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Plans in top gear for Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum in Accra

The upcoming edition will build on the discussions from the 10th edition, which focused on a sustainable Internet future that leaves no one behind.

Plans are in top gear for the 2024 Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF24), which begins on Tuesday, 23rd April 2024 and ends on Thursday, 25th April 2024.

Delegates from 61 countries will be in Accra, Ghana, where conversations on digital policy in Africa will be shaped, policy directions debated, and partnerships forged for action. 

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The signature event is hosted by pan-African organisation, Paradigm Initiative (PIN) under the theme, Fostering Rights and Inclusion in the Digital Age. Partner organisations working with PIN to host DRIF24 in Ghana are E-Governance and Internet Governance Foundation for Africa (EGIGFA), University of Media, Arts and Communication- Institute of Journalism, Media Foundation for West Africa, Inclusive Tech Group, Internet Society (ISOC) Ghana Chapter and Human Security Research Centre (HSRC).

Event sponsors include Wikimedia, African Digital Rights Network, Ford Foundation, Luminate, Google, Kingdom of The Netherlands, Mott Foundation, Open Technology Fund (OTF), Internews, Small Media, International Justice Clinic UC Irvine School of Law,  among others.

Sub-themes at the Forum will focus on Trust and Accountability, Data Protection, Privacy and Surveillance, Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technologies, Digital Inclusion and Marginalised Groups. This year’s event will be attended by diverse stakeholders from the global south to share experiences and map strategies that transcend geographical boundaries.

DRIF has carved a niche as the arena for tough topical global issues on digital rights and inclusion, accommodating views and opinions from civil society, technology companies, government, academia, and other stakeholders.

PIN and partners have successively held 10 DRIF editions since 2013 with this year’s being the 11th edition. The organisation received 245 session proposals for DRIF 2024 and is looking forward to hosting over 80 sessions, an increase from last year’s 70 sessions.

This year’s event will incorporate panel sessions, launches, tech demos, pre-event workshops, lightning talks and exhibitions under diverse tracks, including digital rights, digital inclusion and digital security. Key among them will be the exclusive premiere of PIN’s fourth short film Undersight, the launch of the organisation’s annual digital rights and inclusion report Londa, and digital toolkits, Ayeta, and Ripoti. This year’s report will be presenting findings covering 26 African countries.

Last year’s DRIF, held in Nairobi, Kenya, was attended by 601 participants drawn from 54 countries worldwide. The forum hosted sessions focusing on, among other themes, Internet shutdowns, utilisation of the Universal Service Fund (USF), data protection, content moderation, and censorship. There were also key launches of research, platforms, and networks. 

Thobekile Matimbe, PIN’s Senior Manager, Partnerships and Engagements, said the event was not only a meeting of minds but also a testament of collective commitment to shaping a digital landscape that prioritises rights, inclusion and empowerment for all. 

The upcoming edition will build on the discussions from the 10th edition, which focused on a sustainable Internet future that leaves no one behind. 

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