Article

Central African ministers and experts discuss ROAM-X indicators at orientation meeting

On 31 May 2022, UNESCO's Regional Office for Central Africa organized an online information meeting for key stakeholders in the Central African sub-region to present the UNESCO Internet Universality ROAM-X Indicators. This meeting highlighted the pertinence of assessing the digital ecosystem in Central African countries and prepared the stakeholders to conduct the ROAM-X assessment.
ROAM-X Central Africa
The ROAM-X assessment provides an understanding of the governmental and structural changes needed to create new digital opportunities for users, especially for youth and women. The development of the Internet through the ROAM-X principles is therefore crucial.
Paul Coustere Director of UNESCO's Regional Office for Central Africa
Internet Universality is a crucial issue for the DRC which seeks to combat the digital divide caused by a low connectivity rate. The stakes of the ROAM-X indicators assessment are therefore aligned with the needs of our country.
Désiré-Cashmir Kolongele Eberande Minister of Digital Affairs of the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Ministry of Digital Affairs of the Democratic Republic of Congo also expressed his hopes that the evaluation will be a step towards digital inclusion so that the country opens up to the ROAM-X principles. 

Marielza Oliveira, UNESCO's Director for Partnership and Operational Programme Monitoring, delivered remarks on behalf of the Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, Tawfik Jelassi and highlighted the holistic approach of ROAM-X: the indicators not only seek to protect all human rights but also aim to address their impact on the broader dimension of preserving openness, accessibility, resilience and multistakeholder participation for the development of Internet in Central African countries.

Representing Congo, Eric Ndoumba described the indicators as tangible tools for building a safe, reliable and universal Internet. He added: "The Internet must remain open to allow innovation, sustainable development and break the digital divide”.

For Francois Joseph Nnemete Beyeme, Director of Telecommuncations and ICTs of Cameroon, digital transformation is a potential keystone for development and digital economy at national level. He provided a detailed overview of the actions put in place by the Cameroonian government such as the Internet coverage in the territory or the construction of broadband to ensure Internet accessibility in the country.

Xianhong Hu, Simon Ellis and Karen Landa jointly presented the overall project and methodology behind the ROAM-X framework and stressed the importance of the inclusive engagement by governments and all other stakeholders in the multi-stakeholder process. Ms Hu invited all Central African stakeholders to join the Dynamic Coalition on IUIs to foster digital collaboration in the region.

Alain Kiyindou, lead researcher of the evaluation of Benin and Niger, informed that 5 ROAM-X projects are currently under validation in Central Africa. He encouraged more Central African countries to take part of the initiative, counting on UNESCO’ support to help ministers and stakeholders appropriate the ROAM-X framework to their national context.

Michel Elvis Kenmoe, Advisor in Communication and Information at UNESCO Dakar and coordinator of the ROAM-X project in Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire and Gambia, underlined the importance of an inclusive and diversified Multistakeholder Advisory Board and called for ministries to support the multi-stakeholder process as their commitment is fundamental for the completion of the project and the implementation of the recommendations.

Najib Mokni, Advisor in Communication and Information at Yaoundé UNESCO regional office for Central Africa, closed the session by reaffirming the need for more mobilization from relevant stakeholders to ensure an open and inclusive implementation process and scale up Internet development in 5 Central African countries over the next two years.

ROAM-X Central Africa