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ICANN is calling on the African community to provide comments and input on appropriate modes and locations for ICANN regional presence and more significant participation in ICANN activities

Final - 9/16/04- embargo: 530p South Africa, 430p London, 1130a D.C., 830a L.A.

ICANN Highlights Africa's Expanding Internet Role at Highway Africa

Engages African Community for Proposal on Regional Office

Grahamstown, South Africa - September 16, 2004 - At Highway Africa 2004 today, the Internet Corporation for Assigned of Names and Numbers (ICANN) president and CEO Paul Twomey , along with ICANN board member Mouhamet Diop of Senegal, discussed the growing involvement of Africa in the core Internet structures. ICANN also invited the African community to engage with ICANN in identifying appropriate modes and locations on the African continent for an ICANN regional presence and how a local presence can assist with operational issues.
Comments should be sent to the email address
An archive of these comments will be available at

"ICANN has been working to foster greater global participation, and a presence in Africa will support improved communications and understanding of local issues", stated Twomey. "A regional presence also will allow ICANN to hand off operational issues across time zones to expedite processing and responsiveness. We are seeking input from the African community on the key form and functions most important to Africa."

Responsibilities of an African regional presence will include:

  • Supporting and engaging local community members, such as At-Large organisations, members of the technical community and Country Code Top Level Domains, on specific issues of concern to the region;
  • Interacting with regional governments to identify outreach efforts;
  • Providing support for and the establishment of the African Regional Internet Registry, AfricNIC, currently in the application process;
  • Facilitating local input and liaison for ICANN's Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees that form an essential component of ICANN's bottom-up, consensus-based policy development process. ICANN will seek participation of local entities in establishing an Africa presence, including potentially the donation of infrastructure, office space, and staffing.

"ICANN's participatory multi-stakeholder model encompasses the representation and involvement of all regions of the world," said Diop. "It is important that the Africa region is involved in the core structures and technical policy making for the Internet's systems of unique identifiers. Africa has an opportunity, and indeed a responsibility, to support one global interoperable Internet that facilitates technology and economic growth worldwide."

"With increased interaction between civil society, business, and governments across the African continent, we are seeking to ensure Africa's information and communications technology will be aligned with and integral to Internet growth and development," said Twomey.

AfriNIC formally filed its application in early September 2004 to start the review and technical processes for it to become a Regional Internet Registry.

Earlier this month, ICANN certified the Internet Society Congo (ISOC) as a new member of ICANN's At-Large Advisory Committee. ISOC Congo is a non-profit association with approximately 200 members; it provides information on Internet-related issues to users in the Democratic Republic of Congo and promotes the Internet in the Congo.

Moving to establish an Africa regional presence is part of ICANN's commitment to preserving the operational stability and security of the Internet, promoting choice and competition for registrants, and achieving broad representation of the global Internet community.

About Highway Africa 2004 Highway Africa is the world's largest annual gathering of African journalists and the only event of its kind in Africa. In its 8th year, Highway Africa 2004's theme is "Media making the Information Society." More than 300 of delegates are attending from across Africa. The conference is organized by the Rhodes University Department of Journalism and Media Studies and co-hosted by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), with the SA Department of Communications contributing as a partner institution. For more information please visit:

ICANN is an internationally organized, public benefit non-profit responsible for coordinating Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top-Level Domain name system management, and root server system management functions. For more information please visit:

Media Contact: Media inquiries, please contact Kieran Baker, ICANN + 1-310-774-1742 or in London on +44-207-067-2546.

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