Over two years ago, the African community met in Prague (ICANN 44) for a historic meeting chaired by Dr. Steve Crocker and then incoming President and CEO Fadi Chehade. The outcome was a new approach to Africa focused on:
- Developing a framework for ICANN's Africa strategy (initial plan announced October 2012);
- Supporting stronger ICANN presence in Africa;
- Increasing Africa's participation in ICANN.
The meeting also resulted in the formation of a volunteer, nine-member African Working Group (dubbed Africa Strategy Working Group – ASWG), whose mission it was to develop an African strategy. The group was motivated by the realization that Africa lacked commensurate participation in the ICANN ecosystem to compliment her emerging economies.
In fact, the ministerial meeting held alongside the ICANN Dakar meeting in October 2011 had issued a communiqué calling on ICANN to increase its presence in Africa.
This group developed the current 2012 – 2015 Africa Strategic Plan with support from the African community. The initial plan was presented during ICANN 45 in Toronto and launched in January 2013.
Quite a journey!
Subsequently, there has been much effort and goodwill in the implementation of this document, which largely focuses on capacity building and increasing awareness about ICANN, Internet governance issues, as well as building a sustainable DNS industry in Africa. ICANN also established its presence in Africa with three dedicated staff members.
However, ICANN has received feedback, which shows an urgent need for a review of the strategic plan and revisions to some of its objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs). It is imperative that our strategic plan evolve with the needs of the community, while also aligning with the current ICANN 2016-2020 strategic plan.
Since the launch of the Africa plan, it is important to recognize Africa's improved awareness about ICANN and the greater Internet ecosystem. In response to this clear direction, our community will convene a special consultative session during the upcoming AFRINIC 21, scheduled for November 22-28, 2014 in Mauritius. During this meeting, we will engage and work with you to re-evaluate the Africa Strategy. Representatives from AFNOG, AFRINIC, AFTLD, GAC, AFRALO, AFICTA, NEPAD and African Registrars associations are invited.
Some of the topics we will discuss include:
- How do we improve Africa's participation in ICANN?
- How do we grow and monetize the DNS industry in Africa through partnership and collaboration?
- How do we determine the modalities of appointing a Steering Committee to oversee the implementation of the Africa Strategy going forward.
With six of the world's fastest growing economies coming from Africa and the youngest population in the world (U.N. data), this presents an opportunity for you to define your own agenda and take leading roles in ICANN and the wider Internet space.
Start active and meaningful participation in ICANN and make Africa's voice heard and her influence felt by seizing the opportunities in the DNS industry.