Africa has experienced massive internet expansion over the past decade and penetration continues to increase, led primarily by growth in access through mobile devices. However, overall, it can be more difficult to register in an internet domain in Africa than in other regions. One way to address this issue is to encourage the growth of the domain register sector. Through our Africa strategy we’re helping to bring new opportunities in choice, competition and innovation to Africa.
The ICANN Africa strategy now in its third year is designed to contribute to the development and expansion of the internet on the continent. Outlining the strategy today at a press briefing hosted by Pierre Dandjinou, the Vice President of Stakeholder Engagement said ICANN is committed to helping facilitate the development of the domain name system across Africa which will bring with it business opportunities and the potential for economic growth.
New internet developments
ICANN is currently overseeing a major expansion of the DNS with the introduction of up to 1,300 new domains known as generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs). This represents one of the biggest changes to the internet since its inception. New gTLDs bring significant change and new possibilities.
The new gTLDs allow companies, brands, communities and entrepreneurs to own and manage a piece of the internet’s infrastructure injecting new ideas for the benefit of end users. They also enhance competition in the domain industry and have significant potential as platforms for innovation.
The current gTLD expansion is the beginning of the evolving internet that ICANN has committed to opening a subsequent round of applications as soon as possible.
Africa’s involvement in building the internet
Africa has shown interest in participation of developing the future of internet in the continent. The participation has been commended as an important process currently taking place known as the IANA Stewardship Transition. In March 2014, the US Government announced that it had tasked ICANN to convene an inclusive and global discussion to develop proposals for transitioning the stewardship of the IANA functions, technical functions that support the DNS to the global multi-stake holder community.
Since that announcement, the global ICANN community has worked tirelessly on a transition proposal as well as related proposal enhancing ICANN’s accountability. The IANA Stewardship Transition is an opportunity for all of the nations of Africa to help shape the future governance of the internet. The recent IANA month outreach had 14 countries participating in consultations to discuss these processes and look at ways of involvement.