Exploring the Latest Developments in Digital Rights and Inclusion: Reflections from DRIF24 in Accra, Ghana

From Left - BudgIT Ghana, BudgIT Nigeria and Youth Participatory Forum - UG Chapter Lead @DRIF24

The Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF) is an annual event that brings together stakeholders worldwide to discuss critical issues in digital policy and promote digital rights and inclusion in Africa. This year’s forum, DRIF24, took place in Accra, Ghana, from April 23rd to 25th and was hosted by the Pan-African civic-tech organisation Paradigm Initiative (PIN). With the theme “Fostering Rights and Inclusion in the Digital Age,” DRIF24 explored a range of sub-themes, including trust and accountability, data protection, privacy and surveillance, artificial intelligence and emerging technologies, digital inclusion, and marginalised groups.

From Left - BudgIT Ghana, BudgIT Nigeria and Youth Participatory Forum - UG Chapter Lead @DRIF24
From Left – BudgIT Ghana, BudgIT Nigeria and Youth Participatory Forum – UG Chapter Lead @DRIF24

BudgIT Ghana participated in this year’s forum, which was rich in diversity and coupled with deep discussions that impact digital rights. The forum featured panel discussions, tech demos, workshops, lightning talks, and exhibitions. With over 80 sessions and hundreds of delegates from 56 countries, DRIF24 was a truly global platform for shaping digital policy directions and fostering partnerships for digital rights and inclusion in Africa and beyond.

It was well attended by other key organizations including the E-Governance and Internet Governance Foundation for Africa (EGIGFA), the University of Media, Arts and Communication (UNIMAC), Media Foundation for West Africa, Inclusive Tech Group, Internet Society (ISOC) Ghana Chapter, and Human Security Research Centre (HSRC), DRIF24 attracted significant sponsorship from Wikimedia, African Digital Rights Network, Ford Foundation, Luminate, Google, Kingdom of The Netherlands, Mott Foundation, Open Technology Fund (OTF), Internews, Small Media, among others.

Day 2 - BudgIT Ghana Team and YPF President - UG Chapter
Day 2 – BudgIT Ghana Team and YPF President – UG Chapter

One of the key highlights of the forum was the opportunity to connect with colleagues from BudgIT Ghana and BudgIT Nigeria and learn about the important work the sister organisations are doing in advancing transparency and inclusive governance in West Africa. BudgIT Ghana was represented by team members Nancy Adzo Akpene Avevor, Kamal-deen Hadrat Yussif, and Joshua Acquah Addo (President – Youth Participatory Forum, UG Chapter), while BudgIT Nigeria was represented by Nancy Chukwudubemi, the Communications Lead of the BudgIT Foundation.

Some of the key insights and takeaways from DRIF24 included:

  • The need for greater trust and accountability in the digital age, particularly in data protection, privacy, and surveillance.
  • The importance of promoting digital inclusion and addressing the needs of marginalized groups, including women, people with disabilities, and rural communities.
  • The potential of artificial intelligence and emerging technologies to drive innovation and economic growth, but also the need to address the ethical and social implications of these technologies.
  • The role of civil society and other stakeholders in shaping digital policy directions and advocating for digital rights and inclusion.

Overall, DRIF24 was a well organised event that provided a platform for stakeholders from around the world to discuss critical issues in digital policy and promote digital rights and inclusion in Africa and beyond. As an organization that is committed to using technology to promote transparency and inclusive governance, we were proud to be a part of this important event and to contribute to the discussions and debates. We look forward to seeing the impact of the discussions and partnerships forged at DRIF24 in the coming years.

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