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Kenya to Host ICANN's African Regional Engagement Office

Nairobi, Kenya… The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has launched its first African regional engagement office in Nairobi. ICANN made the announcement today at a press briefing during bilateral engagements with the ICT Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Joe Mucheru. Tarek Kamel, Senior Advisor to the President and Senior Vice President, Government and IGOs Engagement, Sally Costerton, Senior Advisor to The President & Senior Vice President, Global Stakeholder Engagement, and Pierre Dandjinou, VP Global Stakeholder Engagement for Africa were present at the briefing. The office located on 17th Floor of ICEA building will be officially unveiled at an event at the Intercontinental Hotel later in the evening, with various industry stakeholders present to witness the momentous occasion.

The move by ICANN to select Kenya as its African home is a stamp of approval to Kenya's increasingly important role in the Internet ecosystem. The regional presence will further deepen ICANN's engagement with African Governments as well as the private sector players.

Statistics by Communications Authority estimate that Kenya's mobile phone penetration stands at over 88% while Internet penetration stands at 82.6%, reaching about 35.5 million people making Kenya among the most connected population in the world. Kenya also boasts one of the most active online populations on the continent with users increasing every day. The growing reach of the Internet coupled with the rapid spread of mobile phones and the wide diffusion of social media have immensely contributed to Kenya's socio-economic development growth.

ICANN 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 Internet. Through its coordination role of the Internet's naming system, it does have an important impact on the global expansion and evolution of the Internet.

Addressing the media at a joint press briefing, ICT Cabinet Secretary Mr. Joe Mucheru, said that the government of Kenya recognizes and supports the efforts made by ICANN in ensuring the growth and development of Internet.

"Kenya has continued to work with regional bodies towards the growth of the Internet use in Africa and we are glad to have ICANN make Nairobi its first engagement office location for Africa. We believe that collaboration with ICANN will encourage investors in ICT to provide services from the Kenyan cyberspace through the hosting of root servers, Data centers, cloud services among others." Mr. Mucheru said.

Communications Authority of Kenya chairman Mr.Ngene Gituku said ICANN's regional presence in Africa and its choice of Kenya is a big boost to the ICT sector and further reasserts Kenya's position as an ICT powerhouse.

"As a regulator of the industry we are delighted that Kenya has been chosen to take a front row seat in matters of Internet policy. We are also glad that stakeholders across Africa will congregate here to help set and drive the ICT agenda for the continent. I therefore call upon the various actors in this space to join hands so that our synergies can lead to a better, safer ICT sector in Kenya and Africa at large," said Mr. Gituku.

"We are excited about this new phase for ICANN in Africa with the opening of our first engagement office in the region, here in Nairobi. Moreover, we are very thankful to the Kenyan Government and the community for their amazing support. Over the past three years, there has been much effort, dedication and goodwill from the community and ICANN staff in the implementation of the Africa Strategy," said Sally Costerton, Senior Advisor to The President & Senior Vice President, Global Stakeholder Engagement. "In March this year, during ICANN55 in Morocco, the ICANN board of directors and senior leadership announced the opening of the first ICANN engagement office in Africa. This is an important moment for us, as we increase our institutional engagement and outreach in Africa, to better serve the region."

ICANN follows a multi-stakeholder model in which individuals; non-commercial stakeholder groups, industry, and governments play important roles in its community-based, consensus-driven, internet policy-making approach. Its headquarters is based in Los Angeles, California USA, with two operational hubs in Istanbul, Turkey and Singapore. In addition to engagement offices in Beijing, Brussels, Geneva, Montevideo, Seoul, Washington, D.C and today Nairobi, Kenya to afford wider reach and accessibility.

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Media Contacts

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

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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."