[AfrICANN-discuss] Help with .africa history

Dr Yassin Mshana ymshana2003 at gmail.com
Thu Jun 28 19:53:52 SAST 2012

Dear Rebecca,

Thank you for asking for information that will help in writing the History
of .africa. That gives a good feeling.

I have read your draft (a provocative work in progress version) - you have
attended a number of ICANN meetings, IGFs, ICT Fora and other Internet
related development activities; that might be the reason for the need to
write the History (if it has been made? - good stuff!)

May I suggest that you interview participants at the ICANN-Accra meeting
(2000) because most of them were from business constituent i.e. one of the
pillars that ICANN policies/structure are built? You will hear conflicting
version of the story from individuals based on their personal interests or
wishes (need I say more to you the Journalist?). I do not wish to suggest
that you do not contact such individuals - please do listen to all what
they say and extract the Truth.

Secondly, may strongly suggest that you avoid the politicization of the
Internet in our continent (it is unfortunate so): you know very well how
Political changes have affected some of the economic activities in our
beloved Africa. Political changes have had mixed effects in the development
of Internet-based economies e.g. simple mobile telephony is not enjoyed
freely by all Africans let alone access to the Internet. The appetite to
control the phenomenon is there - that is what ICANN community is not in
favour of.

May I suggest that you interview a cross-section of Africans who have
served in the ICANN Board to date in order to get the inside story that cab
be open to public (if FOI applies) - Kenya and Senegal had reps at the
ICANN Board. In addition, ccNSO Council and the At-Large members will share
their stories on ICANN Policy Dev Processes.

Unfortunately there has been mudslinging when we Africans found that
.africa was up for grabs!!! Shamelessly, character assassinations took
place, political bodies were brought in, Government Officials were invited
to meetings attended by a minority individual opinion leaders, businesses
and organisations that may have not necessarily represented the wishes of
all Africans [The big question issue here is, that mode of self-selection
to represent Africa may be biased or mislead - it happened - please dwell
on what happened during pre-ICANN Dakar mtg and what followed after that -
not a 100% happy].

It seems that gTLD saga is putting African Internet business in a delicate
situation: Is it a new version of Scramble for Africa by Africans? The PDP
by ICANN is there to refer to in addition to clear Guidelines for gTLD
applications, one wonders why the infighting? Is that a sign of maturity,
strength or weakness - market forces will give the answer. We may lose the
chance to take part in the global economy due to manner some
opinion-leaders in Internet Development in Africa behaved.

[In that case, it would be fair to record the African struggle for a place
in the Internet-based economy is marked by some elements of
misrepresentations, some Pull Him/Her Down, elbowing, shoving and undue use
of influences (especially external)  - whew!!... it is war!] Some divisions
emerged as well..... Do we constitute a Team or a Group of individuals?
Shall we win that way?

I am pleased to have this chance to write about this concern - otherwise we
will hear it from non-African sources.

God bless Africa and its people who protect and promote the vulnerable!!



There may be many

On 28 June 2012 08:59, Rebecca Wanjiku <rebecca.wanjiku at gmail.com> wrote:

> I am writing on the history of .africa and there seems to be conflicting
> information on when the initial expression of running of .africa was made.
> Was there an actual application to ICANN or not?
> If you have a recollection of the events then, please help me out.
> I have drafted the brief history and if there is another part of it that I
> am getting wrong, please correct me.
> Here it is....
> History of dot Africa
> At the beginning of the second round of the new Generic Top Level Domain
> (gTLD) application in 2000, an entrepreneur from a western country had the
> idea of running dot Africa.
> The entrepreneur approached Nii Quaynor and Pierre Danjinou, Africa's well
> known technology ambassadors to organize support for the redelegation and
> operation of the geographic domain.
> By the time ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers)
> held its first meeting in Africa in Accra in 2002, the idea of redelegation
> of dot Africa was floated to other experts and the feeling was that at that
> time, Africa had other more challenging problems like redelegation of
> country code Top Level Domains, connectivity infrastructure issues, and
> policy development among other challenges.
> It was largely agreed that the best approach was to tackle the elementary
> problems such as connectivity and redelegation of ccTLDs before dealing
> with dot Africa, but the debate continued.
> Some of the elementary problems were: connecting the Eastern Africa region
> with the fiber optic cable to reduce its reliance on satellite
> connectivity, increasing the number of fiber optic cables in west Africa to
> further reduce connectivity costs, boosting network infrastructure to
> interconnect different countries and exchange content locally and
> developing registry operations to support growth of country code Top Level
> Domains, among other challenges.
> The policy and infrastructure discussions started an investment wave that
> saw several investors coming together to initiate several fiber optic
> cables in such-EASSY, TEAMS, and SEACOM among others. These investment
> vehicles were both private and public-private partnerships.
> By 2006, it was clear that the connectivity hurdle was going to be cleared
> and the debate focused back to dot Africa. In the meantime, European
> countries had rallied behind dot EU and Asian countries were galvanizing
> support for dot Asia.
> In Africa, the debate was centered around the shape and form of dot Africa
> organization, and the role governments and private sector would play in
> promoting dot Africa, and how the organization would contribute to training
> and infrastructure development.
> Between 2007 and 2008, a private sector initiative emerged, promising to
> run dot Africa with the support of the African Union but it was marred by
> controversy because the African Union Commission only expressed its
> intention to rally African countries behind dot Africa in 2009 and in 2010,
> Africa TLD organization (AfTLD) which brings together ccTLDs in the region,
> rendered its support to the AUC in sponsoring and selecting the right
> organization to run dot Africa TLD.
> In 2011, the AU invited interested companies based in Africa to express
> interest in running dot Africa, clearly showing their registry operational
> experience, stating where the registry operations will be based, how the
> operation will benefit African countries and a methodology of how these
> benefits will trickle down.
> After deliberations on the technical, financial ability and benefits to
> Africa tech community, UNIFORUM was selected by the AUC as the organization
> to establish and run dot Africa.
> --
> Best regards,
> Becky
> 254 720318925
> www.wanjiku.co.ke
> twitter; wanjiku
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> AfrICANN at afrinic.net
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