- Bram Fudzulani
NRI founding stories and development
What is the story of the founding of your NRI? What were its inspiration, its objectives?
The Malawi IGF was inspired by the trend of countries in the Africa region that had established national IGF s and received the NEPAD E-Africa programme funding that allowed us to launch our IGF in 2014 with the following objectives.
The overall objective of the Malawi Internet Governance Forum (Mw-IGF) is to establish a multistakeholder process that will shape the development of Malawi’s internet economy.
Specific objectives are:
To increase awareness and build capacity on internet governance issues amongst stakeholders in Malawi
To facilitate the participation of a broad range of Malawian stakeholders in regional and global internet governance and ensure that national concerns are taken into account
To shape and inform national policy on development of the internet and ICTs
To contribute to strengthening the multistakeholder dialogue model for internet governance in the SADC region and Africa
To provide a consultative and participatory platform for multistakeholder discussions and dialogue on internet governance issues.
How did it develop and what difficulties did you experience along the way?
Since its establishment in 2014 the Malawi IGF has faced a number of challenges which made it difficult to hold annual meetings. We are still in the learning process since our inception and still experiencing challenges ranging from adequate funding to stakeholder involvement.
How do you imagine your NRI and its activities in the future?
The future plans are that we need more outreach and engagement with the stakeholders so that they can appreciate the importance of the local IGF.
NRI internal governance and initiatives
Who are the people involved in your NRI and how do they contribute to it?
We have people representing all sectors, and they have been very helpful in session and discussion proposals, as well as playing key roles in ensuring that the various organisations they represent support the local IGF.
Have you experienced difficulties in ensuring all stakeholder groups participate fully and more or less equally?
We did not experience any challenge with this because when we reached out to all they accepted our invitation.
Do you measure gender balance in your NRI? Did you undertake measures to encourage gender balance?
Striking a gender balance has always remained a challenge and we do have measures to encourage gender balance and we work with the Ministry of Gender, Women and Children to ensure the issue of gender imbalance over time becomes addressed.
How was your last forum organised, what were the topics chosen and the outcomes of discussion? How was it financed?
Our 2017 forum was organised through the multistakeholder approach whereby all representatives of all sectors were involved in meetings to prepare for the forum and they proposed various topics which were later incorporated into the final programme. The number one challenge we faced was the issue of finance and locally we only managed to find one organisation which financed the activity. The rest of the finances came from IGF-SA and AFRINIC.
The agenda was as follows:
Session 1: Opening ceremony
Group photo and coffee break
Session 2: Introductions and adoption of agenda
Session 3: Internet Infrastructure Development
Session 4. IXP- Local Content-Promoting Local Innovation (Panel Session)
Session 5: Cyber Security – Malawi E-Legislation and How It Relates to the Internet End Users
Session 6: Internet Applications (panel discussion)
Session 7: Malawi Internet Governance
Session 6: Closing ceremony
Are there controversial topics that have been difficult in your NRI and if so, why?
So far the only controversial ones have been the high costs of internet besides government through World Bank bringing in international fibre backbone which promised to lower access cost to the internet by 70%.
Perspectives on the role of NRIs in internet governance
What is your take about the role of your NRI in internet governance processes, at the level of your country, region and globally?
At country level we are playing a very good role and I think strong NRIs make for strong regional processes. Globally too, in our region we need more to be done to strengthen and promote the initiatives.
How do you perceive your role and position towards other NRIs, the IGF and the IGF Secretariat?
Since we are just new, our position would be that of learning from other well
established NRIs and to follow good practices until we are mature enough.