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African countries meet in capacity building efforts to harness Internet opportunities

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African countries have intensified efforts to build relevant capacity on the continent to fully exploit opportunities presented by the Internet.

With the Internet permeating virtually every aspect of life, in Africa, businesses and governments are increasingly relying on Internet as a vehicle for transformation.

Insufficient skills have slowed down the continent’s utilization of the Internet’s benefits.  Deliberate steps are necessary to address the capacity challenges.

Delegates from the region and officials from the global body responsible for assigning names and numbers, converged in Nairobi today to discuss how to leverage on the positive impact of the Internet how it can be translated into meaningful socio-economic gains.

The workshop convened by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the Communications Authority (CA) of Kenya saw calls for increased investment in ICTs and associated infrastructure.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communications and Technology, Mr.Joe Mucheru said Kenya has heavily invested in the expansion of Internet connectivity, to tap on its potential to catalyze socio-economic growth.

‘‘The proliferation of ICT innovations, improved government services and job creational are all benefits arising from Internet growth,” said Mr.Mucheru.

He added that given the vital nature of Internet resources, Kenya now identifies ICT infrastructure as Critical National Infrastructure and called on African countries to synergize in the growth of country code top level domains (ccTLD) and Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) as well as Cyber Incident Response Teams (CIRTS).

‘‘There is need to support the growth of national and regional IXPs to promote Internet traffic growth and subsequent affordability as well as safety of the Internet,’’ added the Cabinet Secretary.

ICANN President and CEO Goran Marby called for greater participation of African countries in the ICANN to draw from the wealth of experience needed to capitalize on the continent’s Internet resources.

“The African continent’s participation in ICANN is important and this why we have opened an ICANN engagement office here in Nairobi last year. Partcipation is growing every day, and we want to work together, within our mission, to make sure countries in Africa are well represented on one secure, stable and resilient global Internet,’’ noted Mr.Marby.

CA Director General Mr. Francis Wangusi lauded ICANN for its active engagement with African governments adding that Kenya was proud to host ICANN’s first regional engagement centre and the capacity building workshop.

“We are convinced that the continued capacity building of public policy makers and regulators on matters of Internet governance is crucial for the advancement of the Internet domain name system, which is a pillar to ICTs everywhere today,” said Mr.Wangusi.

The workshop also aims at raising awareness on how governments from underserved areas, through the Governmental Advisory Committee, can best effectively participate and contribute to policy making at ICANN.

 

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Melissa Daniels
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