In September, the EU Cyber Direct and the Council of Europe organised a joint session at FIFAfrica19 on election security and cyberdiplomacy. The sixth forum of internet freedom for Africa (FIFAfrica) was organised by CIPESA, the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The event mostly gathered digital rights experts and stakeholders across the spectrum of internet governance with a regional interest in Africa.
The panel focused on the ways in which stakeholders from different communities (civil society, states, technical/academia, private sector) contribute to tackling disinformation and protecting the technical processes behind elections. The panellist elaborated how elections need to be secured before, after and during and how the ‘before’ element is becoming more important in Africa.
The need for international collaboration was broached along with the role of the state. Participants agreed that the role of the state is to enable and build trust with its population and civil society. Speakers agreed that the internet architecture implies collaboration, with a growing need for pan-African solutions and native tech and standards development.