IGF Ghana, 2016
Opening Remarks by Ms. Marilyn Cade
Thank you to the Organizers of the Ghana IGF Initiative, and a special recognition of my
dear colleagues: Nii Guaynor, our Moderator for this session and Wisdom, my fellow IGF
MAG member, with appreciation for this invitation. And my colleague from the IGF
Secretariat, Anja Gengo.
My name is Marilyn Cade.
I am honored to serve as the Substantive Coordinator of the National and Regional IGF
Initiatives, appointed last year by Janis Karklins, then the MAG Chair, and now reappointed
by Lynn St. Amour, the present MAG chair, whom you heard from earlier today. I was
privileged to listen to her comments today in your opening session thanks to your excellent
support for remote participants.
It is an honor, and a privilege to speak to you today. I want to recognize and note with
great respect that Ghana has led in the introduction of the Internet in Africa, through the
work of our Moderator, Professor Nii Guaynor, who, frankly, in 1998 and 1999, I merely
knew. But Nii was introduced to me as someone who Jon Postel and Mike Roberts the first
CEO of ICANN respected and who had already launched the fledgling Internet in Africa. Nii
later accepted some important roles where I got to know him better: One, he agreed to be a
founding Board member of ICANN in the days when we could barely spell ICANN [2000-
2003]: he also accepted an invitation from me to speak on behalf of all developing countries
in the Seattle, Washington, OECD conference on e-commerce. But then, three, he led
engagement of the technical sector in the two phases of the World Summit on the
Information Society. We had few friendly governments about why other stakeholders
should be included, or even consulted. Nii’s contribution throughout the World Summit on
the Information Society made such a great contribution. Ghana was and has always been
the leading voice in engaging with the Internet and the stakeholders.
Of significance, perhaps is that we are here today to talk about how to advance Internet
development in Ghana. Let me again recall that in our early days, 2001 – there were 2
websites and only 8% of the email was spam. And only 30,000 users of the Internet in
What are the facts and figures for 2015, and how do we do better? Well, today, we have
close to 8 million users in Ghana and almost 3 M Facebook users.
Of course, you know that you are the youngest continent. Youth in Africa are indeed one of
your best assets.
But let’s look further: Africa is 16+% of the world’s population of 7.3 B in the world. And of
3.4 Billion Internet users, Africa has over 300 million users/28.5 % penetration.
Let’s put that into perspective. North America is only 4.9 % of the world’s population. Latin
America/Caribbean is 8.5%. Europe is 11.3 %. Asia is 55%. So, Africa is a major player in
terms of world population. But not yet achieving what you want for your citizens in
Today, I am invited to speak about the multi stakeholder model in Internet Development in
Ghana. I want to speak about how Ghana IGF is a role model, of course within Africa but
beyond. But I also want to focus on how to advance what you are doing here, into other
parts of your decision making, and how to advance further the growth of the adoption of
the Internet across your country, and through your leadership, with sister
economies/countries in Africa.
FIRST, let’s return to understanding where we came from: In Dec 2000, Ghana had 30,000
users. Today, you have 7.958,675 users – essentially 8 M. We really have to celebrate.
And then call for more access.
Africa as a continent has 28.6% Internet access. So, let me talk about moving ahead.
I am not the expert about Internet development in Ghana, but I may have a few views that I
hope will resonate with your goals and interests.
Advancing the voice of all stakeholders. This is a major challenge, not just in Ghana but in
the UN itself. And making sure that all ministries and all public policy discussions, whether
they are about healthcare, agriculture, education, energy, and telecom include engagement
Why Multi stakeholder voices matter:
I was amazed, in 2010, when I was an observer at the United Nations Commission on
Science and Technology meeting, and the first female chair in the CSTD was from Ghana. I
learned at that meeting tha stakeholders had no voice.
But this chair, from Ghana did not agree. So, she managed to change the CSTD forever,
when she insisted that the first Working Group of the CSTD had to be open to multi
stakeholder participation. Back at home, you might not have noted this major step forward,
but it changed the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for all future
She built on the work of your own Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary General. We
must all understand that there were many views during the World Summit preparatory
process – it was an intergovernmental debate. But the UN SecGen’s view was inclusive. We
are here today in a center named for him.
Now to how we advance: For connectivity, we need to move from 29% in your country, to
over 50% in the next five years and then into the growing numbers in the final years of the
But let’s start where we are.
