Banjul, 26th July 2019. The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) brought together a cross section of stakeholders involved in the internet ecosystem to The Gambia, for the 11th edition of the West Africa Internet Governance Forum (WAIGF) to deliberate public policy issues surrounding Internet Governance.
The two-day forum with the theme “Shared responsibilities of stakeholders for a robust internet governance ecosystem” convened in collaboration and support from the Government of The Gambia and partners was held from 25th to 26th July 2019. The West Africa School on Internet Governance (WASIG) preceded the forum.
The Commission’s acting Director for Digital Economy and Post, Dr. Raphael Koffi reiterated why the internet was vital to the development of the region. He also stressed the importance of building the capacity of the youth on Internet Governance as well as other prevailing and emerging ICT related concerns to ensure the region was better equipped to partake in public policy issues. Dr. Koffi urged participants to become more actively involved in the developments that will shape the future of our Internet by encouraging it to be more open, transparent, universal and equal as the internet is here to stay.
The Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure of The Gambia, Hon. Ebrima Sillah, stated that it was his Ministry’s goal to ensure that Internet Governance was fully entrenched in all sectors of The Gambia economy be it at policy or grass root level. He encouraged the open and frank discussions on the thematic sessions of the forum within the context and framework that internet governance encourages and advocates.
The culmination of the forum was the presence of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Secretary General, Mr Houlin Zhao. He took the opportunity to commend the ICT progress being made in the region and to encourage that more be done to connect the unconnected in a safe and secure manner.
The ensuing communique from the forum will be presented to the ECOWAS Ministers in charge of Telecommunication/ICT and is expected to be adopted during their meeting scheduled for October 2019.