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Uganda's Internet Governance Forum meet 2009 PDF Print E-mail

This year, Uganda carried out online discussions on the I-Network mailing list on the internet governance issues that affect the country. These discussions were compiled into a report and this report was discussed in a face to face forum on 13th August 2009. The key issues discussed that Uganda must look into were the following:

1.Does Uganda need to continue the debate on Internet Governance?
Yes. It was agreed especially in the online discussions that there is a definite need for Uganda to continue participating in internet governance as there is no one else to represent the concerns and contributions for Ugandans.

2.Promoting access and affordability
The ministry of ICT clarified issues relating to the promotion of access and the development of the national backbone. The ministry is committed to providing access to Ugandans and the issues arising from work done in the first phase of the development of the national backbone. The ministry together with the Chinese contractors and the ministry of works have worked out repairs and responsibilities arising from the work already done that need to be looked into and redone e.g. the cutting of the fibre cables between Kampala and Bombo.

As part of promoting access and affordability, the government shall connect all schools (primary and secondary), health centres, agricultural extension workers and all major towns.

The national backbone infrastructure shall be up and running by December 2009.

The government though still has to prioritise the development of local content, countries like Kenya have already agreed with the World Bank to get four million dollars for the production of local content. Uganda passed up on this opportunity and this is something we shall need to address as more bandwidth is made available and more Ugandans go online. Uganda has no immediate plans to buy into fibre optic internet connectivity therefore this shall be left to the private sector.

3.Critical Internet Resources (CIRs)
a) Management of .UG
James Wire Lunghabo made a case for why the management of Uganda’s country code top level domain should not be left in the hands of a private enterprise. The main argument was this is a national resource (real estate) that needs multi sector and multi stakeholder involvement in the management of issues surrounding the domain name e.g. marketing the domain name, price setting, technical issues etc. It is therefore foolhardy of Ugandans to leave all this to a private enterprise which can fold or change its business at anytime.

A committee of individuals and organisations was proposed to sit and make a way forward for Uganda on how to manage our resource. Mr. Lunghabo, Mr. Musisi of CFI, Douglas Onyango, Badru Ntege and WOUGNET are some of the members of this committee. I-Network shall make available a platform that shall facilitate this committee to carry out its work.

Dr. Turahi from the ministry of ICT told the forum that the ministry shall take the lead on how to manage the Uganda domain from the stakeholders therefore proposals from the committee shall be forwarded to the ministry of input, facilitation and a way forward.

b) Uganda Internet Exchange Point
This is only being used to route local traffic. ICT stakeholders need to advocate for more linkages at the regional East African level as well.

c) IPv6 readiness in Uganda
At the end of the forum, this emerged as one of the most important and urgent issues that Uganda needs to move on. AfriNIC has already carried out training of some government officials on the importance of putting in place a strategy of IPv6 but a lot more political will is needed to ensure that Uganda does not get left behind and out of IPs in the future.

The ministry of ICT promised to elevate the importance of this issue and work out a budget with the ministry of finance, planning and development to get IPs allocated for Uganda under IPv4 and also to get a strategy in place and implemented on how Uganda gets onto IPv6.

4.Cyber-Security and trust
Uganda has 3 proposed cyber bills that are under discussion at parliament, there is a need to get these passed as quickly as possible to protect children from bad content online and give consumers areas for redress when they have been abused by entities e.g. unsolicited text messages.

Uganda may need to develop a national cyber security strategy and set up a national security incidence response team (CSIRT)

5. Internet Governance and gender
Gender mainstreaming into policies like RCDF are slowly being taken up but a lot still has to be done to ensure that both women and men roles and responsibilities in society are looked into when talking about internet governance in Uganda.

Report on online discussions 2009 on Internet Governance issues in Uganda


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