[AfrICANN-discuss] Africa : Domain Name Meeting urges Africa to end internet drought

LO MAMADOU alfamamadou at hotmail.com
Mon Mar 15 16:12:07 SAST 2010

Africa: Domain Name Meeting Urges Africa to End Internet Drought
Michael Ouma
15 March 2010

Nairobi — A global Internet security firm has asked African leaders to make the Internet more accessible and affordable in order to promote social and economic development.

At the 37th session of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) held in Nairobi from March 8-12, industry players noted that the Internet was key to overall GDP growth.

Icann's chief executive, Rod Beckstrom said: "A new drought has emerged in Africa -- an Internet access drought. We would like to help African leaders to end it, as online commerce is becoming important around the globe."

Mr Beckstrom singled out Kenya as an example of an African state that has embraced emerging online networks, with its growing fibre optic system and its potential for expansion across the continent.

"Africa's young generation is already embracing the Internet any way it can, and they want more. This can be seen from the fact that 77 per cent of Kenyans want to spend more time online while 63 per cent want more and better access to the Internet," said Mr Beckstrom.

In harmony with its Vision 2030 economic blueprint, the Kenya government intends to increase the sector's contribution to the country's GDP from 3 per cent to over 10 per cent in the next three years.

Mr Beckstrom urged other African nations to end telecoms monopolies which, "increase the price of Internet services, trapping the poor in a technological drought."

He said that despite Africa making up for about 15 per cent of the world's population, the continent accounts for less than 7 per cent of Internet users globally.

Icann, formed in 1998, is a non-profit organisation that was incorporated in the United Sates to keep the Internet secure, stable and interoperable, by promoting competition and developing policies on its unique identifiers.

Icann has representation from all over the world.

Speaking at the meeting, Kenya's Information and Communications Minister Samuel Poghisio said the hosting of Icann in Africa provided industry players and government officials in the developing world, an opportunity to learn, first-hand, the continent's needs and challenges in the ICT sector.

Mr Poghisio said although the number of Internet users in Kenya still stood at about 4.5 million according to the Communications Commission of Kenya, the registry with the ".ke" domain had shown signs of positive growth.

In July 2007 for instance, registered users stood at about 7,000 and a year later, they were 9,486, with the number of domain registrars growing from 77 to 105.

Kenya Network Information Centre (Kenic), which manages the ".ke" domain saw its revenue within the same period grow by 21 per cent, from $168,057 (Ksh12.6 million) to $202,555 (Ksh15.2 million).

"We are currently developing an investment policy with the aim of ensuring Kenic maintains at least a one-year cash reserve within the next three years," said Mr Poghisio.

The CCK director general, Charles Njoroge said at the meeting's opening session that the East African region was in the process of setting up an Internet exchange portal that will ensure local traffic is kept within member countries' borders.

"We are establishing computer emergency response teams. Kenya's will be named KE-CERT," said Mr Njoroge.

KE-CERT is expected to manage cyber security in the country through co-ordinated response to related incidents, awareness creation and provision of advisories among others.


Source : East African
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