Africa, a continent historically characterized by economic dependency on the extraction of resources and global commodity prices is looking to develop new strategies to enable the next phase of growth. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, characterized by amazing breakthroughs in technological innovations, set to fundamentally alter the way in which humans live, work and communicate with each other, has been earmarked as the revolution which will see Africa take its rightful place in the position of global leader. This was deemed the overriding sentiment through out the dialogue facilitated during the 17th Annual Africa Internet Summit. The Cortex Hub is honored to have had the lovely opportunity of attending such an esteemed event and we are proud to say we took some of the themes and lessons learnt there, to alter our strategies a bit, in order to align them with the global leadership goal.
The Internet is constantly advancing and thus the number of issues it comes with are constantly on the rise. It is due to this that issues of digital governance have been divided into three layers, namely, the Infrastructure Layer, the Logical layer and the Economic & Societal Issues Layer. This was the structure of the various issues under discussion during the Africa Internet Summit and due to the diverse set of academic backgrounds members of the Cortex Hub have, everyone was able to join sessions they considered to be the most interesting.
The sessions that seemed to stand out the most to our members were the ICANN Day sessions and the cyber security practical lesson. The Cybersecurity practical lesson consisted of attendees of the sessions being grouped into countries where the country’s PowerStation had fallen victim to a cyber attack. The different countries were required to find the source of the attack using various web tools and consulting other countries for help. The session proved very interesting and highly emphasized principle of African countries needing to learn to work together in combatting cyber warfare…(no team could win the game without assistance from another team).
The other session our group seemed to enjoy the most were all the sessions that fell under the ICANN day umbrella. Here, a vast amount of issues were under discussion such as the functions of ICANN, Internet governance, cyber sovereignty in the globalization environment every nation finds itself in today, digital democracy, just to name a few. The sessions emphasized the need for us as the Cortex Hub, and the rest of the African youth to take our place in the dialogue occurring now, that will shape the digital governance policies, which will affect us all, and the generations to come. There are a number of policy shaping opportunities Africa missed in the past due to the detrimental effects of colonization and Apartheid. We are free now and the Internet policies being created will affect us for years to come, it is absolutely vital we ensure the views of the African continent play a big role in shaping them.
It was all in all an informative and educational weekend and as mentioned, we will re-strategize to incorporate some of the lessons learnt. We are very excited about the year to come.