Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Freedom Online Kenya Conference 2012

The Government of Kenya is pleased to host the second Freedom Online Conference that will take place from 6th – 7th September 2012 at the UN Complex, Nairobi.  
This conference is important to Kenya and the coalition members as it provides an excellent platform to further the agenda of the coalition, and gives Kenya the opportunity to offer leadership in Africa on related policy debates. This is with a view to getting more African populace to leverage the economic and social benefit of the Internet without inhibitions. This is especially important in Africa, as only Kenya and Ghana are members of Freedom Online to date.
While the two countries Kenya and Ghana have emerged more active policy makers on ICT and Internet governance, and have developed relevant legal frameworks and policies including standards of freedom of expression online, many African nations are still either starting to develop interest i n this area, or are yet to get involved.
Kenya has had many firsts in the area of ICT and governance that present useful benchmarks for other nations in Africa and elsewhere. With 4 undersea cables holding more than 2.8 terabytes of bandwidth available to Kenyans and much more in waiting, a national Fiber Optic connection to all its neighboring countries and over 5,261,919 Mbps international connectivity (Ref Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) 2-11) there is so much knowledge and opportunity to be shared at the Kenya Freedom Online conference.
According to recent figures from the CCK, Kenya’s Internet adoption is top in Africa with over 17 Million Kenyans (36 percent of the population) accessing the Internet.  Approx 6 Million Kenyans access the Internet through mobile devices. Some of the social benefits include mobile money transfer that has transformed lives of Kenyans immensely. Kenya is working on policies and programs that aim to ensure more Kenyans have access to the Internet. The Kenya Freedom Online conference is therefore an excellent opportunity for the coalition’s agenda to be fronted in Africa, offer membership growth, and create awareness of its themes.
Who is attending?
Governments - Ministers/high-ranking representatives from Coalition member countries, African countries and other potential member countries with a good track record on respecting Internet freedom and supporting statements and resolutions.
Civil Society - Non-governmental organizations active in African countries and elsewhere on promoting freedom of speech and expression on the Internet, technical organizations and tool developers,  individual bloggers, and other members of civil society.
Companies - Representatives of search engines, Telecom companies, and other companies with a pronounced interest in Internet governance, legislation, and a free, open, and innovative Internet.
International organizations - Representatives from African Union, COMESA, East African Community, European Union, Organization of American States, ASEAN, etc.
Professional bodies - Including vendors, consumer/user associations
The conference is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Communications Commission of Kenya, Google Kenya, Kenya ICT Board, e-government Kenya, TESPOK, and Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE).
For more details visit: www.freedomonlinekenya.org

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