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PIN’s ED, Gbenga Sesan joins global leaders in the Summit for Democracy in Zambia



Exclusion of civil society in data protection commission council worrying - PIN

Paradigm Initiative (PIN)’s Executive Director, Mr. ‘Gbenga Sesan is part of world leaders attending the two-day Summit for Democracy in Zambia.

The summit, which is being co-hosted by Zambia and the United States of America (USA) under the theme, “Free, Fair and Transparent Elections as a Foundation for Democratic Governance,” will be attended by representatives from 21 African countries. This is the second summit for democracy for the African region, and it will be held in a hybrid format.

The meeting, on Wednesday, will take place virtually and will be attended by Heads of States and Government while tomorrow’s meeting (March 30th) will be a ministerial in-person one that will officially be opened by Zambia President, Mr. Hakainde Hichilema at Mulungushi International Conference Centre.

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‘Gbenga who is also a member of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) High-Level Leadership Panel by the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres will be a panelist at the Freedom of Expression: The of the media and civil society in promoting transparent and credible elections session to be held on March 30th. He will be joined at the high-level panel by Ms. Laura Miti, Executive Director, Alliance for Community Action, Zambia, Mr. David Omwoyo, Chief Executive Officer, Media Council of Kenya and Ms. Pansy Tlakula, Chair, South Africa Information Regulator, South Africa. The session will be moderated by Ms. Marcella Samba-Sesay, Chair, Campaign for Good Governance (CGG), Sierra Leone.

Other sessions which will be held on the same day are; Ensuring Electoral Integrity on the African Continent, Inclusive Participation of Women, Youth, and Persons with Disabilities in Electoral Processes, Transparency in Political Party Financing and The Independence of Electoral Management Bodies and Their Importance in Free, Fair and Credible Elections.

The summit is being attended by judges, civil society representatives, electoral experts, lawyers and university dons, among others.

At the same time, ‘Gbenga was on Monday, March 27th one of the three opening speakers at the Global Digital Compact deep dive session focusing on digital inclusion and connectivity hosted by the Office of the UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Technology. Other opening speakers were Ms. Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Secretary General, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Mr. Karim Antonio Lesina, Executive Vice President and Chief External Affairs Officer, Millicom (Tigo).

‘Gbenga, while speaking on digital inclusion progress, called on nations to not only amplify successful models but also admit and learn from failures. “We must move from a mindset that assigns success to individual actors to one of joint ownership of wins based on diverse contributions!”

He stressed the need to audit and mandate action for Universal Service (Provision) Funds across various countries while also making digital exclusion expensive by punishing countries that deliberately cut off citizens from digital opportunities.

“Multi-lingual digital inclusion focused on youth has a multiplier effect and helps to erase long-held literacy-means-understanding-English assumptions. Programs must be designed with those who are living through exclusion, not in comfortable strategy rooms,” he further stated.

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