African experts and policymakers on Wednesday called on African countries and pan African institutions to redefine Africa’s narrative in the digital age in line with the continent’s major development aspirations.
They made the call during an ongoing African Union (AU) Specialized Committee meeting on Communication and Information Technology (ICT) that runs until Thursday, as they called on all AU member countries and the AU to establish a continental cybersecurity guard, as well as building consensus on integrated connectivity roadmap and elaborate efficient communication strategies to bring the African Union closer to the African people.
Moctar Yedaly, Head of Information Society at the AU’s Department of Information and Energy, who emphasized the vital need “to redefine the narrative of our mother continent in this digital age where information and different kind of content can be produced and distributed to a worldwide audience in real-time.”
Yedaly also emphasized that “African experts on Communication and ICT should put hands on deck to work together and take advantage of the existing traditional and digital communication tools and channels to engage with our people in Africa, in the Diaspora and throughout the world.”
According to Moctar, the AU “needs its audiences to understand and appreciate the developments happening on the continent as well as the good and inspiring progress taking place in many countries” under the AU’s 50-year continental development Agenda 2063.
“We live in the era of digital and networked economies qualified as the 4th industrial era. Therefore, the formal frameworks used to design and structure firms and organizations, lead, govern are being totally transformed,” he said.
“It is unfortunate that some of our leaders and a big number of our people still feel that this technological and network disruption is a distant concern for our endeavors or irrelevant for our industry,” he said, adding “it is our duty as experts to create our smart or digital leaders.”
Noting that the driving force behind this accelerating change is the digital and collaborative economy, which marks a major shift from firm-based to network-based business models, Moctar also stressed that today’s leading organizations in the world are network-centric and are creating remarkable economic returns by capitalizing on network advantages.
Amr Farouk Safiwat, Manager of African Organizations under the Egyptian Ministry of ICT, also highlighted some of the existing major challenges facing the sector of communication and ICT.
“To face these huge challenges it is important to create a conducive environment and reinforce the capacity of member states to overcome these problems,” Safiwat said.
He also noted that “many African nations are still lagging behind when it comes to the use of internet due to poor infrastructure among others.”
Abiot Sinamo, ICT Director General at the Ethiopian Ministry of Innovation and Technology, also emphasized the need to promote the implementation of previously adopted continental decisions and declarations.
According to Sinamo, among the previously adopted continental decisions and declarations include the establishment of Pan African Radio and Television Channels, AU Communication and advocacy Strategy 2014-2017, African media development initiatives (Pan African Media Observatory, Pan African Media Network and Pan African Media Portal), implementation of Dot Africa, African Internet Exchange Point (AXIS), as well as the harmonization of policies and regulation. Enditem