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Internet Governance Forum 2015: Closing ceremony speech by Jimson Olufuye, BASIS member and Chair of Africa ICT Alliance (AfICTA), Joao Pessoa, Brazil, 13 November 2015

Internet Governance Forum 2015: Closing ceremony speech by Jimson Olufuye, BASIS member and Chair of Africa ICT Alliance (AfICTA), Joao Pessoa, Brazil, 13 November 2015. 

My name is Jimson Olufuye, I’m the Chair of the concerned private sector led Africa ICT Alliance – AfICTA founded in 2012 and currently with member associations and companies in 23 African countries.

Our vision is the fulfilment of the promise of the digital age for all in Africa. We’re a member of ICC-BASIS which is the global business focal point for constructive engagement on WSIS and the IGF.

It is my pleasure to deliver this message on behalf of ICC BASIS.

We have come to a crucial moment for the future of Internet governance before the conclusion of the WSIS review process next month that will determine the fate of the IGF.

As we consider that future, we should acknowledge how far we have come in 10 short years and recognize the value of all that the IGF has achieved in that time.

Across the range of IGF stakeholders, we have witnessed strong support for the continuation of the IGF. We are pleased to see this support translate to the WSIS draft document as a proposal to extend the IGF mandate for another 10-years.

It is now vital to maintain momentum and continue to develop ways for the IGF to add value across all the stakeholder communities; and to ensure that the future IGF mandate is adhered to in a way that preserves and protects all the things that have made this unique forum a success.

We are not here to negotiate.

Dialogue, unconstrained by negotiation of a text, is an essential element of the IGF. We come together to freely share experiences, ideas and practices.

This helps form inputs to policy and practice development in other organizations and across geographies.

We come to pool our views and good practices, so that every community can better understand the needs and ideas of others.

We meet so that no individual or group misses out from these benefits, or from expressing their own views that may help others form their own ideas.

We are here to build two-way bridges that inform policymaking and enable the further beneficial use of these ideas and practices.

Everyone at the IGF benefits from hearing different perspectives from every vantage point. This approach has received widespread support from the Internet stakeholders represented here, who recognize the value of collaborating on an equal footing and in an open and free environment.

This approach is not only a requirement for a sustainable Internet, but one to leverage for achieving sustainable development goals, for improving people’s living standards, human rights and for ensuring good governance.

Looking ahead, we must strive to build on the strengths of the IGF. We must ramp up our collective effort to reach more people in more regions, particularly in developing and least developed economies.

This effort will expose those in developing or remote regions to the elements of the IGF that can best serve their needs. In turn, it will also enrich our discussions.

The engagements of regional and national IGFs, in countries including Zimbabwe, Nigeria Paraguay, Mexico and Costa Rica and the subnational IGF in Nigeria are tangible success stories from this annual meeting, which should be sustained. We are already seeing the benefits of this two-way communication.

The IGF is a forum, not about the future of the IGF, but about the future of the Internet.

The Internet is here to stay. But it can only thrive if we continue to pursue the evolving, multistakeholder process. A process based on principles of collaboration, openness, transparency and inclusiveness.

Again, this approach is necessary for a sustainable Internet. Across stakeholders, it is also considered a valued tool for improving governance and human rights and for sustainable development.

We look forward to securing the future of the IGF so that we can meet again in Mexico next year to continue the conversations we have started and to benchmark progress.

This would allow us to focus discussions on ways to

  • expedite access for the remaining  unconnected 4.3 billion,
  • to narrow access gaps in relation to gender and disabilities
  • and to exploit the full potential of ICTs and the Internet for social and economic development and progress.

On behalf of the global business community represented here, I would like to thank the government and people of Brazil and IGF organizers for the hospitality they have shown us…

Obrigado