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DRIF 2019: NGO says conference to focus on digital inclusion

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Lagos, April 23, 2019 A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Paradigm Initiative (PI), says the seventh edition of its three-day conference, Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF), will focus on digital rights as the basis of digital inclusion.

The NGO’s Director of Programmes, Mrs Tope Ogundipe, who made this disclosure on Tuesday, said the conference would begin on April 23 and end on April 24.

Ogundipe said digital inclusion conversation was necessary in a continent where Internet penetration was lowest and the opportunities, which Information and Communication Technology (ICT) provided remained elusive to many.

“DRIF, which was formerly known as the Internet Freedom Forum, has become well known for its track record of tangible actionable outcomes.

“It has gained a reputation as an important platform, where conversations on digital policy in Africa are shaped, and policy directions forged.

“The broad categories of participants expected are state actors, civil society organisations, academia, human rights activists, technology entrepreneurs, gender activists, as well as policy enthusiasts and actors within the global Internet governance space.

“DRIF features engaging conversations, which draw on globally relevant issues, as well as Africa-specific challenges and opportunities.

“Panelists and participants are drawn based on a multi-stakeholder model, allowing stakeholders, who have hitherto operated in silos to talk to one another about common challenges,’’ she said.

The PI director said that 32 African countries and six countries from other continents were expected at the conference, with delegates from civil society, academia, media, technical community, and the government”.

According to her, security agencies, judiciary, legislature, and the private sector are expected on the occasion.

“This year’s edition will also feature more side sessions, allow for bilingual communication and participation, and encourage post-event collaborations to further strengthen the discourse on Internet Freedom in Africa”.

Ogundipe said that the forum was expected to refocus attention on issues confronting the digital space on a continent where human rights online were routinely violated.

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