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Strengthening the capacity of Parliaments in Africa to harness information and communication technologies


Access to information and knowledge-sharing tools can help Parliaments connect and network globally, learn about and follow up on national and international legal frameworks and laws, sustain inter-parliamentary dialogue, foster parliamentary learning networks on global issues and maintain more effective linkage and consultations with their local constituencies. However, the potential of ICT to modernize Parliaments in Africa is still largely untapped. The project is aimed at establishing a network for information and communication technology in Parliament administrations with a view to promoting dialogue and cooperation among Parliament administrations, academia, centres of excellence, international organizations, civil society and the private sector. The network will act as a catalyst and clearing house for information, research, innovation and technology in Parliament, and facilitate the sharing of experiences and best practices to assist capacity development for African legislatures.


To strengthen the capacity of national and regional legislatures in Africa to harness information and communication technologies to improve their networking and access to knowledge relevant to executing their constitutional legislative, representative and government oversight mandates.

Expected accomplishments:

  • Improvement in parliamentary processes in Africa through the use of information and communication technology tools
  • Increased ability of Parliament administrations, academia and research centres to concretely share best practices, lessons learned and new experiences

Implementation status:

In coordination with the activities undertaken by the Global Centre for ICT in Parliament and the Africa i-Parliaments Action Plan, in 2007 and 2008 the project supported, through capacity development efforts, the process for the establishment of a formal mechanism of cooperation among African parliamentary assemblies.

Following a consultative process, the Africa Parliamentary Knowledge Network (APKN) was successfully launched by the Speaker of the People's Assembly of Egypt during the World e- Parliament Conference 2008 at the European Parliament in Brussels on 25 and 26 November 2008 and became operational henceforth. The APKN overall objective is to develop parliaments' capacity to harness the potential of ICT to better fulfill constitutional legislative, representative and government oversight functions.

As of the end of 2009, 13 African assemblies have endorsed the APKN Charter: National Assembly of Congo, People's Assembly of Egypt, Parliament of Ghana, National Assembly of Kenya, National Assembly of the Seychelles, House of Assembly of Swaziland, National Assembly of Togo, Parliament of Uganda, National Assembly of Zambia, East African Legislative Assembly (EALA); Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADCPF); Senate of Nigeria; and National Assembly of Cameroon. At least ten Assemblies have expressed their intention to join the APKN in the near future.

Through the APKN portal (www.apkn.org), African parliamentary assemblies were provided with tools and services that facilitate the sharing of information and documentation and promote collaboration.

The ownership of the process by African parliamentary assemblies since the beginning, through the discussion and finalization of the APKN Charter, and the support of the Global Centre for ICT in Parliament, the partnership led by UN/DESA and IPU, and the UN/DESA initiative Africa i-Parliaments Action Plan, were key to ensure the sustainability of the project and its outcomes.