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Press Release: ICANN Investment in Africa Enables Safer, Faster Internet Access Across the Continent

Fifth Worldwide ICANN Managed Root Server Cluster Goes Live in Nairobi, Kenya.

NAIROBI, KENYA – 15 November 2022 – Internet users in Africa will soon have faster access to services on the Internet and better protection from cyberattacks. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), in cooperation with its regional partners, is deploying a new ICANN Managed Root Server (IMRS) cluster in Nairobi, Kenya. ICANN is a global non-profit organization that coordinates the Domain Name System (DNS) and plays a key role in ensuring a global, interoperable, and secure Internet.

An IMRS cluster helps improve DNS infrastructure in any country, territory, or region of the world. It is key to stimulating Internet access and strengthening Internet stability. The IMRS cluster will reduce the impact of potential cyberattacks across Africa. One of the most common types of attacks, distributed denial-of-service attacks, works by overwhelming servers with a flood of queries or Internet traffic. IMRS clusters provide higher bandwidth and data processing capacity to alleviate some of that traffic.

"Improving users' access to the Internet in Africa, and their safety while using it, is part of ICANN's mission to help make the Internet more secure, stable, and resilient across the world," said Göran Marby, ICANN President and CEO. "The installation of this new IMRS cluster would not have been possible without the participation of the local community. We are grateful to the Kenyan government for its support and commitment to advancing Internet accessibility across Africa."

"The installation of the IMRS cluster aligns with our mission to digitally transform not only our own country but the entire continent, through regulation, partnership, and innovation. We are proud to help bring a more resilient Internet to a larger audience in Africa," said Hon. Eliud Owalo, Cabinet Secretary for Information, communications and the Digital Economy – Republic of Kenya.

Installing this IMRS cluster in Africa ensures that Internet queries can be answered within the region, which limits its dependence on networks and servers in other parts of the world. The IMRS cluster also boosts national and regional resiliency by helping root server traffic stay local.

"This project is the result of years of collaboration between the local and regional technical community, ICANN, and others. We recognize that having the IMRS cluster at the Kenya exchange point (KIXP) will improve Internet services on our continent for Internet users due to the presence of carriers from across the continent at KIXP," said Fiona Asonga, Chief Executive Officer of the Technology Service Providers of Kenya, a non-profit organization representing the interests of technology service providers in Kenya.

ICANN has been actively engaging with the African technical community since the early 2000s. It provides capacity development for many technical organizations, working closely with the African Network Operators Group and partners such as the Africa Top Level Domains Organization and African Network Information Centre.

There are five IMRS clusters in the world, two in North America, one in Europe, one in Asia, and the newest one in Africa. Three additional IMRS clusters will be installed in the next two years.

ICANN encourages qualified network operators to host IMRS instances in their country or region to serve root data. Interested parties in Africa may contact ICANN at:

Media Resources:
ICANN in Africa FAQ
ICANN Managed Root Server (IMRS) FAQ


ICANN's mission is to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you have to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique, so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation and a community with participants from all over the world.

Media Contact

Luna Madi
Communications Director, EMEA
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
Mobile: +90 (533) 031 35 05

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"""" is not an IDN."