The South Sudan Internet Governance Forum was held at Palm Africa Hotel in Juba, South Sudan, on 23rd September 2022. The event brought together participants from industry, government, academia, civil society, technical community and media to discuss various topics related to the Internet in South Sudan and beyond.
The SS-IGF secretariat, together with National Communications Authority (NCA), Koneta, and ICT4D Network, were the conveners of the IGF. The theme of the event was “Towards a holistic approach to Internet Governance in South Sudan: Consumer Rights, Competition, and Universal Access.” The event aimed to maximise opportunities for open and inclusive dialogue and exchanging ideas on Internet governance-related issues.
The event featured different panel discussions that brought together stakeholders from different fields on topics such as:
Telecommunication Costs(Tariffs Adjustments): This panel explored the challenges and opportunities of providing affordable and reliable internet access in South Sudan, especially in rural areas and the tariff adjustments. The panellists discussed the role of regulation, competition, infrastructure, and innovation in lowering the cost of Internet services and enhancing the quality of service. Some of the panellists for this plenary session included the National Communication Authority director general and representatives of telecommunication companies operating in Juba, such as MTN, Zain and Digitel.
Emerging Technologies (FinTech and E-services): This panel comprised representatives from M-Gurush, EcoBank South Sudan, MoMo, and Kush Bank; they examined the potential of emerging technologies such as mobile money, e-commerce, e-health, e-education, and e-government to transform the socio-economic landscape of South Sudan. The panellists shared their experiences, best practices in developing and deploying these technologies, and the regulatory and policy frameworks that enable or hinder their adoption.
Data Governance (cyber security and privacy regulations, data localisation): This panel focused on the issues of data protection, privacy, and security in the digital age. The panellists discussed the existing and proposed laws and regulations that govern the collection, storage, processing, and sharing of personal and non-personal data in South Sudan. They also discussed the current cybersecurity cautiousness of the general public in South Sudan as well as the most common attacks on individual bases. This panel consisted of representatives from SafetyComm South Sudan, NCA, and the Ministry of ICT Postal Services.
Digital rights (Online hate speech, misinformation and disinformation): This panel consisting of representatives from DefyHateNow/211Check, Media Authority and AMDISS addressed the challenges of ensuring respect for human rights online, especially freedom of expression and access to information. The panellists analysed the trends and impacts of online hate speech, misinformation, and disinformation on social cohesion, democracy, and peace in South Sudan. They also explored the possible solutions and strategies to combat these phenomena while preserving online civic space.
Local content and digital transformation: This panel discussion focused on local content, digital transformation and the current trends in the consumption of online local content in South Sudan, two key topics for South Sudanese content creators. The panel brought together some of the country’s most influential and creative content creators, such as Silva X, Nyawich Kuong, Kafuki Jada, Nelson Kwaje and Bol Pasquale, who shared their experience and insights on creating and distributing online content that resonates with the South Sudanese audience. They also discussed the challenges and opportunities the internet has had on content creation and the challenge the recent increase in internet tariffs poses for their work and the digital media landscape.
The 2022 SSIGF was a successful event that featured engaging discussions between industry players and the general public. It fostered constructive dialogue and exchange among diverse stakeholders on the most pressing issues related to the Internet in South Sudan. The IGF also provided networking, collaboration, and learning opportunities among the participants.