[AfrICANN-discuss] New Africa Internet group pushes regional issues at ICANN

Anne-Rachel Inné annerachel at gmail.com
Fri Mar 13 19:12:03 SAST 2009

New Africa Internet group pushes regional issues at ICANN
By Rebecca Wanjiku, Computerworld Kenya
12 Mar, 2009

To make African Internet users' voices heard internationally, the
Africa-At-Large Organization (AFRALO) held its inaugural meeting last week
on the sidelines of the Mexico City meeting of the Internet Corporation for
Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

"AFRALO meetings will be held at every future ICANN meeting," said Fatimata
Seye Sylla, president of the tech professional organization Bokk Jang Bokk
Jeff in Senegal. "All participants expressed commitment to work together for
a more meaningful participation of Africa in ICANN-related issues," Sylla

African issues have been underrepresented in ICANN, industry insiders say.
Paul Levins, ICANN vice president of corporate affairs, has acknowledged
that there exists a gap within ICANN
issues affecting developed and developing countries.

While Africa grapples with issues of connectivity and access, ICANN meetings
address larger issues such as the introduction of new generic Top Level
Domains, security and Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), which are
important to Internet development but remote for Africans with no access.

ICANN plans boost underserved regions through a new outreach policy, as part
of its overall development strategy.

"There are a number of initiatives ongoing: training on security, stability
and resiliency for country court Top Level Domains," said Ann-Rachel Inne,
the Africa liaison at ICANN, in response to an online forum query posed by
Yassin Mshana, a former Africa representative in ICANN. Mshana questioned
how far implementation of the outreach policy had gone.

ICANN is also offering fellowship for civil society and government
representatives to participate in public meetings, and ICANN staff is
reaching out to local communities and universities and organizing regional
meetings, Inne said.

There are various At-Large groups within ICANN that address issues affecting
individual Internet users and participate in ICANN policy development work.
At-Large representatives attending the Mexico summit came from Africa;
Europe; Asia-Australia; the Pacific islands; Latin America and the Caribbean
islands; and North America.

In a meeting report, however, the At-Large groups said that there is uneven
participation and engagement in ICANN-related issues and a lack of
mechanisms to connect ICANN with the end-users.

   - Africa/Middle
   - Internet <http://www.computerworld.co.ke/category/internet>
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