Virtual Summit on Community Networks in Africa 2021-2022, Session 5:
Using Community Networks to Bridge the Access Gap in Francophone Africa

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Virtual Summit on Community Networks in Africa

The COVID-19 outbreak has led to the work-from-home economy and highlighted the need for fast, reliable and affordable internet. While this has enabled the continuation of work, education, communication and commerce for a few, the reality is different for millions of people across Africa, where millions of people do not have access to mobile broadband connectivity. Community-owned networks provide alternative, locally driven and sustainable solutions that are critical in addressing connectivity gaps in Africa.

Promoting the growth of Community Networks in Africa

Community Networks help connect underserved communities online with locally built and managed infrastructure. However, they are not always available, and they face a diversity of challenges. A 2017 Internet Society report identified 37 Community Networks initiatives in 12 African countries, at different levels of development.

To foster learning, networking, knowledge and experience sharing on this issue, Community Network operators in Africa started gathering in 2016 at an annual summit.

2020 Summit was held virtually and consisted of five webinars revolving around growing Community Networks in the continent:

The Virtual Summit on Community Networks in Africa continues with the 2021-2022 sessions. Register for upcoming sessions or watch the recordings of the past ones:

These sessions aim to promote the creation, and growth of Community Networks in Africa, along with increasing collaboration between Community Network operators, and providing an opportunity for learning and engaging.

The webinar series is organized by the Internet Society and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) in partnership with other organizations working to build and strengthen Community Networks in Africa. We thank the Mozilla Corporation for sponsoring the 2021-2022 series.

Summit Program Committee

The Program Committee members of the Summit on Community Networks (CN) in Africa are: Kedieng Ebongue, Immaculate Laker, Thato Mfikwe, Tonny Okwonga, and

Fourteen years with community outreach programs, Lillian Achom is experienced in establishing women-led Community Networks to bring Internet services to rural and remote communities in East, South, West and Northern regions of Africa. Ugandan by nationality, Lillian believes an Information Communications Technology (ICT)-empowered society is an opportunity for employment, economic growth, and better livelihoods. Especially true for women and girls… Read more

Jean Louis Fendji

Senior Lecturer, University of Ngaoundere and Research Director, AfroLeadership/Chargé de Cours, l'Université de Ngaoundéré et Directeur de recherche, AfroLeadership

Dr. Eng. Jean Louis Fendji holds a PhD from the University of Bremen in Germany since 2015. His PhD work was focused on how to turn Community Telecentres into Community Networks in Cameroon. He is currently working with organizations such as GIZ on the deployment of community networks and the development of digital services for rural communities (mainly in education… Read more

James Gondwe

Founder&Executive Director, Centre for Youth and Development (CYD)/directeur fondateur, Centre pour la jeunesse et le développement

James Gondwe is the founding Director of Centre for Youth and Development (CYD), a local Non-Governmental Developmental organization in Malawi established in the year 2012 to facilitate positive and sustainable change for children, youth and women in Malawi. He is a human rights activist focused on rights of children, youth and women; a seasoned Development Specialist with over 10 years’… Read more

Michael Graaf is a lifelong activist, first against apartheid, later for environmental justice, and more recently for information freedom. To this end he believes Community Networks have a crucial role to play, and he has played various roles in that movement, as researcher, editor, content curator and general volunteer. Michael lives in Cape Town, South Africa. Read more

She is currently the Africa regional coordinator for the Association of Progressive Communication-LOCNET project hosted by KICTANET. The LOCNET project focuses on creating an enabling environment for the growth of sustainable and scalable community networks. In 2016, Josephine has been involved in community networks since 2015 and led the establishment of TunapandaNET a community network in Kibera Nairobi Kenya that… Read more

Solomon is an ICT professional and a Network Engineer, passionate about the development of Community Networks in Africa and the rest of the world. He Holds a degree in Information Technology from Islamic University Uganda, Postgraduate Diploma in Monitoring and Evaluation from Uganda Management Institute and Post Graduate Diploma in Project Planning and Management from Gulu University. In a bid… Read more