizations and potential
sponsors (e.g., potential grant makers). It is in this perspective that
Pierre D. mentioned the regional organizations as potential players to
support research.

2. What I call the "informacy" problem (information + literacy), that is,
the greater awareness of the value of information and the need to reinforce
practices and know-how in information collection conservation/packaging and
dissemination, as to provide better data sources for decision-making and
for any kind of research and public information purposes. Nnenna first
highlighted what could be done here and it has been recognized this is
incumbent upon us to start, in the mean time, while waiting for information
specialists and interested researchers to join and possibly add value to
the data and information available. This where the DB and wiki idea came in
handy and, if I'm not mistaken, nobody thus far suggested to wait for or
look for external funding for this aspect of the problem.

I hope this clarifies.


On Wed, May 29, 2013 at 7:50 AM, Baudouin SCHOMBE <b.schombe at gmail.com>wrote:

> Hello,
> I agree with you it takes a report for Africa. In my opinion, africa
> report should be based on national reports. It is for this reason that
> national and sub regional IGF must be some thoroughly prepare by being more
> inclusive.
> I believe also, as Mawaki and  Nnenna in the path, it must appeal to
> research centers, the universities ..... But that can start in the
> exchanges has internally. KICTANet in Kenya is a good example. The more
> often and the general hanidcap is that online discussions have not yet
> mastered, in the case of Central Africa as an example.
> what is even more difficult, the lack of collaboration between actors from
> various sectors, the approach multicateurs concept remains poorly perceived
> by most officials and the private sector.
> To have an explicit and reasoned report must provide all stakeholders of
> matter has input into the report from the national to the regional in order
> to obtain a document regional exploitable because full of objective and
> verifiable information.
> Téléphone mobile:+243998983491
> email                  : b.schombe at gmail.com
> skype                 : b.schombe
> blog                    : http://akimambo.unblog.fr
> Site Web             : www.ticafrica.net
> 2013/5/28 Mawaki Chango <kichango at gmail.com>
>>  All,
>> 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
>> debate.
>> 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 information.
>> Best,
>> Mawaki
>> 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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