Policy series on "Developing countries and global Internet governance" (2011-current)


Framing a development agenda for Internet governance has been a key policy research area for IT for Change. The Internet is transforming power relationships at all levels, and therefore, geopolitical and geo-economic relationships. Developed countries, led by the US, where almost all of global digital big business is centred, have advocated a laissez faire approach to  global Internet governance. They have promoted privatised global governance forums where big business and developed countries try to shape the future of the Internet, and through it, that of the digital society. IT for Change is a leader in efforts that seek to question the status-quo, and in our policy research and advocacy efforts, we have been constantly advocating democratic institutions for global governance of the Internet, where all countries have an equal seat. We have researched various aspects of global Internet governance policies and regimes that are of special interest to developing countries.

The first in this series “A development agenda for the Internet", was produced as a background paper for the IBSA meeting on IG in Rio, in 2011, and was noted in the IBSA summit statement.

The second, “A fork in the road to the future of Internet governance”, was written in 2014 in response to the launch of the Net Mundial Initiative. It highlights how the future of Internet governance is precariously poised at a juncture where the road we choose to follow will determine whether we have a democratic governance framework for the Internet, or post-democratic arrangements based on a global elite compact.

The third, “Global Internet governance: A developing country perspective”, also written in 2014, highlights how a South-centred Internet governance paradigm would foreground the idea of the Internet as a public utility and as a global commons. It was published by Third World Network, the premier civil society advocacy group on Southern issues.

The fourth, “Developing Countries in the emerging global digital order”, written in 2017, speaks to the geo-economics of the emerging digital economy characterized by an unequal distribution of data resources and digital intelligence between the North and the South. It is slated to be published by South Centre, Geneva.

Focus Areas