August 17, 2018                                 By Cheruiyot Korir

African countries have emphasized on the need to scale up broadband connectivity to all citizens to increase the pace of development in the continent.

Speaking at a round table meeting for African Information, Communication and Technology Ministers and delegates during the 5th ordinary session of the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) Conference of Plenipotentiaries at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, the Ministers said the right to information was an unalienable right that needed to be guarded .

The Ministers observed that there was need to provide universal internet connectivity to all sections of the society in the continent that was accessible and affordable to promote an information society that will participate in the digital economy effectively.

They underscored the need for governments to create confidence among the citizens on the use of digital platforms observing that citizens must have trust in the digital transactions to encourage the adoption of on-line transactions. To actualize the move, the Ministers agreed on the need to put in place policies and regulatory frameworks that promote access to information and safeguard personal data.

During the meeting, it was noted that there was need to sensitize the public on safe use of internet and resultant risks. It was observed that cyber security was a threats to individuals and businesses in the continent, an issue that could be resolved by enacting laws that effectively respond to the cyber risks and attacks.

The Ministers noted that, although the information super highway catalyzed economic growth and development, there was need to protect people of the continent particularly the young people against harmful content in the internet.

It was agreed that efforts should be made to encourage ICT entrepreneurship and innovations in the continent to promote production of ICT products and services to shift the paradigm from consumer of imported goods to an exporter of ICT products, goods and services.

Delegates who attended the five day conference were drawn from over 30 African countries. Among ICT Ministers from Africa who attended the Conference were Joe Mucheru of Kenya, Frank Tumwebaze of Uganda,  Ms Stella Tembisa of South Africa, Abdur Raheem Adebayo Shittu of Nigeria among others.