Tag Archives: Africa

ICANN: Agreement Signed to Expand L-Root Servers Across Africa

ICANN logoICANN and the Africa Network Information Center (AFRINIC) have signed an agreement pledging to work collaboratively to identify additional potential locations for the expansion of L-Root anycast instances in Africa.

The placement of instances of root servers is important to the infrastructure of the Internet in Africa.

“This agreement comes in at a perfect time here in Toronto when ICANN has unveiled a new initiative to increase presence and participation across our region” said Adiel Akplogan, AFRINIC’s Chief Executive Officer. “Besides policy related discussions and participation, Africa needs to strengthen the resiliency of its Internet Infrastructure in order to attract local contents investments.”

“This very important agreement is a further reflection of the hard work of the Africa stakeholders and their spirit of engagement” said Fadi Chehadé, President and Chief Executive Officer of ICANN. “Our commitment to this sort of cooperative effort is framed by the initiative of the Africa Support Working Group, which is aimed at increasing African participation in ICANN.”

The Africa Support Working Group presented its three year initiative during ICANN‘s 45th public meeting in Toronto, Canada. The agreement between AfriNIC and ICANN marks the first implementation of the Africa Strategy.

Under the signed agreement, AFRINIC is willing to help ICANN strengthen the resilience of the DNS further by helping to identify potential additional physical locations that host L-Root.

Using geographically diverse locations for name servers strengthens the global Internet because a dispersed system cannot be taken offline by a problem at any single instance of a given DNS root server.

“L-Root” refers to one of thirteen computers that anchor the globe’s Domain Name Service (DNS). Where computers locate one another on a network by numeric address, humans find it easier to use and remember names (for instance, users typically remember “ICANN.org” more easily than its IP address, 2620:0:2d0:200::7.) The Domain Name System matches domain names with their correct numeric addresses on the Internet.

Agreement Signed by ICANN and the Africa Network Information Center (AFRINIC) to Expand L-Root Servers Across Africa
This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
www.icann.org/en/news/announcements/announcement-19oct12-en.htm

African Union Selects the ISOC to Support Establishment of Internet Exchange Points across Africa

Internet Society - ISOC - logo[news release] The Internet Society today announced that it has been selected by the African Union (AU) to conduct community mobilization and technical aspects workshops to support the establishment of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in AU Member States as part of the African Internet Exchange System (AXIS) project.  The AXIS project aims at keeping Africa’s Internet traffic local to the continent by providing capacity building and technical assistance to facilitate the establishment of National Internet Exchange Points and Regional Internet Exchange Points in Africa. The project is funded by the Euro-Africa Infrastructure Fund and the Government of Luxembourg.

 The Internet Society is committed to organizing 60 community mobilization and technical aspects workshops in 30 African countries.  To this effect, the Internet Society will also contribute its own resources for the implementation of this component of the AXIS project.
Currently, much of Africa’s Internet traffic is routed through Internet exchange points external to the African continent.  As countries establish their own IXPs, Internet traffic will be routed locally, creating a downward pressure on costs and stimulating growth in and distribution of local Internet content.  Through the AXIS project, the interests of the AU and the Internet  Society, working with other African Internet organizations such as AfriNIC, AfNOG and AftLD, will be realized in this collaborative effort to assist in the development of a more locally operated and, hence, more robust and economically accessible pan-African Internet.
Moctar Yedaly, Head of Information Society Division, African Union Commission, commented, “Africa is paying overseas carriers to exchange ‘local’ (continental) traffic. This is both a costly as well as an inefficient way of handling inter-country exchange of Internet traffic. Independent analysis has shown that Africa pays over US$600 Million to developed countries every year for inter-African traffic exchange that is carried outside the continent. We are therefore pleased that the African Internet Exchange System project will address this challenge by facilitating optimization of Internet traffic to support intra-continental traffic flows in Africa.”
Dawit Bekele, Internet Society Regional Bureau Director for Africa, stated, “We are very excited to be selected by the African Union to support the growth of IXPs throughout Africa.  We believe the AXIS project is extremely important to the continued health of the Internet ecosystem in Africa, and building the technical infrastructure and training the people to sustain it are fundamental to extending the Internet in Africa. Partnering with the African Union on the AXIS project is central to the Internet Society’s mission to ensure the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet for the benefit of people everywhere.”
The Internet Society has provided technical training in Africa since the early 1990s, and supports the development of human and technical capacity to build reliable and sustainable Internet infrastructure in Africa and around the world.  The organization’s African Bureau was started in 2006. With 24 Chapters, the Internet Society African Bureau works to promote capacity building and the responsible development of the Internet throughout Africa.  Its principle focus is improving interconnection and traffic exchange within the continent through the implementation of IXPs, network training, and capacity building.
About the Internet Society
The Internet Society is the trusted independent source for Internet information and thought leadership from around the world. With its principled vision and substantial technological foundation, the Internet Society promotes open dialogue on Internet policy, technology, and future development among users, companies, governments, and other organizations. Working with its members and Chapters around the world, the Internet Society enables the continued evolution and growth of the Internet for everyone. For more information, visit www.internetsociety.org.
About the African Union
The African Union has 54 Member States. The vision of the African Union is a peaceful, integrated, prosperous Africa, driven by its own citizens to take up its rightful place in the global community. For more information, visit www.au.int 

