Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Kenya to host Africa internet conference

By Njoroge Kaburo
Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Kenya will host a two-day global telecommunication conference to discuss ways of increasing Africa's role on internet freedom, organizers said on Tuesday.

The 2nd Freedom Online Conference which kicks off on Thursday in Nairobi will attract 400 delegates from 17 countries across the globe and will focus on building stronger support for internet freedom, and articulate the importance of internet freedom for development and governance."Kenya is among the 17 member states that subscribe to the ideology that keeping the internet open and free is a worldwide endeavor, which requires worldwide efforts," said a statement from the ministry of information and communication.

Analysts say the conference provides a brilliant opportunity for the coalition's agenda to be fronted in Africa, offer membership growth, and create awareness of its themes.   The conference, whose first edition was held in the Netherlands in December 2011, marks an important step for Internet freedom in Africa and for the coalition's effort globally. Experts say by building stronger support for Internet freedom across Africa and articulating its importance for development, African states can be a model for developing countries around the world.  "This conference is important to Kenya and the coalition members as it provides an excellent platform to further the agenda of the coalition, and gives Kenya the opportunity to offer leadership in Africa on related policy debates," the statement said. "This is with a view to getting more African populace to leverage the economic and social benefit of the Internet without inhibitions. This is especially important in Africa, as only Kenya and Ghana are members of Freedom Online to date."

The conference comes just days after East African nation decried low volume of local content on the internet.Ministry of Information Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo said recently that high internet use in the country has not translated in more local content. "The government is putting in place robust systems so that in the next 5 years, the creative industry increases Kenya online content," Ndemo said recently. While Kenya and Ghana have emerged more active policy makers on ICT and Internet governance, and have developed relevant legal frameworks and policies including standards of freedom of expression online, many African nations are still either starting to develop interest in this area, or are yet to get involved.

Kenya has had many firsts in the area of ICT and governance that present useful benchmarks for other nations in Africa and elsewhere. With 4 undersea cables holding more than 2.8 terabytes of bandwidth available to Kenyans and much more in waiting, a national Fiber Optic connection to all its neighboring countries and over 5,261,919 Mbps international connectivity there is so much knowledge and opportunity to be shared at the conference. According to recent figures from the Communication Commission of Kenya (CCBK), Kenya's internet adoption is top in Africa with over 17 million Kenyans (36 percent of the population) accessing the Internet.  About 6 million Kenyans access the internet via mobile devices. Some of the social benefits include mobile money transfer which has transformed lives of Kenyans immensely.

Kenya is working on policies and programs that aim to ensure more Kenyans have access to the Internet.Presently, she added, e-commerce is yet to fully take shape in Africa due to lack of clear physical address maps in most of sub Sahara.The conference will focus on building stronger support for internet freedom, and articulate the importance of internet freedom for development and governance.  (Xinhua)
Meanwhile Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has no intention to sell his stock for at least 12 months, said the social network company in a regular public file Tuesday.

According to a memo with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Zuckerberg will make none of his 504 million shares reach the market for at least 12 months, and he would have to inform SEC in advance if he wants to release any of his stake.  Zuckerberg's Facebook shares currently are worth about 8.9 billion U.S. dollars.
Meanwhile, Facebook extended the lockup expiration date, after which some employees will be able to sell their shares, to Oct. 29 from Nov. 14, when more than 1 billion shares will be free to enter the market.Some Facebook insiders, including co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and early investor Peter Thiel, have begun to sell their shares in the company. Facebook closed at 17.73 dollars on Tuesday while it priced its IPO at 38 dollars per share in May.  (Xinhua)

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