I want to call on local and global business to do more – more to engage and more to
contribute. And to ask that all of you in the Ghana IGF take up the call to action to challenge
all engaged in business, as well as other stakeholders to accept the challenge to advance
Internet development. And to ask your government agencies – engaged in agriculture,
health, education – Not just the telecom regulatory agencies – to embrace a role in
engagement about why access matters to them as they deliver services.
The recently agreed United Nations Sustainable Development Goals inspire all of the
agencies to consider their role. All too often, the telecom agencies are left alone, without
the collaboration of education, health, agriculture, transportation and energy to address
this challenge. They are invited to meet with the Regulator, or the Ministry of
Communications. But many countries do not insist that all Ministries show up and
collaborate, in a horizonital way, to consider how to advance access and how access can
then serve as a platform to deliver the rest of the story – improved information for citizens
for healthcare, agriculture, education…
Let’s ensure that it is a horizontal, not a vertical stove pipe approach by the governmental
agencies. This means new thinking by the Ministries. And inclusiveness by all agencies with
other stakeholders. And it means more work by us, as stakeholders.
I think that Ghana as a country can, as you always have, lead the way with other
governments, and with bringing your stakeholders together.
I was very pleased when I attended the Global Connect Stakeholders event in Washington,
DC last year to see that Ghana had endorsed the GC Initiative. BUT, now, let’s make it
Frankly, everywhere I go, as the Substantive Coordinator for advancing the voice and
engagement of the NRIs, like yourselves, I want more from business locally in
understanding and contributing. I looked at your model and it is really a role model.
But, I think that we should work together further to advance engagement with the business
sector and to challenge them to step up their commitment to connecting the not yet
connected in Ghana.
I also want to challenge all of us, not just the Ghana government to join with the upcoming
Global Connect Stakeholders event in Washington, DC, 5-7 October, and ask these key
questions. What should I do to connect my community, my family, my government agency,
Ghana has led the way to advance why multi stakeholder matters
So, how do we take what you are doing here and turn it further into local engagement
about advancing Internet development?
First, national plans matter. And they have to be based on input from the stakeholders. I
read a lot of reports in United Nations commissions and … frankly, I want first and
foremost to ask what they can do for you. Not what report you can send to them.
BUT let me say again: national plans matter. Accountability to commitments in those
national plans matter.
I want to start from where we all started, examine our path to date, and suggest how we
advance for the next ten years. We were given a gift from the United Nations == In
December 2015, we received a gift. Now, I want to be clear about why that happened. It
happened because of a 6 month working examination of what should happen on Internet
governance, and the participants here today – the Ghana government and the non-
government stakeholders from Ghana and many other countries said to the respective
African governments: make it so: give the IGF a ten-year period to take its next steps to
achieve the promise of the Tunis Agenda. Of course, we as other stakeholders also asked
for this, but in the UN system, your voice is critical.
I want to return to our challenges: In 2015, the world had almost 1 B websites. There were
over 3.4 B Internet users. BUT, we have to be clear: access is not equally distributed, and
opportunities are not equally available. We need to do more to make access available,
affordable to all our children, all our families, and all interested users in all countries.
Policies within a country matter. That means that the voice of stakeholders has to be heard.
You have a great platform in the Ghana IGF and I hope that now, we might also turn to how
this platform can advance change within your country policies, and as it is useful, in your
sister countries. After all, some policies are not only national, but also regional, and then
To be a truly well connected world, we want to connect all countries, and to bring into the
benefits of the online world, all of the countries of the world.
How do we do that? But we need to start with Ghana, and its sister countries and advance
connectivity in each of your countries. And make sure that your voice is heard in all the
relevant spaces – not just UN, but also ICANN and IGF, at the CSTD, at the UNCTAD, and at
This has been a very interesting national Initiative for me, listening to your various
sessions, and thinking about how common the concerns are that all of you have about
improving and addressing public policies… It is a privilege to listen to all of you, and I want
again to thank Wisdom for this invitation. And to again recognize my dear friend and
Internet pioneer and leader in the Internet in Africa, Nii.
I want to turn to the IGF Focal Point of the IGF, Anja Gengo. She was appointed because you
and other NRIs called for this formalization of you having a single contact at the IGF
Secretariat. Anja, I turn to you for a few PPs and key points.
Anja Gengo: PP and speaker.
And, if time permits, I would welcome any questions