ICANN, AFRINIC Announce A New Approach to Africa

ICANN logoWith the support of AFRINIC, Africa’s Regional Registry for Internet Number Resources, ICANN and leading members of its community are today announcing an initiative aimed at increasing African participation and influence within ICANN.

This initiative is the result of a June meeting involving Steve Crocker, Chairman of ICANN‘s Board of Directors, ICANN‘s CEO-Designate Fadi Chehadé and its Interim CEO Akram Atallah with African community members at ICANN‘s 44th Public Meeting, in Prague, Czech Republic.

The goal is to develop a framework for ICANN‘s Africa strategy and to announce an initial plan at the October 2012 Public Meeting in Toronto, Canada. The strategy will aim both to support a stronger presence for ICANN in Africa and to increase African participation in ICANN. It will also foster the promotion of the multi-stakeholder model in Africa at the government, civil society and private sector levels.

This effort is a step toward stronger global engagement for ICANN, with a special focus on developing countries.

To contribute to the development of the new strategy, a working group was created and endorsed by the African community members meeting in Prague, including key players in Internet governance from different regions in Africa. The working group has selected Nii Quaynor of Ghana, a well-respected Internet leader in Africa, to lead its efforts.

ICANN has appointed Tarek Kamel of Egypt to serve as a Senior Advisor to its President and CEO on global issues, and to work with the group to develop the initial strategic plan that will be announced in Toronto. The working group unanimously endorsed this choice. Tarek is well known for his long record of achievements in promoting the Internet and its multi-stakeholder model in developing countries.

For further information or to submit ideas, please contact ICANN-ASWG@Afrinic.net.

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
www.icann.org/en/news/announcements/announcement-10aug12-en.htm

DotConnectAfrica Clarifies its .AFRICA bid at EAIGF

DotConnectAfrica logo[news release] The annual East African Internet Governance Forum (EAIGF) event was held recently at the Jacaranda Hotel Nairobi. It was preceded by the Kenya IGF that was held at the same venue a fortnight ago. The meeting was attended by many delegates from East Africa sub-region and addressed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communication of Kenya, Mr. Bitange Ndemo who addressed issues concerning Internet connectivity within the East Africa region as well as the dire need for the development of Internet Content that is specific for Africa, citing that it was the only way Africa would be able to redirect the online traffic to Africa as opposed to the current situation where almost 70% of Internet content accessed is external.

This concept of African content was strongly supported by the DotConnectAfrica delegation who were roundly appreciated by the East Africa IGF Delegates for being the organization that has really put Africa on the Map both in the issues concerning the DotAfrica top level domain that it has campaigned well for over six years as well as the constant and incessant education of the African netizentry through its press releases and industry updates.

It may be recalled that DotAfrica as a project idea was largely abandoned at ICANN for nearly five years before DCA re-started the projected with renewed impetus and momentum, and re-introduced it to the African inter-governmental organizations such as the AU and UNECA for their support, to ensure that Africa does not lose this important generic top-level domain. DotAfrica today remains the re-energized effort commenced by DCA which was underpinned by a strong communications strategy to sensitize various African and global publics about the DotAfrica initiative. Many people always look forward to DCA’s important commentaries and Op-Ed pieces that are highly relevant to global Internet governance.

