The Seventh Annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), to be held on 6-9 November 2012, is intended to maximize opportunities for open and inclusive dialogue and the exchange of ideas, engage in dialogue and to learn, says Gaongalelwe Mosweu, the Botswana Information Technology Society (BITS) Deputy President.
Mosweu, who is also the Institute of Development Management (IDM) Marketing Manager, said, among other things, the IGF aims to identify key themes that could, in the future, benefit from its (IGF) multi-stakeholder perspective. IGF serves as BITS’ benchmarking e-platform functions, just like the traditional consultative forum of the Kgotla in Botswana, only this time, however, on a global scale.
“The key themes to be discussed at this year’s IGF are IG for Development (IG4D), Emerging Issues (EIs), Managing Critical Internet Resources (MCIRs), Security, Openness and Privacy (SOP) as well as Access and Diversity (A&D),” said Mosweu when addressing an Internet Governance BITS-funded seminar in Gaborone last week.
She said that issues relating to IG in Botswana currently form lively and interactive discussions, which have brought light to issues like the liberalisation of the Botswana Telecommunications market, equivalent technologies, Internet Connectivity benefitting Batswana living in rural areas, entertainment, eGovernment, pornography and infrastructure challenges. BITS had to hit the ground running given the recent commissioning of the submarine West African Cable System (WACS) linking Botswana and Namibia to the UK, coupled with the former’s International Connectivity to the East African Cable System (EASSy) enhanced the country’s fusion to the information highway – another major step of becoming a knowledge-based society.
Mosweu said IG issues could be put into five classes, which made it easier to follow and analyse, and compare them to the context of their own daily lives.
“For instance, we perceive IG to the proverbial narrative of the six blind men touching the elephant, each one stating what they think it is, based on where they are touching. Likewise, politicians may view the Internet or ICT as a tool that will enable them to reach out to their constituencies, develop them or maybe also campaign for re-election. On a broader perspective, academics see it as a tool for teaching/learning and IT technicians see solutions for everyday problems while young people view it as a lifestyle tool showcasing what is happening, when and where,” she stated.
Mosweu said according to the World Summit on the Information Society, IG includes more than Internet names and addresses, issues dealt with by the recently held Internet Conference on Answers and Numbers. It also includes other significant public policy issues, such as critical Internet resources, security and safety and developmental aspects.
Mosweu, a DiploFoundation (DF) graduate and pioneer in IG said in 2010, BITS teamed up with Malta-based DF, funded by the African Caribbean Pacific and the European Union, to offer IG training, mainly online, with a few workshops held in Gaborone.
BITS, a de facto professional organisation for ICT practitioners, operates on a non-profit and voluntary basis, representing the various information and communications technology stakeholders in the government, industry and academic sectors of Botswana. BITS also helps individuals and organisations to take maximum advantage of current world-wide ICT developments and advancements. Recent developments show BITS as the voice of the ICT industry.
At the just ended 2012 ICT Pitso held in Gaborone on September 10 & 12, BITS made a presentation on ICT Consumer Protection.
This November, a first in the country’s ICT history, BITS will hold a weekend long annual convention within a community setting. In its efforts to contribute to that community’s ICT developments, BITS will hold technical and soft-skills trainings, and interactive discussions among others, making a positive difference to the hosting community. Mosweu said potential members who are on Facebook can access BITS on the website: www.bits.org.bw