- Gathaiga said there was need for a multi-stakeholder collaboration and joint convenings in the delivery of internet access.
- "As KICTANet, we have held joint convenings focusing on cybersecurity, data protection and the broadband report," she said.
The 10th Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF23) conference has begun in Nairobi.
The three-day conference under the theme 'Building A Sustainable Internet for All', will host 600 delegates from across the world.
During Wednesday's discussions, the panel agreed on the need for sustainable internet and balanced regulation across the continent.
It comprised Namibian Deputy Minister for ICT Emma Inamutila Theofelus, KICTANet CEO and convenor Grace Githaiga, Paradigm Initiative executive director Gbenga Sesan and Derechos Digitales advocacy director Vladimir Garayr.
Gathaiga said there was a need for multi-stakeholder collaboration and joint convenings in the delivery of internet access.
"As KICTANet, we have held joint convenings focusing on cybersecurity, data protection and the broadband report," she said.
"The Kenya Internet Governance Forum is our flagship program. Through the forum, we discuss and see how to fit issues into our local context."
Speaking about the level of Internet penetration in Namibia, Theofelus pointed out the huge cost involved in developing infrastructure and the need for government and political will.
She said they had put in place requirements for licensing and investment from the government.
"There has been some political will. This includes the Universal Service Fund. We also have one of the most liberated media on the continent," she said.
Gbenga urged stakeholders to contribute towards efforts aimed at ensuring internet accessibility.
"If all stakeholders don't get their hands dirty, we will come back here 10 years later to discuss the same issues," he said.
On his part, Vladimir emphasized the importance of internet access saying connectivity supports human rights.
"People want high quality, affordable and secure internet connectivity. The Internet is expensive and limited. We need to acknowledge and address internet connectivity gaps," he said.
Paradigm Initiative is hosting the Pan-African bilingual event in collaboration with KICTANet and the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law (CIPIT) established under Strathmore University.
Key partners at the forum include Internews, the Global Digital Inclusion Partnership, Derechos Digitales, the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), Inclusive Tech Group, Access Now, Data Privacy Brazil, Defend Defenders, Youth and Society, Tech Societal, the Global Network Initiative, UNESCO, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, MTN and the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law among others.
The event is sponsored by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Ford Foundation, Wikimedia Foundation, Google, Open Technology Fund and the Global Network Initiative (GNI).
The forum will host 70 sessions with partners from 48 countries across the world.
The sessions will focus on internet shutdowns, Universal Service Fund utilization, data protection, content moderation, and censorship among other topics.
Also lined up at the event are key launches of research, platforms, and networks.
In 2022, DRIF under the theme, Towards a Digitally Inclusive Africa was a hybrid event reaching over 1,300 individuals.
Physical sessions were hosted in 17 African countries.