Access and Power

For the third consecutive year, the Swedish Embassy in partnership with OXFAM IBIS and MISA Moçambique, under the AGIR program, held on October 5, the Maputo Internet Forum themed "Access and Power".

More than 100 representatives from the government, donors, international organizations, civil society, private sector and media participated in the forum, which had as its main purpose to stimulate the use of the Internet in different social actors in order to influence the political, social and economic agendas of the country. The opening remarks were made by representatives of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Higher Education and Professional Technicians (MCTESTP), the Swedish Embassy, OXFAM IBIS and MISA Mozambique. There were also several interventions by prominent figures in Mozambican society.

During the forum, the creation of the Regulatory Institute of all providers of information and communication technology services, INTIC, was announced as well as the new law 03/2017 of electronic transactions that came into effect in April this year. The new electronic transactions law is a legal instrument that regulates e-government and e-commerce transactions and seeks to ensure safety in the use of TICS, certification of authenticity or origin, allows for electronic signatures and punishment for cybercrimes not covered in the criminal code.

MISA Moçambique presented a study entitled "Open and closed institutions" in which the degree of implementation of the Right to Information and Transparency Law by some public-private institutions in Mozambique was assessed. The study found that it is increasingly relevant to train public managers and law firms on the access to information law and to ensure that information published for public consumption is valid, complete, relevant and actual.

During the discussions, it was stressed that despite the various efforts made to comply with the universal access to information law, there are still challenges in ensuring law enforcement and the accessibility of ICTs for all, in particular for the most vulnerable population, in order to enable them to take part in the public debate.

"There is no full citizenship with the use of the Internet if this tool is not accessible to more than half the population in Mozambique, in which the majority is women." - said Eduardo Namburete, President of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Communication.

In Mozambique, there is still very little penetration in terms of access to information and communication technologies. There are about 12 million mobile phone users in the country. Of these, only 1 million have access to this information and communication technology. It is believed that this factor is due to the high costs of access to the internet, literacy levels, languages, and other factors.

Lucy Andrade, Manager of the Access to Information Program at the Swedish Embassy, ​​said: "Women do not just want to lead, they want to share power with men." One of the issues that Lucy points out is that women should be more involved in the electoral process.