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Published:September 27th, 2011 15:41 EST
UN: 6th Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum "Internet as a Catalyst for Change"

UN: 6th Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum "Internet as a Catalyst for Change"

By Sophie Akinyi

Today marked the official opening of the first Sub-Saharan Africa`s Internet Governance Forum (IGF) with the theme: "Internet as a catalyst for change".

The event which was hosted by Kenya`s Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka will continue for four more days at the UN headquarters in Gigigiri-Kenya.

The meeting has seen close to 2,000 delegates registering with child online and cyberspace protection taking the center stage. This six day meeting focus on how the Internet can foster sustainable development, freedom and innovation while at the same time empowering citizens. The meeting also hopes to tackle issues of cloud computing for development, Internet governance in Africa, digital technologies for civic engagement and social change.

According to Kenya`s Minister of Information and Communication Dr. Samuel Poghisio, this forum has come at a point where Kenya is focused on becoming a knowledgeable economy in line with vision for 2030. So far, the country has 11 Million Internet users up from 3 Million only three years after the landing of the undersea fiber optic cable. Mobile phones continue to boost Internet penetration thus enhancing business efficiency while laying grounds for employment. The country is also waiting for the arrival of the France cable that may land this year or early next year.

Those in attendance were also given a brief history on formation of IGF by the Secretary General of International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Dr Hamadoun Touré. He mentioned that it was formed as an outcome of the world summit on information society in Tunis-2005. This was to pave the way for discussion on a number of issues; in order to foster the sustainability, accessibility, security, stability and development of the Internet.

On his part, Dr. Touré said ITU has a Global Security Agenda (GSA) which was formed in 2007. Presently, it is on its operational phase with several global initiatives already implemented. ITU also has a standardization sector which provides an international platform for development of protocol systems and services that protect the current and Next Generation Networks (NGN`s). It has also partnered with IMPACT (first comprehensive body against cyber threats) which provides 192 member states with access to expertise, facilities and resources to effectively address cyber threats as well as assist the UN`s ICT infrastructure.