APrIGF 2024 Session Proposal Submission Form
Part 1 - Lead Organizer
Contact Person
Mr. Omar Ansari
Organization / Affiliation (Please state "Individual" if appropriate) *
APNIC Foundation
Digital Leap South Asia Project Lead
Economy of Residence
Primary Stakeholder Group
Technical Community
List Your Organizing Partners (if any)
Raj Singh,
APNIC Foundation,
Part 2 - Session Proposal
Session Title
Digital Leap- Enhancing Connectivity in South Asia
Session Format
Panel Discussion (60 minutes)
Where do you plan to organize your session?
Onsite at the venue (with online moderator for questions and comments from remote participants)
Specific Issues for Discussion
South Asia is home to a staggering 57% of the world’s offline population, accounting for over 1.49 billion individuals, as reported by the ITU's 2022 World Telecom/ICT Indicators Database. In five South Asian economies—Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and India—over 50% of the population remains offline. Bridging this digital gap is imperative not only for ensuring equitable access to information and opportunities, but also for fostering social inclusion and economic development.

Specific Issues for Discussion:

Organised by APNIC Foundation’s Digital Leap South Asia Project, the session will explore multifaceted challenges hindering Internet connectivity in South Asia and explore actionable strategies to address them. Key topics for discussion include:

- Current State of Connectivity: Understanding existing Internet access disparities in South Asia, including limitations in infrastructure, gaps in digital literacy, and issues related to affordability.
- Policy Frameworks and Regulatory Measures: Assessing the effectiveness of current policies in promoting connectivity and digital inclusion, and discussing the need for adaptive frameworks to foster innovation while safeguarding consumer rights and privacy.
- Innovative Technologies: Highlighting technologies like fiber, wireless, satellite, and community networks, and discussing their potential to extend Internet access to underserved communities.
- Partnerships for Accelerating Connectivity: Exploring the role of public-private partnerships and regional cooperation initiatives in accelerating connectivity efforts, and identifying opportunities for stakeholder engagement and resource mobilisation.
- Role of Regional Internet Registry and Foundations: Introducing the contributions of organisations, such as RIRs, in capacity-building, policy reform, and infrastructure development in South Asia.
Describe the Relevance of Your Session to APrIGF
The season is directly relevant to APrIGF theme of “Evolving Ecosystems, Enduring Principles: Shaping Responsible Internet Governance” and its thematic track of Resilience. South Asia, hosting the world’s largest offline population, faces significant challenges in Internet connectivity, hindering social inclusion and economic development.

This session aims to address these challenges by discussing the current state of connectivity, digital infrastructure, policy and skills in the region. It seeks to identify actionable strategies, policy recommendations, and foster collaboration among stakeholders to accelerate connectivity efforts.

Furthermore, the session will explore innovative technologies and successful initiatives from within the region and globally aiming to promote Internet access, digital inclusion and socio-economic development in South Asia. Through discussions on policy frameworks, regulatory measures, and partnerships, the session will contribute to shaping responsible Internet governance principles.

Lastly, it will provide networking opportunities for stakeholders to forge partnerships, share resources, and collaborate on future initiatives, aligning with the overarching theme and expected outcomes of the APrIGF.
Methodology / Agenda (Please add rows by clicking "+" on the right)
Time frame (e.g. 5 minutes, 20 minutes, should add up to 60 minutes) Description
3 mins Introduction and scene setting by moderator. Overview of session objectives, agenda, and participant expectations.
7 min Presentation on the current state of connectivity in South Asia. Discuss challenges, opportunities, and successful initiatives.
25 min Panel discussion: Facilitated dialogue among panelists on policy frameworks, regulatory measures, infrastructure and partnership strategies to enhance connectivity and access.
15 min Audience engagement: Q&A session where participants can ask questions, share insights, and provide feedback. Moderator moderates discussion and ensures inclusivity.
7 min Presentation on innovative technologies and solutions for bridging the connectivity gap in South Asia. Highlight successful case studies and best practices.
3 min Summary and next steps: Facilitator summarizes key points discussed, highlights actionable strategies, and encourages continued collaboration. Open floor for final comments and announcements.
Moderators & Speakers Info (Please complete where possible)
  • Moderator (Primary)

    • Name: Omar Ansari
    • Organization: APNIC Foundation
    • Designation: Digital Leap South Asia Project Lead
    • Gender: M
    • Economy / Country of Residence: Afghanistan/ Australia
    • Stakeholder Group: Technical Community
    • Expected Presence: In-person
    • Status of Confirmation: Confirmed
    • Link of Bio (URL only):
  • Moderator (Facilitator)

    • Name: Lima Madomi
    • Organization: University of Geneva
    • Designation: Researcher/Student
    • Gender: F
    • Economy / Country of Residence: Afghanistan/ Switzerland
    • Stakeholder Group: Academia
    • Expected Presence: In-person
    • Status of Confirmation: Invited
    • Link of Bio (URL only):
  • Speaker 1

