Session 2B

Accelerating innovation in ICTs for transformative growth

May 23, 11.00–12.30, Mässhallen, #session2b

This panel aims to explore challenges and opportunities of the ICT software and services sector in driving innovation, transforming public and private sectors and generating inclusive growth in developing countries.

ICTs are the most important drivers of innovation and competitiveness in societies and businesses. Products, services, government and politics are being disrupted, transformed and made more efficient by innovation and entrepreneurship in ICTs. The development of cloud computing and continuously improving access to robust and open high speed connectivity is quickly reducing the capital investment needed to create and distribute profitable solutions to local or global problems.

The number of entrepreneurs and innovation hubs in low- and middle-income countries keeps growing and development of software and services adapted for local markets is taking off. A new generation of young academics and developers could turn the countries that today are passive adopters of software and services into innovative producers that solve the problems they and others are facing through the creation of new software and services.

This panel will debate issues such as: What concrete policies need to put in place nationally and internationally to maintain and accelerate the development of local capacity for innovation in software and services? What role does open and neutral internet access play in the innovation ecosystem? What benefits can free and open source software, with its lower initial cost and inherent community aspects, bring in encouraging the creation of local capacity in technology, and should international development policy makers actively promote its use?


RM_july2011Rebecca Mackinnon, Senior Research Fellow, New America Foundation, Author.

Rebecca MacKinnon is a Senior Research Fellow at the New America Foundation where she conducts research, writing, and advocacy at the intersection of networked technologies, human rights, and corporate accountability. She is author of Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle For Internet Freedom (2012) and is co-founder of Global Voices Online, a path-breaking citizen media network. In 2012 the Columbia Journalism Review named her one of “40 women who changed the media business in the past 40 years.” MacKinnon also serves on the Boards of Directors of the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Global Network Initiative, a multi-stakeholder organization that advances corporate responsibility and human rights in the technology sector. Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, MacKinnon worked as a journalist for CNN in Beijing for nine years and was Beijing Bureau Chief and Correspondent from 1998-2001, then served as CNN’s Tokyo Bureau Chief and Correspondent from 2001-03.  From 2004-06 she was a fellow at Harvard, first at the Shorenstein Center on the Press and Publicy Policy and then at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. In 2007-08 she taught online journalism at the University of Hong Kong’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre. In 2009 she was an Open Society Fellow, and in the Spring of 2010 she was a Visiting Fellow at Princeton’s Center or Information Technology Policy. MacKinnon received her AB magna cum laude from Harvard University and was a Fullbright scholar in Taiwan in 1991-92. She currently lives in Washington DC.


torbjornfredrikssonTorbjörn Fredriksson, Chief at ICT Analysis Section, UNCTAD

Mr. Torbjörn Fredriksson heads the ICT Analysis Section of the Division on Technology and Logistics at the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). He is among other things responsible for the annual Information Economy Report, which in its 2012 edition discussed the role of the software industry in developing countries. His team is co-organizing the annual WSIS Forum in Geneva and offers assistance to developing countries in the area of cyberlegislation, ICT policies and ICT statistics. Before joining UNCTAD, Mr Fredriksson has held positions at the Invest in Sweden Agency, the Swedish Ministry of Industry and Commerce the Industrial Institute for Economic and Social Research in Stockholm. He holds an MSc in International Economics from the Stockholm School of Economics.

lukongaLukonga Lindunda, Co-founder and Director, BongoHive

Lukonga Lindunda is Co-founder and Director of BongoHive, Lusaka’s Technology and Innovation Hub. BongoHive, based in Lusaka – Zambia, was set up in May 2011 and provides a place for the local tech community to meet, swap experience, and attend training, networking and hackathon events, in an effort to build and empower the local tech community to use technology as a tool to transform lives and create viable and localized products and services. Lukonga worked as Programme Advisor – ICT for VVOB (, working with colleges and schools in building sustainable and affordable ICT infrastructure and support systems using open- and closed- source solutions. Lukonga also worked as ICT and Communications Coordinator at QUality Education Services Through Technology (QUESTT), a USAID-funded project in the Education sector in Zambia. At QUESTT, Lukonga worked on the Interactive Radio Instruction project as Technical Advisor. He designed a system incorporating solar power to recharge portable media players loaded with educational materials in remote areas. Lukonga is also co-founder of Mobile Monday Lusaka and is involved in initiating and supporting technology user groups, notably Google Developer Group Lusaka and Asikana Network (focusing on young women in ICT).

saschaSascha Meinrath , Vice President, Director, Open Technology Institute

Sascha Meinrath is vice president of the New America Foundation and director of the Open Technology Institute. In 2012 he was named one of the top 100 in Newsweek’s Digital Power Index and he has been described as a “community Internet pioneer” and an “entrepreneurial visionary.” He is a well-known expert on community wireless networks, municipal broadband, and telecommunications policy. In 2009 he was named one of Ars Technica’s Tech Policy “People to Watch” and is also the 2009 recipient of the Public Knowledge IP3 Award for excellence in public interest advocacy.

Sascha founded the Commotion Wireless Project (a.k.a., the “Internet-in-a-Suitcase”) and, along with Vint Cerf, is the co-founder of Measurement Lab (M-Lab), a distributed server platform for researchers around the world to deploy Internet measurement tools, advance network research, and empower the public with useful information about their broadband connections. He coordinates the Open Source Wireless Coalition, a global partnership of wireless integrators, researchers, implementors and companies dedicated to the development of open source, interoperable, low-cost wireless technologies. Sascha has worked with Free Press, the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA), the Acorn Active Media Foundation, the Ethos Group, and the CUWiN Foundation.

NnennaNnenna Nwakanmna, Director, FOSSFA/Open Source Initiative

Nnenna Nwakanma has a background in International Relations, ICT Policy,  and Law. She has gained professional experience from the African Development Bank (AfDB), The Helen Keller Foundation (HKI) The Global Digital Solidarity Fund (DSF), the Diplomacy Institute and the African Information Society Initiative (AISI).

Founder and CEO of NNENNA.ORG, and Board observer of the Open Source Initiative (OSI), Nnenna is currently the Legal and Intellectual Property Chair of the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa, where she was Chair for Seven years.  She has been the convener of the West Africa Internet Governance Forum and the pioneer of the Africa Internet Governance Forum – AFIGF.

She has been working in the policy and ICT4D domains since the days of the Preparatory committees of the World Summit on the Information, lending her expertise to governments, businesses, think tanks, development partners and the civil society.

Code-named “mother of the Internet in Côte d’Ivoire”, she has a passion for innovation, research, capacity building, open source and  the youth. Author, co-author, blogger and motivational speaker, Nnenna has lived in 6 African countries and speaks 5 languages. She describes herself as a global citizen of African heritage.
MajaMaja Andjelkovic, Mobile Innovation Specialist, infoDev

Maja is interested in the potential of entrepreneurship and human ingenuity to contribute to economic, environmental and social sustainability. She has spent over 12 years connecting these fields, including as product manager in a web-technology startup, lead researcher at the International Institute for Sustainable Development, and counselor for Canada for the World Bank Group. Since 2009, she has worked to expand infoDev’s mobile innovation program, including by extending our offering to better serve women founders of technology startups in emerging and frontier markets.

Maja is pursuing a doctorate at the University of Oxford’s Internet Institute, where she is studying mobile innovation ecosystems under professor Bill Dutton and with support from the Oxford University Press Clarendon Fund. She can be reached at