On matters pertaining to the .Africa Domain, Gedion Rop, DCA’s Representative noted that “DotConnectAfrica had an opportunity to clarify and defend its position as a strong and compelling applicant for the DotAfrica (.africa) top level domain” saying that “no organization was the chosen front runner” since ICANN has yet to evaluate all complete applications that have been submitted by applicants. This was to correct the misleading reports that Uniforum group, who were also present at the meeting, had firmly secured the dotAfrica gTLD.

Mr. Gedion Rop dismissed such wrong reports as an exercise in mass media manipulation with a view to misinforming the public, which is quite unethical.   DCA also sought to emphasize that the geographic string name applied for was indeed .Africa gTLD as clarified in its post reveal Press release. Contrary to the unfounded allegations that DCA did not apply for .AFRICA (dotAfrica) string, DotConnectAfrica remains a strong contender for the DotAfrica string name and actually stands the best chance of being awarded the mandate to operate the .AFRICA gTLD registry since it has adhered to, and respected all the guidelines of the new gTLD programme, in addition to accepting ICANN’s oversight of the entire process, unlike UniForum which might be penalized for wrongly attributing the rights of DotAfrica gTLD to the AU instead of ICANN in direct contravention of the new gTLD programme guidelines.

Even though the EAIGF was not well attended, the event provided a good opportunity for the participants to discuss key issues that included Africa’s position on the ITR’s and resolutions submitted to the ITU in order to weigh behind changes that need to be made on the resolutions. Efforts were also made to see how Africa’s position could be well articulated given that Africa is becoming a key player and stakeholder in global telecommunications. Countries that emerged to have a position include Rwanda.

Among other key discussions was Cyber-Security which is becoming an important and engaging issue of great concern within the East African Community. Given that CyberCrime is now on the increase, several countries have taken preliminary steps to curb this development thus forming CIRTs (Cyber Incidence and Emergency Response Teams). DCA was happy to note that most East African states had attained this and have even gone further to form the East African Consortium that would give a unified position.

Issues of Broadband connectivity were also taken as important in enabling data and content development by aiming to reduce the call termination rates by improving international connectivity via the Fiber optic trunk that would serve all the countries across the East African sub-region.

Greater youth involvement was recognized as a key development being that the first ever Rwandan IGF was held in the native language with the aim of including the rural community in the discussions. The youth representatives had asked pertinent questions regarding how the youth in the rural areas could properly contribute and brought into the mainstream of Internet development. We think that this is a good way to preserve culture and extend the frontiers of African languages; imagine saying the word Internet governance in your local language! Interesting, isn’t it?   DCA, being a proud founder of the generation.africa will always support such initiatives.

Daily Wrap: ICANN Commences New gTLD Evaluations, Competing African gTLDs and .FREE Application Comparisons

ICANN commenced its initial evaluation of the 1930 applications for new generic Top Level Domains (new gTLDs) on 12 July, sources have told Domain Pulse.

A report on Domain Incite also notes that evaluations have commenced, but the report also notes that it’s not known how evaluations will take place following the collapse of the digital archery method last month.

In Africa, there are two firms competing for similar African gTLDs – one for .AFRICA, the other for .DOTAFRICA – applied for by UniForum SA (NPC) trading as Registry.Africa (ZACR) and DotConnectAfrica Trust respectively.

A report in Kenya’s The Standard says that both parties “have however been at each other, both laying claim to having the blessings of [African Union] and each accusing the other of bending the rules and even manipulating politicians at the AU level for political backing. The endorsement is an ICANN requirement.”

Neil Dundas, executive director of ZACR, told The Standard his firm has mobilised 70 per cent of African governments to write to ICANN, endorsing the firm’s bid to be the domain’s registrar.

Sophia Bekele, executive director Dot Connect Africa however told the paper her firm was first to be endorsed by AU in 2009 – an endorsement that she said still stands.

The article notes that Bekele “even has a letter signed by Jean Ping who has been the chair of the African Union Commission. Ping was the AUC chair till last week when he was replaced by Dlamini-Zuma, a wife to South African president Jacob Zuma. In the letter, Ping offered AU’s assistance in mobilising African ministers and governments to rally behind Dot Connect Africa in getting the rights to administer DOTAFRICA.”