    • Name: Raj Singh
    • Organization: APNIC Foundation
    • Designation: CEO
    • Gender: M
    • Economy / Country of Residence: Australia
    • Stakeholder Group: Technical Community
    • Expected Presence: In-person
    • Status of Confirmation: Confirmed
    • Link of Bio (URL only):
  • Speaker 2

    • Name: Mohamed Shareef
    • Organization: Director of Government & Int. Relations
    • Designation: OXIQA- Enterprise Cyber Security and Agile Solutions Provider
    • Gender: M
    • Economy / Country of Residence: Maldives
    • Stakeholder Group: Private Sector
    • Expected Presence: In-person
    • Status of Confirmation: Confirmed
    • Link of Bio (URL only):
  • Speaker 3

    • Name: Amrita Choudhury
    • Organization: Director
    • Designation: CCAOI
    • Gender: F
    • Economy / Country of Residence: India
    • Stakeholder Group: Civil Society
    • Expected Presence: In-person
    • Status of Confirmation: Confirmed
    • Link of Bio (URL only):
  • Speaker 4

    • Name: Waqas Hassan
    • Organization: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority
    • Designation: Assistant Director
    • Gender: M
    • Economy / Country of Residence: Pakistan
    • Stakeholder Group: Government
    • Expected Presence: In-person
    • Status of Confirmation: Confirmed
    • Link of Bio (URL only):
  • Speaker 5

    • Name: Mahesh Uppal
    • Organization: ComFirst (India) Pvt Limited
    • Designation: Director
    • Gender: M
    • Economy / Country of Residence: India
    • Stakeholder Group: Private Sector
    • Expected Presence: In-person
    • Status of Confirmation: Confirmed
    • Link of Bio (URL only):
Please explain the rationale for choosing each of the above contributors to the session.
The selection of contributors for this session was based on their expertise, experience, and relevance to the topic of enhancing connectivity in South Asia. Each contributor brings unique perspectives and insights that contribute to the richness and depth of the discussion.

Moderator: Omar Ansari was chosen as the facilitator for this session due to his extensive experience in Internet governance, connectivity issues, and facilitating discussions on complex topics. He recently served as the head of Afghanistan’s telecom regulator and is leading the APNIC Foundation's Digital Leap South Asia Project. His background in business, policy, and regulatory equips him with the necessary skills to guide the conversation, ensure inclusivity, and facilitate meaningful dialogue among participants. Facilitator, Lima Madomi, worked with the IGF secretariat as a fellow, is a student of technology focusing on AI and brings years of experience in project and event management.

Panel Speakers:
1. Raj Singh (Australia) brings a wealth of experience as a technology industry thought leader with extensive involvement in the Asia-Pacific region. His background in business management, strategy development, and leadership roles in different sectors provides a deep understanding of the region's complexities and challenges. His advocacy for an open, secure, and accessible internet aligns perfectly with the session's objectives.
2. Mohamed Shareef (Maldives) has expertise in policy frameworks, regulatory measures, and successful infrastructure initiatives related to internet connectivity in South Asia. Mohamed's role as Director of Government & Int. Relations at OXIQA and previous ministerial experience make him a valuable speaker for the session.
3. Amrita Choudhury’s (India) extensive experience in digital programs, community engagement, and advocacy for digital inclusion in South Asia aligns well with the session's objectives. As Director of CCAOI and holding various leadership positions in internet governance organizations, her expertise adds significant value to the discussion.
4. Mahesh Uppal (India) with his over 25 years of expertise in telecom and internet policy, regulation, and strategy made invaluable contributions to Internet development. His work in leveraging telecom for development and his contributions to establishing the telecom regulator of India (TRAI) make him a renowned figure in India's Internet sector.
5. Waqas Hassan (Pakistan) has a background of working with government and civil society. He is an Internet Governance expert and active in various international forums such as ITU, APT, GSMA, APrIGF, ICANN etc. Currently, he is responsible for international coordination, capacity building, partnerships and collaborative engagements at the telecom regulator.
Each speaker brings a unique perspective and expertise to the session, ensuring a comprehensive exploration of the challenges, opportunities, and strategies for enhancing connectivity.
Please declare if you have any potential conflict of interest with the Program Committee 2024.
Are you or other session contributors planning to apply for the APrIGF Fellowship Program 2024?
APrIGF offers live transcript in English for all sessions. Do you need any other translation support or any disability related requests for your session? APrIGF makes every effort to be a fully inclusive and accessible event, and will do the best to fulfill your needs.
Not sure yet
Number of Attendees (Please fill in numbers)
    Gender Balance in Moderators/Speakers (Please fill in numbers)
      I agree that my data can be submitted to and processed by APrIGF organizers for the program selection of APrIGF 2024.