Written by: Bram Fudzulani/ISOC Membership # 59665
Internet, and the technologies that enable it, allow people of every nationality, race, faith, and point of view to communicate, cooperate, and prosper like never before. Today, an Africa company can do business anywhere in the world with an internet connection, supporting countless jobs and opportunities for the African people. A mother in rural Africa can sell agro products to a family in America through an internet connection, advancing broader economic development. Every day, internet plays an increasingly important role in enhancing the lives of people around the world.
All of this has been possible because of the multistakeholder approach to the way in which the Internet is governed. An approach that includes contributions to the governance process from civil society, private sector, governments and others.As the Internet continues to grow and evolve, governments like other players in this multistakeholder approach have an important role to play in helping facilitate access to the Internet for their people. And if governments play their critical role in the internet governance it can spearhead the sustainable development within communities, citizens can be empowered to hold their governments responsible through the use of the internet.
Government can for example lobby for better prices on internet to allow more people connected to the internet and it can also play its role in making sure that internet is not taxed especially in poor countries where internet gets to be taxed. It’s only when governments compliment such activities that allow its citizens access to the internet by allowing a conducive business atmosphere within countries. We cannot talk about internet empowering sustainable development when citizens are being denied these very same basic services due to bad laws and bad policies influenced by governments and these can only be addressed at government level. Therefore it’s no longer a question of whether internet can bring about economic change