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Southern Africa Office Strategy

The W3C and Southern Africa

September 2007

African Advanced Institute for Information and Communication Technology

Meraka Institute, Pretoria, SA

Quentin Williams and Martin Pistorius

Our Vision

To be the leading example of an innovative
WWW standards champion in the African
context that has significant influence in
Southern Africa and in the W3C.

Our Mission Statement

African ICT companies and stakeholders need to be active in global fora like the W3C to benefit from and influence innovations in technology leading to the next generation of the World Wide Web. This is a requirement for making an impact on the global stage, addressing the tremendous needs that exist and fully realising the vast business opportunities that ICT has started to bring in Africa.

The W3C Southern Africa office aims to bring to fore the needs and innovations of Southern Africa within the WWW domain, by regularly engaging and interacting with local stakeholders. We will act as a relay between the W3C and local stakeholders and ensure that the region has the full opportunity to influence and participate in the international community. Similarly, we will convey international W3C standards, policies & recommendations to local stakeholders and assist them with adoption and insight into future trends and market changes.

In more detail Our Goals are therefore

  1. To take the needs, voices, opinions and innovations of the sub-Saharan African region to the international community, to ensure that local requirements are put on the international agenda and that Africa has the opportunity to influence international policies, standards and technology development.
  2. To build a local community of practice consisting of a network of stakeholders (industry, academia, government, public sector, media) interested in or working on Web technologies, and to allow them to directly liaise with the many prominent and international member organisations in the W3C. Thus building international cooperation and participation while also encouraging the worldwide recognition and stature of local companies and institutions.
  3. Similarly to convey international W3C standards, policies & recommendations to local stakeholders and assist them with adoption and insight into future trends and market changes.

Strategy: Objectives Phase 1

  1. Establish Local network of stakeholders
  2. Gather information about which W3C areas are relevant for the Southern African region
  3. Start regularly participating in W3C Working groups
  4. Recruit 1-2 permanent staff for Office

Establish Local network

  1. Through extensive survey populate list of possible stakeholders:
    • Internet Search on South African companies within targeted industry sectors
    • Utilise World Wide Worx report on the Map of RSA ICT sector
    • Have a W3C presence at and attend relevant conferences, workshops and seminars. Engage with potential stakeholders.
    • Utilise previous Meraka partnerships
  2. Build a database with information of all potential stakeholders
  3. Start engaging with list of potentials:
    • Send email and start a mailing list
    • Send regular news-items and newsletters on mailing list
  4. Find representative in each organisation and have one-on-one meetings with each of the more interested organisations. Inform them about W3C, what our regional activities are, How the office can assist the organisation etc. Get commitment from each organisation
  5. Keep the regular newsletter and mailing list active

Find locally relevant W3C areas

  1. Using database make a list of the most popular areas within which the regional stakeholders are active in, and correlate with W3C activities
  2. Start engaging mailing list in regards to these areas (sending out information about the areas, asking questions about their interest in it, etc.)
  3. Hold a workshop with the interested and committed stakeholders:
    • Get their view on what are the more relevant W3C areas
    • Work through these areas to find out what are the regional needs, current work and innovation
    • Find out how best to engage with W3C in these areas.
    • Report back on workshop to W3C

Participate on W3C working groups

  1. Through the mailing list and contact database find representatives from organisations who are interested in the activities of the W3C working groups.
  2. Assist them with information about how the working groups operate, their current progress and activities; and how relevant it is for the local organisation's work.
  3. With them find the best way of participation and giving our inputs through to the working groups.

Participate on W3C working groups

The only way to influence activities of the W3C is through their working groups. In the African context the following ways can ensure participation on W3C working groups:


Recruit 1-2 permanent staff to fulfil duties of W3C Southern Africa Office.

SWOT Analysis – p1



SWOT Analysis – p2


SWOT Analysis – p3


Resources required

Success will be

Obstacles in region

Roles of a W3C office

Vendor Neutrality

A Contributing Member

Established network of Contacts

Why W3C membership?

New African specific ways of Web delivery

Potential Stakeholders

Below are just a sample of the possible industries and a few examples of organisations in each industry:

How a local office can help:

Current W3C cost structure

Suggested structure

A suggested structure in a developing world could be:

Mechanisms to help

Structure of Southern Africa office

Meraka: Example as a Member

Ensure that Office representative takes work from these groups to influence W3C

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