After a successful meeting in Dublin in October 2015, we began the countdown to ICANN55 in Marrakech. Three years have passed since ICANN held its last public meeting in Africa – in Durban, South Africa – and since then, the African community has been looking forward to ICANN55. I am thrilled that, once again, the African community will welcome the global Internet community to Africa.
Marrakech: A Defining Moment
Africa is proud to welcome you to ICANN55, which is shaping up to be a historical meeting – for ICANN and the Internet as a whole. We are optimistic that the proposals necessary for the IANA Stewardship Transition will be finalized and submitted to the ICANN Board this week. Also, this week you will meet Göran Marby, who will succeed Fadi Chehadé as President and CEO.
Africa is at the epicenter of these critical milestones. Additionally, ICANN55 will witness the third high-level governmental meeting of the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), where many African governments have sent representatives.
Africa: A Pioneer of Ideas
Africa has always been a launching ground and a pioneer for new ideas in the Domain Name Industry. As the saying goes, “Ex Africa semper Aliquid Novi!” (“Always something new out of Africa!”). Indeed, nearly five years ago, just before the ICANN42 meeting in Dakar, Senegal, the African Ministerial Conference issued a communiqué that called for ICANN to increase its presence in Africa. A few years later, ICANN commissioned the African community to develop the first regional strategic plan in a bottom-up process. If you’d like to learn about this remarkable journey and where we are today, please come to the Africa Strategy session on Wednesday, 9 March from 15:45 to 17:00 WET in the Atlas room.
ICANN55 and Beyond
Going forward, ICANN will seek greater and deeper engagement with our stakeholders, especially governments and business constituencies. It is my hope that African stakeholders from all groups, whether attending remotely or in person, will work as peers with stakeholders from around the world, and will take this opportunity to engage constructively. ICANN55 is a great setting for all of you to work together. That said, and though a full program awaits you this week, we hope that you can find some time to explore this magnificent city!