There were five applications for the .FREE gTLD and DomainNameWire looks at the competing applications and their plans if they’re successful. The applicants were Donuts, Amazon, Google, Top Level Domain Holdings and Uniregistry.

Daily Wrap: WIPO’s Draconian Cybersquatting Desires And Africa’s Paltry gTLD Applications

“Domain name owners who do not respond to cybersquatting complaints could automatically have their domains suspended, if the World Intellectual Property Organization gets its way,” reports Domain Incite.

The story comes from ICANN documents released following a request from the Internet Commerce Association and the documents relate to the Uniform Rapid Suspension policy, which will be binding on all new gTLDs.

In ICANN’s recent generic Top Level Domain expansion, there were four geographic applications from the African continent along with a few applications for brands such as M-Net and MultiChoice, for a “paltry” total of 13 gTLDs in English writes Howard Rybko, CEO of the South African Web design and content management company Syncrony in Tech Central.

Three Largest South African Cities Join gTLD Applicants

The three largest South African cities of Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town have all decided having their cities as generic Top Level Domains is a good idea and have joined with ZA Central Registry, who will apply for the gTLDs.

The three gTLDs – .JOBURG, .DURBAN and .CAPETOWN – will join .AFRICA as four applications ZA Central Registry submitted to ICANN in April before the TLD Application System was taken offline on 12 April due to a security problem.

Of the .AFRICA application, Uniforum SA director, Neil Dundas said “The dotAfrica TLD will bring the continent together as an internet community under one umbrella allowing e-commerce, technology and infrastructure to flourish,” according to MyBroadband.

Dundas said he hopes the .AFRICA gTLD will be launched in early 2013 with domain names priced at US$18 (R150) per year, while pricing for the South African city gTLDs will be slightly more expensive.

The applications for the city gTLDs were motivated by interest the registry has seen from various South African entities and because of the international trend of cities branding themselves and competing with each other for attention online, according to a Tech Central report.

A condition of the application for .AFRICA has been the establishment of a foundation to assist the African registrar community.

Vika Mpisane, Managing Director at the .ZA Domain Name Authority, told Tech Central that part of the application process was for a .AFRICA foundation to be established.

“This was an AU requirement,” Mpisane said. “There will be surplus [money] from commercial uptake and this is expected to be used to build a domain-name community. We’ve set up a steering committee, with the chairman based in Qatar.

“The model is simple: extra money goes into building an African registrar community. There are more than 1000 accredited registrars worldwide, but only four in Africa. We need to grow this number because registrars provide the marketing channel for domains.”

The bid for .AFRICA could be contested by other parties who previously have expressed an interest in applying for the gTLD, but with the application backed by the .ZA Domain Name Authority and the South African Department of Communications, as well as the support of the African Union (AU) and 40 of the 54 African states, it is likely to be the preferred bid. One of the rules for a geographic gTLD application is that it must have the support at least 60 per cent of the respective national governments in the region. But they also have to be concerned that “there may be no more than one written statement of objection to the application from relevant governments in the region and/or public authorities associated with the continent or the region.” Which would cause a problem if another applicant gained some support of a number of African states.

Sedari Signs On For .AFRICA And .MOSCOW gTLDs

Sedari logoA couple of weeks after signing on to assist the applicants for the .MOSCOW generic Top Level Domain, the Foundation for Assistance for Internet Technologies and Infrastructure Development (FAITID), Sedari has now announced it is cooperating with South Africa’s UniForum SA as the organisation leading a pan-African effort supported by the African Union to apply for the dotAfrica gTLD.

“This is an important step for organisations and individuals interested in acquiring an African online identity, as dotAfrica will give added visibility and identity to operations in the region,” said UniForum SA director, Neil Dundas explaining the rationale behind the gTLD. “We are pleased to be working with Sedari who is providing professional support for the ICANN application.”

“Sedari is delighted to be working on this inspirational domain name,” said Liz Williams, Sedari’s CEO. “This expansion of names is all about opportunity but also about empowerment: here is an opportunity to engage the continent of Africa and to help empower its people to make the web their own.”

