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ICANN Strengthens its Technical Engagement in Africa and the Middle East

13 October 2021
By and Paul Muchene

Beginning in 2020, the ICANN organization's (org's) Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) has been strengthening its team in charge of technical engagement with the Internet community. The result, in part, is that we have joined ICANN as technical engagement specialists and are actively providing training, promoting research, and disseminating standards and best practices related to the security, stability, and resiliency of the DNS in the African and the Middle Eastern (MEA) regions. To learn more about improvements to the Technical Engagement team, please read this blog.

The key training modules offered by ICANN's Technical Engagement team can be found on its course catalog page. Its content is tailored to the specific needs of the audience and all current courses are now available in English and French.

Our goal is to provide more training to the technical community, which includes registries, registrars, resolver operators, telecommunication operators, Internet service providers (ISPs), regulators and government agencies, to name a few. Courses are also offered to academia, law enforcement agencies, civil society organizations, and Internet users, who are important stakeholders. Together we are working to keep the Internet open, accessible, secure, and resilient.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all technical engagement activities since 2020 have been held virtually. We use interactive tools to conduct training and webinars, a virtual online lab platform for hands-on training and WhatsApp or Telegram groups help provide technical support to attendees during the several days it takes to complete it.

We also collaborate with Internet Society (ISOC) chapters, regional NOGs, and the African Network Information Centre's (AFRINIC's) training team to provide these training sessions. Since joining ICANN, we have delivered approximately 100 presentations and training sessions across the region to various communities and conducted 15 hands-on training sessions on DNS operational best practices and Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) respectively, to organizations in Benin, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Morocco, Nigeria, Somalia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and Zimbabwe. We also actively collaborate with the Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC) in improving the delivery of training courses, specifically the online virtual lab platform.

Several operators, including MTN Benin and Orange Burkina-Faso, have benefited from our direct support in activating DNSSEC validation on their recursive resolvers. This has helped improve the overall DNSSEC validation rates in both countries. We are working with other operators in the region to provide them with the same support.

Currently, we are working on a DNSSEC deployment guidebook for country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) that will soon be published on the OCTO Publications web page. Additionally, in partnership with a ccTLD registry, we are currently piloting a new way to support a registry to sign their zone. We believe that these two initiatives will help accelerate DNSSEC adoption among ccTLD operators.

Much work still remains to be done to improve the adoption and implementation of Internet standards and best practices in the 70 disparate countries that make up this important part of the world. ICANN cannot do it alone; we need more involvement from all the stakeholders. Our team remains available to provide support. If you have any questions or concerns, contact us at octo@icann.org.


Yazid Akanho

Yazid Akanho

Technical Engagement Sr. Specialist
Paul Muchene

Paul Muchene