ADDIS ABABA – The first Ethiopia National Internet Governance Forum was held in Addis Ababa in hybrid format under the theme “Internet for an Inclusive Development”.
The forum on Thursday is a part of Ethiopia’s preparation to host the 17th Internet Governance Forum (IGF), an international global annual event that discusses public policy issues pertaining to the internet.
The National Forum brought together government officials and representatives from the private sector, academia, and civil society.
The participants discussed topics related to internet governance – which often refers to the rules, policies, standards, and practices that coordinate and shape cyberspace.
The topics include the economic and social benefits, and rights to access the internet as well as the need for a governance system to address digital abuses.
In her speech at the forum, State Minister of Innovation and Technology Huria Ali said the Internet has become a powerful engine for technological innovation and economic growth as well as facilitating creativity and exchange of ideas.
Likewise, Huria noted, it has also brought adverse effects like cyber-attacks, and misinformation, requiring mechanisms to reverse threats and make it a resilient and trustworthy space.
Apart from the ongoing efforts to improve equity, efficiency, and competitiveness, Huria said the government of Ethiopia issued laws with the objective of protecting internet users.
Her ministry is also currently developing a national internet governance policy.
There are 25.6 million internet users in Ethiopia, showing a 43.3% increase from 17.8 million four years ago.
"While we are committed to maintain the right to access the internet, we need to develop a workable order through a proper governance system," said country's Telecom Sector governor, Ethiopian Communication Authority (ECA).
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