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UN Sets Up a Digital Economy Forum of Parliamentarians

The African Internet Forum, supported by IGF (the Internet Governance Forum) and the UN Development Programme, arranged a meeting of parliamentarians from 20 African countries to discuss the digital economy in Africa. EFA joined a panel of experts on  Strengthening Africa’s digital economy, on 19 July. The panel included speakers from the World Wide Web, the African Development Agency (AUDA/NEPAD), and the AU. EFA prepared a briefing paper for parliamentarians on the critical issues (available from [email protected]) and spoke on the challenges of logistics for ecommerce and the new payment solutions. Following the meeting, the 20 members of parliament agreed to set up a forum on the digital economy, chaired by the member from Tanzania, the Hon Mrs. Lugangira.

The other countries represented were from Ghana, The Gambia, Tunisia, Niger, Nigeria, Djibouti, Uganda, Namibia, Zambia, Malawi, Central African Republic, Botswana, Eswatini, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Kenya, Cape Verde, South Sudan, Zimbabwe. The forum plans to cooperate on issues and build relationships between the participating parliaments. In order to be a member, it was agreed that member of parliament participants must have worked in an ITC-related business or have studied ICT-related subjects. In that way, the parliamentarian will bring their expertise to the group.

EFA also attended the IGF/ I&JPN session on Data Collection and Policy in Africa during the event, also on 19 July. This meeting looked at the issues raised by transfers of data between countries and concluded that barriers to the transfer of data could seriously damage the development of African trade in the future. The meetings were hybrid.

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