What is EndCode and how will we change the world? by Pria Chetty

EndCode will actively pursue an African agenda in tech law and policy development at

national, regional and international levels to increase the benefits of technology and

innovation on the continent. EndCode is Africa’s rising against technology, innovation and

intellectual property policies that negatively impact the continent’s ability to extract the

benefits of emerging ICT centred economies.

A few years back I spent some time in Geneva attending meetings for a project I was working on. At one such meeting, the lack of co-ordination amongst African countries potentially meant our exclusion (in a meaningful way) from the last 2 days of a five day meeting. My discontent with a reality of the omission of the African perspective and agenda on the particular issue resulted in my later work co-ordinating ICT policy input amongst

African countries, lobbying officials at international organisations for greater inclusion in key

fora and pursuing an understanding of causes and implications of limited African participation in ICT and IP oriented policy development. Challenges included limited availability of data to support certain positions, limited co-ordination by participants at national and regional levels as well as the unavailability of legal and policy professionals in the associated fields.

I have also been requested over the years to put forward and represent the African position

at several international meetings on policy issues related to cybersecurity, access to

information, data protection, privacy, electronic government etc. I find that I often lack the

confidence in expressing what position would benefit African constituents.

Of course, there is no single or common position. The needs of the constituents are

complex. The legal and policy challenges associated with ICTs in particular as well as other

emerging technologies, however, need to be explored. Moreover, the opportunities brought

by policy reform that promote innovation systems at the country level, import and export of

strategic technologies and ultimately secure access to technologies that can improve the

lives of people on the continent need to be interrogated. Any person given the platforms that

I have in the future should be better informed, more confident and making the most of such

opportunities for positive influence.

Getting there is not a desktop research project and not simply achieved. The understanding

required will rely on deep and meaningful engagement across diverse and distributed

constituencies, building libraries of integrous and accessible data as well as increasing the

availability of professionals in the area.

EndCode will therefore, be an opportunity to continue my currently informal work in tech law

and policy and grow the understanding required to formulate and convey an African agenda

in tech law and policy development.

It seeks to change the world by pursuing the following:

-Network: Generating an engaged network of policy stakeholders to pursue an African

agenda in tech and innovation law and policy development at national, regional and

international levels.

-Knowledge: Generating a knowledge base that confidently expresses the issues of African

constituents related to emerging tech and innovation law and policy development.

-Advisory: Establishing a respected advisory firm of African tech law and policy

professionals that monitor tech and innovation legal and policy landscapes on the continent

and advise clients.

The change in the world will be African constituents extracting greater benefits from tech and

innovation opportunities that will contribute to a better quality of life for African citizens.

A successful social entrepreneur speaking to me amongst a larger audience associated

purpose with that burning voice telling you something needed to be done and that you were

in a unique position to deliver an intervention. Of course, the work of EndCode is necessary.

This is plain. I find myself however, after 10 years of activity and an array of local and

international, academic; advisory; research; steering committee and working group positions

in a strategic locus- suited to coordinate the inputs of a diverse set of views including

industry stakeholders, policy professionals and regulators across several African countries.

This compels me to take advantage of the opportunity to build influential and engaged

networks that formulate and pursue an African agenda in technology and innovation policy.

EndCode by its nature and design, however, will extend well beyond me, as will its purpose and influence. My deep seated love for my Africa and burning aspiration to contribute to the

greater socio-economic opportunities offered to the continent by emerging technologies, will,

I believe, merely initiate what it will eventually become.