The .MOSCOW agreement was the first city gTLD that Sedari is involved in and is one of a number of Internationalised Domain Name applicants they are advising. The Moscow application is for both .MOSCOW and .MOCKBA (in Cyrillic).

“Implementation of any TLD is a complicated project with many issues to resolve” says Dmitry Burkov, FAITID Board Member, “That’s why we’ve chosen Sedari as our strategic international partner for .MOSCOW and .МОСКВА. Sedari management has the experience and industry knowledge on ICANN that makes us confident the company is familiar with all the procedures of the corporation, in particular related to new TLDs. Together with Sedari we’ll make the project for Moscow top-level domains successful giving Russian users more choice in the domain name space.”

Organisations Vying For .AFRICA Advance Their Cases

The African Registry Consortium (ARC), a pan-African consortium that aims to administer the .AFRICA domain by Africans and for Africans, was publicising its case saying several of the players involved in ARC are also involved in the administration of the co.za domain name space in South Africa, which is currently under the administration of UniForum SA.

Meanwhile Njeri Rionge, one of Kenya’s most successful and revered serial entrepreneurs and also adviser to another contender for .AFRICA, DotConnectAfrica, was described as Africa’s most successful women by Forbes magazine.

“We see .AFRICA as the ideal opportunity to highlight African know-how and expertise”, said ARC Spokesman and founding member, Koffi Fabrice Djossou.

“One only has to look at how the co.za domain funds are applied by UniForum SA, to see the benefits of having the .AFRICA domain administered by an African organization,” said the ARC.

“UniForum`s co.za social responsibility initiative, for instance, launches at least two new computer labs at previously disadvantaged schools every single month, with more than 200 labs having already been completed.”

“This new domain will give the continent a truly African identity for the first time and will allow companies and organisations operating here to proudly highlight their African operations and identity,” says Djossou. However having a truly African identity online is the same goal as the DotConnectAfrica consortium.

According to ARC the goal is to promote an African identity for the continent while at the same time improving the security aspects around such a domain.

“ARC is seeking the backing of the African Union, as the AU has also recognised the commercial and social benefits that the .AFRICA domain may present,” he says.

At present, continues Djossou, ARC includes representatives from Senegal, Kenya, Benin and South Africa, and the door remains open to other African nations that may express interest in getting involved with ARC.

Both parties will be aiming to submit bids for .AFRICA when ICANN begins taking applications in its three months application window that commences on 12 January 2012. However it would be anticipated that due to costs, the bids would be able to work out a way forward together.

It is anticipated the winning consortium, or a collaboration, would have .AFRICA up and running in 2013 and that internationalised domains in French and Arabic would also be available some time in the future.

Competition Between Competing gTLD Bids Hots Up With Application Window 6 Months Away

With competition hotting up between new generic Top Level Domain applicants, and a three month application period to open on 12 January 2012 following ICANN’s approval of their Applicant Guidebook in Singapore last week, it is likely there will be a number of competing applications for the same gTLD.Likely gTLDs to receive more than one application include .AFRICA, .GAY and now .SCOT. For .GAY, Domain Name Wire reports a “Washington man has filed an intent-to-use trademark application for ‘.gay’ with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.”.AFRICA has seen competing applications from two groups, with the African Union Commission has stated categorically it is not supporting any application for the generic Top Level Domain .AFRICA despite claims from a potential applicant it has their support.”And now a gTLD for Scotland with .SCOT and .SCO being proposed by competing groups. The .SCO proposal website has not been updated since February 2009, but it appears there are also two .SCOT proposals.In an article in The Scotsman today, Joan McAlpine, an SNP MSP for the south of Scotland, writes “it is important that everyone in Scotland gets behind this officially approved bid which can be found at www.dotscot.net. This is the group that has government and cross-party backing, because it is run as a not for profit organisation.”A for profit body is behind a second .SCOT proposal. The organisation is called Scotnom. However writes McAlpine a “.SCOT TLD should be a community-based public resource rather than a private asset.””It is important that there is no confusion of the two organisations – remember dotscot.net and dotscot.org is the place to sign up if you want the bid to benefit the wider community.”To read the article by Joan McAlpine in The Scotsman in full, see:
news.scotsman.com/politics/Joan-McAlpine-Dotting-the-i39s.6792156.jp