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ICANN Signs Agreements with Qatar and Egypt Promoting the DNS Industry and IG Multi-stakeholder Approach in the Middle East and Africa | Establishment of a Regional DNS Entrepreneurship Center (DNS-EC)

London, UK…ICANN announced today the signing of two important agreements during the High-Level Government Meeting at ICANN's 50th Public Meeting in London. Attended by approximately 30 ministers from around the globe the signing showcases ICANN's continued regional engagement amongst different stakeholders, in promoting the DNS industry and the Internet governance multistakeholder approach nationally, regionally and globally.

"As the Internet evolves to accommodate the needs of the next billion users – most of whom will not be using a Latin keyboard – it is critical that we, as the greater Internet community, continue to build the necessary infrastructure and capacity for its growth," said Fadi Chehadé, President of ICANN. "Such strategic partnerships are the best way for ICANN to extend its reach globally and support the excellent work being done at local levels."

The agreement ICANN signed today with Mr. Hesham Al-Alaily, Executive President of Egypt's National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA), specifically calls for the establishment of a regional DNS Entrepreneurship Center (DNS-EC) in Cairo, to serve communities in Africa and the Middle East. The Center aims to contribute to the evolution of the domain name sector in Africa and the Middle East by developing and providing expertise in DNS technical, policy and entrepreneurial areas, as well as providing resources to support the implementation of initiatives and projects in this field.

The project will be implemented in three phases – Foundation (1 July 2014-30 June 2015), Launch (1 July 2015-30 June 2017) and Operation (Ongoing). The aim is for the DNS-EC to become an independent entity serving Africa and the Middle East by the end of Phase I – 30 June 2015.

"I am pleased to kick-start, today, this partnership between NTRA and ICANN, for the establishment of a DNS Entrepreneurship Center in Egypt. The foundation of the DNS Entrepreneurship Center presents an important milestone, materializing the plans set out by the Middle East Strategy for ICANN. This also comes in line with Egypt's strategy to become a main Internet Hub for the region, capitalizing on its geographic location and potential calibers," said Hesham Al-Alaily. "I believe that the partnership established today confirms a joint commitment to the region and its emerging domain name markets. It aims at growing the local and regional markets by developing local expertise in domain name-related areas: technical, policy, and entrepreneurial. Anchored in Egypt, I am confident that this Center will play a key role in the Middle East and African regions and will serve as a catalyst for developing the DNS industry and the Internet ecosystem at large."

As for the agreement with Qatar, signed by H.E Dr. Hessa Al Jaber, Minister of Information and Communications Technology, it focuses on all involved parties agreeing to cooperate with the overall aim of supporting the development of the domain name industry and Internationalized Domain Names (such as those in Arabic script) in the region, as well as to promote the multistakeholder model of Internet Governance. It also calls for the collaboration in joint projects and activities in areas related to ICANN's mission and mandate.

"We are pleased to have a strategic partnership with ICANN to enhance our national efforts in positioning Qatar as a prominent player in the global digital economy. Qatar will also support ICANN's multi-stakeholder model and globalization efforts to ensure that the Internet remains open and accessible for everyone." Stated Dr. Hessa Al Jaber, Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Qatar.

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Media Contacts

Luna Madi
EMEA, Communications Director
London, UK
Tel: +44 7780 947574
Email: luna.madi@icann.org

About ICANN

ICANN's mission is to ensure a stable, secure and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet you have to type an address into your computer - a name or a number. That address has to be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without that coordination we wouldn't have one global Internet. ICANN was formed in 1998. It is a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet's unique identifiers. ICANN doesn't control content on the Internet. It cannot stop spam and it doesn't deal with access to the Internet. But through its coordination role of the Internet's naming system, it does have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet. For more information please visit: www.icann.org.

Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."