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Second EAIGF (Nairobi, September 7th -9th 2009)

For the second EAIGF, I arrived late and a bit tired (on my way back from the GAID Global forum in Monterrey, Mexico)!
I could catch the session of 8th September in the afternoon and the one of the 9th September in the morning.

The session of 8th September afternoon was about critical Internet resources in the region. Adiel Akplogan ( from ICANN) presented about the allocation of IP addresses. One fact is that is that this allocation is a bottom-up, continuous and open process, where anyone can participate in the allocation policy: online suggestions are accepted for anyone who wants in addition of the bi annual meetings.
In order to create awareness, training sessions are held in different countries regularly.
After Adiel Akplogan, Mrs Fiona ASONGA from TESPOK (Telecommunications Service Providers Association of Kenya) presented the Kenya Internet Exchange Point.
This Kenya Internet Exchange Point was projected since 2002 but it faced many problems with the Regulator Authority and even brought in court for trial.
Finally, 5 ISP are connected to this KIXP, and the newly set up fiber optic company SEACOM has even set up another IXP in Mombassa.
As advantages, the KIXP allowed to save local traffic packet from transiting in international infrastructures, thus allowing some money to be kept in Kenya.
The other advantage has been a lower time of transit for packets.
One of the challenges faced now is the increase of the use of social networks in Kenya where packet transit at international areas.
At the end, Fiona ASONGA advocated for the multiplication of local content and local online services which is very rare at this stage.
The other suggestion is that this KIXP would be connected to other IXP from the EAST AFRICAN region.
After this presentations, representative of participating countries presented the situation of their respective ccTLD national domain names.
From their presentation, I could catch that:
Only Burundi and Kenya have their ccTLDs managed by national stakeholders. In Ouganda, the ccTLD ( .ug) is well managed even if this work is done by a non national stakeholder as well as in Tanzania. But the situation is worse for RWANDA where the manager is hard to get. Rwanda has tried to nationalize the management of .rw since 2006 but the process is still on.

During the morning of September 9th , the issue of consumer’s protection was developed.
Mrs Edith ADERA ( IDRC) noticed that the consumer’s protection is a core public mandate. A legal framework must be set up but very few African nations have done it!
The regulatory Authority must be involved to protect the consumer against abuse on consumers by service providers. One of the actions is to display clearly the complaint procedures for citizens for instance.
All other speakers emphasized on capacity building for consumers on this issue.
Barrack OTIENO of CCK ( Communication Commission of Kenya and diplo fellow) presented what has been done in Kenya in this domain : a mailing list, corporate call centres, etc ….
Aimée UWASE ( Rwanda Development Gateway) presented the low trust of Rwandan in online transactions because of lack of any legal framework.
The suggestion came out to set up consumer’s organizations within the region as well as the harmonization of legal procedures.
The speakers from Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda emphasized on the need of empowering citizen against misleading advertisement so that they could choose wisely the offers.

At the end, Markus KUMMER (Executive Coordinator of the Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum) presented the IGF process. He brought at the attention of attendants the mandate IGF received by IGF from the UN Secretary General. This mandate is to be evaluated in IGF 2011.
Participants as well as Mr OKUNDI Philip (Chair of CCK) in the closing remark suggested that this mandate would be extended.
Note : Were represented at this second EAIGF : Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. South Sudan was represented as observatory.

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Comment by Grace Mutung'u on September 14, 2009 at 2:38pm
Wow! You captured Kenyan issues quite well. As a Kenyan I am proud! I think the most striking remark I heard was from Catherine Adeya of IDRC who challenged organisers to carry out or commission research on some of the issues that were raised in order to have evidence to back up the changes participants were calling for...I think it would be a good research point to find out the amount of reliance placed by consumers on adverts....

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