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21st Century Global Governance: Evolving Multi-Stakeholder Models

Main Stage

Programming Sponsor: Microsoft

Programming Partner: Concordia Action Alliance



  • Valentine Rugwabiza commented on the UN Secretary-General’s high-level panel and roadmap for digital cooperation released in June, which seeks to produce actionable change in the wake of COVID-19 and becomes vital in terms of engaging the international community. With all work shifting online, those who have been offline have been further marginalized and excluded. The time for universal connectivity is now, and the key stakeholders are those in the industry working together to get everyone online, which will not be achieved by the government alone.

“We need to make sure that modern technologies are not misused, and we cannot do this if we do not work together,” Nicolas de Rivière

  • With only 16% of people online in Africa, it will require all of us working together, starting with those that are excluded and are not online today. With Rwanda having cell coverage everywhere, Rugwabiza stressed that it is ultimately not based on the wealth of the country, but rather the priorities of the country.

“As technology providers we need to take responsibility not only for how we hope that our products get used, but in how they actually become used in the real world,” John Frank

  • The responsible use of technology is critical as we navigate this global world, as highlighted by John Frank. With the digital divide becoming more pronounced, the world has the ability to increase technological skills. People can earn a better livelihood by increasing their digital skills, which could open up opportunities.

“We do have a number of projects to increase digital participation [in Rwanda], but we need to bring them to scale, which calls for financing,” Valentine Rugwabiza

  • Nicolas de Rivière raised the issue of privacy as a concern for everyone and one that must be addressed. While there should not be full state control of the internet and digital technologies, some balance of regulation is necessary to effectively avoid misuse, with the Ambassador raising several examples of European efforts on digital cooperation towards effective regulation. Ultimately, de Rivière stressed that digital governance should not simply be in the hands of a few countries or companies; rather, it requires collective action and drawing on best practices from around the world, including New Zealand and Rwanda, for example.

Key takeaways & next steps:

  • Government and private sector organizations can address issues together as a means to better combat the digital divide.
  • The 2020 Concordia Africa Initiative, taking place digitally November 16-17, will further discuss the role of technology in social and economic recovery.


Session Speakers