By Kwame Yankson
The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization (CTO) on Wednesday 23rd April, 2014 appointed Sierra Leone’s Minister of Information and Communications, Alhaji Alpha Kanu to serve on the General Advisory Committee (GAC) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
Minister Kanu’s appointment to the GAC is an outcome of the inaugural Commonwealth ICT Ministers meeting in London early March, where it was agreed that the CTO should convene regular meetings of Commonwealth representatives at international gatherings such as those of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and ICANN.
At the recent meeting of ICANN in Singapore, it was discovered that despite the outstanding contribution of Sierra Leone’s representatives to CTO meetings, she is not a member of ICANN’s General Advisory Committee. The CTO and the GAC therefore agreed that Professor Tim Urwin, Secretary General CTO, invite Mr. Kanu to serve on the GAC and also to participate in the 50th ICANN meeting scheduled to take place from 22nd to 26th June in London this year.
The GAC is an important forum through which governments can seek to advice and influence ICANN over the governance of the internet.
You may recall that Minister Kanu attracted the attention of the CTO and the ITU at Marlborough House, London this year when he appealed to his colleague Commonwealth ICT Ministers to introduce “Computeracy” in the national education programmes and policies if ICTs are to be used effectively. He was referring to digital literacy which he believes is the foundation for any technological development.
“To derive benefit from any technology is to know how to use it rather than focusing on the technology itself…Commonwealth member States should adopt a policy that will increase awareness among schools and colleges to pay attention to how children can use the computer and the mobile phones rather than focusing on the applications,” he said.
This new vocabulary has been adopted by the CTO to the credit of the country’s erudite Minister of Information and Communications.