Reports from far and near indicates that, 89 countries including Ghana and a couple of other African countries has signed the final Acts of the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs) of the World Conference of International Telecommunications which took place in Dubai, UAE from December 3 â€“ 14, 2012.
The new ITU Act allows governments to regulate the Internet – that is governments now have control over the Internet (they decide on information their citizens can access and cannot access).
Earlier in June, 2012 the United Nations has ruled that Internet access and Online freedom of Expression are basic human right that should be guaranteed and protected by every nation.
In this regards, am I wrong to ask what’s the need for Ghana and these other African countries to sign this Act when Kenya, Malawi, USA, Canada and almost all of the EU States never signed this treaty?
Ghanaâ€™s Minister of Communication â€“ Mr. Haruna Iddrisu led the delegation that represented the country at the WCIT. According to reports:
Â Â Â Â Â In signing the final Acts, the delegation of Ghana led by the Minister of Communications also deposited a Declaration reserving the right of the Government of Ghana to take any action in conformity with its constitution, the laws and international commitments it may consider necessary or useful for purposes of protecting and safeguarding its national rights and interests.
Before this news came out, many people whoâ€™ve been following the discussions at the WCIT kept asking which countries/nations signed and which didnâ€™t. The ITU came out with the official list of signatures below:
In all, 36 African countries including Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, DR Congo, Cote dâ€™Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Lesotho, Libya, Liberia, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra-Leone, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.
Only 3 African countries (Gambia, Kenya and Malawi) that attended the WCIT out of 39 never signed the new Act. Do you have any ideas why theyÂ (Gambia, Kenya and Malawi) stood out and never signed this treaty?
Kenya as an innovation and technology focused nation with an internet penetration rate of 28% is aiming to achieve 100% internet penetration by 2017. Ghana’s internet penetration is below 12%, yet we are following the masses and signing every treaty that is put before us.
How does the future looks for a young mobile apps developer working from Accra, Lagos or Nairobi?
Why wasn’t the private sector (Facebook, Google) which drives all this involved in this new Treaty?
Articles for Further Reading:
- Internet freedom on the Operating Table – US in favor of Africa’s Innovation Culture (theafricareport.com)
- WCIT collapses: US, UK, allies refuse to sign treaty after Africa wins floor vote (commsday.com)
- Q&A With ITU Ambassador Terry Kramer: It’s All About Internet Freedom (readwrite.com)