South Africa’s Minister of Communications, Roy Padayachie today addressed the High Level Ministerial Forum on Internet Governance taking place in Nairobi, Kenya on 26 September 2011.
The Ministerial Forum, which is the first in a series of high level ministerial forums on Internet for Development in Africa, aims to foster meaningful debate for developing countries on the importance of Internet Governance as well as Internet Policy. The outcomes of this Forum will be shared with the 6th Annual United Nations Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Conference, which takes place at the same venue, from 27 – 30 September 2011.
This is the first time that the global IGF – under the theme “Internet as a catalyst for Change: Access, Development, Freedom and Innovation” – takes place on African soil.
“I would like to express the appreciation of the Government of Kenya and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) by the South Africa, for bringing the Internet Governance Forum back to Africa for the second time,” says Padayachie.
“The internet has become a critical tool for national cohesion and poverty eradication in national development. It is already widely recognised that investment by developing countries in ICTs yields positive multiplier effects towards economic growth. We have also seen the impact of the internet in social, political and economic transformation. The internet is changing the way we do things, both nationally and globally,” says Padayachie.
“The internet has a huge impact on public policy. It is our view that Governments have to be involved in the development of public policy to ensure that the internet develops in ways that offer the most benefit to humankind,” adds Padayachie.
“This Forum could therefore make a valuable contribution towards implementing the decisions of the World Summit on the Information Society with regard to Internet Governance. The Tunis Agenda of WSIS refers to the role and responsibility of governments to address issues of public policy with respect to the Internet, on an equal footing, but also involving all stakeholders in their respective roles. This Tunis Agenda also underlined the need to maximise the participation of developing countries in decisions regarding Internet Governance, which should reflect their interests.”
“I would like to emphasise the need for inclusivity in the global system, and for fair and transparent multilateral decision making, so that all countries, including developing countries, can participate in addressing public policy issues that pertain to the internet, in line with the WSIS outcomes. Decisions concerning Internet Governance, Cybersecurity and the future of the Internet cannot just be the preserve of the powerful and dominant vested interests,” concludes Padayachie.