Rwanda Internet Governance Forum 2022; “Resilient Internet for a shared, sustainable and common future”

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Rwanda Internet Governance Forum 2022; “Resilient Internet for a shared, sustainable and common future”

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is an open and inclusive multi-stakeholder event where public policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance, such as the Internet’s sustainability, robustness, security, stability, and development are discussed. 

The establishment of the IGF was formally announced by the UN Secretary-General in July 2006 and three months later in October of the same year, the first global IGF was convened. The event brings together the government,  private sector, civil society, technical and academic community, media, and the public for dialogue on Internet governance. 

This year’s Rwanda Internet Governance Forum took place on 3rd November 2022 at Kigali Marriott Hotel under the theme ‘’Resilient Internet for a shared, sustainable and common future’’. The Forum discussed key areas including, primarily Rwanda’s journey of connecting people and enabling access to information. Second, mitigating Internet fragmentation, addressing the challenges of the rise of Big, Open and Linked Data and Big Data Algorithmic Systems and Digital Transformation looking at the promises and Pitfalls. 

The forum was attended by Honorable Minister of ICT Paula Ingabire as the Guest of honor, senior officials and other distinguished representatives from local and international stakeholder entities who have shared their experiences and expertise on discussed matters through speeches, panels, and presentations. 

RICTA CEO, Grace Ingabire in her opening remarks shared on the background of the forum, commended the sponsors and partners who made the 2022 RWIGF a possibility and pledged RICTA commitment and stakeholders to develop an IGF 2022 program that builds on the last year’s success and bring us closer to realizing a resilient internet for a shared sustainable and common future. 

Hon. Minister Paula Ingabire in her speech asserted ‘’’Everyone deserves to access an opportunity that comes with the digital world, and it’s our duty to ensure that connectivity becomes universal, affordable, and accessible”. She shed more light on the available gaps in connection accessibility and affordability and challenged every stakeholder to boost its effort toward this agenda. 

Lindsey Julianna, UNICEF’s country representative to Rwanda reiterated the UN collective effort to continue working with Rwanda Government and partners to ensure the fundamental principles of connectivity, respect and protection for a secure and sustainable access to the Internet for all. She also expressed her gratitude for the good progress made since the previous IGF discussion on the child online protection policy. 

Col. David Kanamugire, the  CEO at  National Cyber Security Authority (NCSA) while delivering his presentation on Artificial Intelligence and Big data, he recommended building the skills necessary to meaningfully exploit this technology and creation of laws that help us own our data as the key approaches to ensure the nation gets the most out of the fast-tracking AI technology. 

The event also featured two interesting insightful panel discussions. The first one discussed the Rwanda case study in connecting People and access to information. Under the moderation of Jackie Lumbasi with the speakers; Dr. Didacienne Mukanyiligira, and Victor Muvunyi. The second panel discussed internet fragmentation in its key forms (technical, governmental, and commercial) and its mitigation mechanisms. The panel was moderated by Alex Ntare who observed Christian Muhirwa and Robert Ford as the speakers.

Special thanks goes to GIZ Rwanda and other partners and sponsors namely; the Ministry of ICT, RURA, ICT chamber, NCSA Rwanda, BSC, RISA, ISOC Rwanda Chapter, AFRINIC, and UN IGF who collaborated to make Rwanda Internet Governance Forum 2022 a success.

The event was streamed online, and you can watch the recording here; Rwanda Internet Governance Forum 2022