Niger advances Internet Universality Indicators assessment

On 4 November 2021, the Ministry of Telecommunications of Niger, with support from UNESCO, convened a review session of the draft national assessment report using UNESCO’s Internet Universality ROAM-X Indicators.

The event brought together both researchers and members of the Multistakeholder Advisory Committee (MAB) which was created to guide the assessment via an inclusive approach.  

Presiding over the official ceremony of the meeting, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Post, Telecommunications and New Information Technologies, Mr. Sidi Mohamed RALIOU, emphasized that the assessment allows "to collect diverse and reliable statistical data and opinions on the digital practices and experiences" of Niger. He highlighted primary findings in terms of access to vulnerable groups, underlining the "incredible emancipation" and "formal and informal business opportunities" that the Internet offers to all social backgrounds.

The report submitted for review of the members of the MAB identified several challenges, including the needs and expectations of citizens in their aspiration to the right to information, freedom of expression, guaranteed privacy, access to quality content online, etc. During its work, the MAB should review the content of the report in order to identify the most relevant recommendations for the development of the Internet in Niger in accordance with the ROAM principles.

Representing Université Bordeaux Montaigne, Professor Alain Kiyindou stated: "This assessment is a process that will not stop after the completion because it is important to ensure that the recommendations that will result are applied and that a technical subcommittee ensures the implementation process".

Prof. Ali DOUMMA, Secretary General of the Abdou Moumouni University, further added: "This is an opportunity to better think about digital technology in the service of education and research since for several years, Niger's public universities have been called upon to engage in a modernization policy with a central place given to information and communication technologies whose usefulness has increased with the Covid-19 pandemic".

The objective is to bring the public authorities to consider technological inclusion as a key factor of sustainable human development, and to better understand the issues whose consideration could promote the understanding and harmonious development of the digital ecosystem in Niger.

The Internet Universality Indicators are a framework for assessing the development of the Internet based on the principles of Rights, Openness, Accessibility and Multi-stakeholder participation (ROAM). The ROAM-X indicators assessments are currently progressing in 33 countries, including Benin, Senegal, Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia, Cote d’Ivoire, Cabo Verde and Burkina Faso in Africa.

To further advocate for the ROAM principles at global level, UNESCO invites all stakeholders to attend UNESCO' sessions at the Internet Governance Forum 2021 where a DAY-0 pre-event dedicated to the ongoing national assessment of IUIs conducted across five continents and a session focused on the Dynamic Coalition on IUIs, will be held respectively on 6 and 9 December 2021.