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Web Foundation Representative Speaks At Opening of IGF Bali

Web Foundation · October 24, 2013

We’re delighted to announce that Nnenna Nwakanma, the Web Foundation’s incoming Africa Regional Coordinator, was asked to speak on behalf of civil society at the opening ceremonies at the Internet Governance Forum a little earlier this week.

A video is embedded below, and the full text of Nnenna’s speech is below that. Nnenna’s remarks can be found at 1:31:40. We apologise for the poor quality of the video.

Full text of speech (as published on

Ladies and gentlemen,
Good evening


My name is Nnenna Nwakanma. I am of Nigerian origin, living in Côte d’Ivoire. I love football and the Internet has made me a global citizen. I am part of the group steering the Best Bits platform of Civil Society Organisations in the IGF. I work for the World Wide Web Foundation as Africa Regional Coordinator.


The World Wide Web Foundation was established by Web inventor, Sir Tim Berners-Lee to strengthen and defend the open Web as a global public good and a basic right.


We work with others to make the web truly universal, open and free, through initiatives like the Alliance for Affordable Internet to bring down the cost of access, and the Web Index tracking the health and utility of the Web in over 80 countries.


We also put the open web to work to strengthen democracy and participation, especially by harnessing the power of open data.


And that is the reason we are here. To engage as Civil Society, to remind us of the key principles we agreed and signed up to.


The first is Human rights. We seem to be moving farther from it as we move further on the Internet Governance process. Human rights need to make a come back, and be kept at center stage.


The second is multistakeholder participation in an open, accountable and transparent manner at all levels. It is not clear how we have been collectively doing and it might be the right time to start measuring the adoption, the impact and the promises made in this domain.


The third is our development agenda. We must never lose focus that our collective effort in the Internet governance process is aimed at making the Internet a tool for poverty reduction, for health delivery for education at all levels, for the economic well-being of our world.


We must continue to extend the « Internet of opportunities »


Opportunities for indigenous people ;
Opportunities for illiterate and nomadic persons
Opportunities for rural dwellers
Opportunities for landlocked countries
Opportunities for Island states
And opportunities for countries made up of islands, like Indonesia.


Ladies and gentlemen

  • A basic broadband plan costs the average African almost ⅔ of their monthly income.
  • In the world’s 49 poorest countries, only 1 in 10 people has access to the Internet.
  • 25 Netizens and citizen journalists were killed and 157 netizens were imprisoned last year.
  • Since May 2012 alone 24 countries have passed new laws or regulations that could restrict free speech online, violate users’ privacy, or punish individuals who post certain types of content


This, therefore, is an urgent call to action.
  • A call to action for greater and enhanced cooperation of all stakeholders
  • A call to action for an affordable Internet for everyone, everywhere
    A call for action in favour of accessibility, to make the Internet real for persons with disabilities
    A call for action for a more efficient Internet Governance process at national levels, because that is where « home » is
    A call for action in mainstreaming gender equity, youth engagement and remote participation at all levels of Internet Governance process.
    To continue to enhance the capacity of the Internet as a tool for safeguarding social justice, equity, diversity, and multilingualism.


Ladies and gentlemen


The growing threat of unwarranted government surveillance across the globe deserves our attention. The current trend to justify rash and poorly considered expansion of state surveillance in the name of protecting us must be rejected. Humanity needs the Internet to be and remain, neutral, open, universal and free.


In closing my address, as we meet this year under the theme of Building bridges, enhancing multistakeholder cooperation for growth and sustainable development


It is important to salute the individuals who build bridges daily in the IGF journey :


  • People like Sir Tim Berners-lee, the inventors
  • People in the policy circles grappling with the new reality called the Internet
  • Nations like Brazil, that are actively seeking for innovative ways to make the process more participative and inclusive
  • People in the technical community, who make sure the Internet works
  • Organisers, volunteers and conveners of local, national, sub-regional, regional and Global IG discussions, instances and forums
  • Organisations that are committed to the affordability of the Internet, like the council and members of the Alliance for Affordable Internet.
  • Organisations, like NRO and platforms that fund the IGF, especially Civil Society participation
  • To the people and governments who have hosted us, at all levels for these past years..
  • To the awesome people of Bali, the people and government of Indonesia
  • To you, for listening,


Thank you.
Terima kasih


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