Lusaka Internet Forum 2017

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Despite advances over the last decade, more than four billion people around the world still do not have equal access to the internet. Affordability, accessibility, availability, ability and awareness are some of the main barriers that keep individuals, often from poor and marginalized communities, offline. The digital divides are increasing inequities between and within countries, leading to even greater development divides.

To address some of these issues the first ever Lusaka Internet Forum (LIF) was held between the 10th and 11th of May 2017 at Radisson Blu Hotel in Lusaka, Zambia. The event was co-organized by the Embassy of Sweden and the Zambian Governance Foundation. The forum highlighted if and how ICTs in general and the Internet in particular can be used as a tool for sustainable development in the Zambian context. The conference had three specific themes: Freedom of Expression, Sustainable Agriculture and Gender & Access.

The two days attracted some 150 participants from all over Zambia and were filled with panel discussions, inspirational speeches and co-creative work labs. The planning process in itself was built on co-creative methodologies with actors from the private sector, civil society and public sector being part of planning the event and its content. Media personality Patience Chisanga (@Kalusanzhi) did a fantastic job as the master of ceremonies as did the work lab facilitators Bongo Hive, Asikana Network, the Swedish Programme for ICT in Developing Regions (SPIDER) and the Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA). The panelists, moderators and inspirational speakers all contributed to making the event successful, diverse and enriching. We are looking forward to see how we, together, can take the discussions LIF generated even further.

Read some of the reflections from the event:

Tech Trends: http://www.techtrends.co.zm/summary-first-ever-lusaka-internet-forum/

CIPESA: https://cipesa.org/2017/05/zambias-mixed-record-on-ict-access-and-free-expression-online/

LIF was a satellite event in the lead up to the Stockholm Internet Forum (SIF). SIF is an international forum for in-depth dialogue and discussions on how a free, open and secure internet promotes human rights and development worldwide. SIF took place between 15th and 18th of May 2017. Zambia was represented by four participants who brought the Zambian perspectives to the event.