The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> MODERATOR: Please take your seats. We are starting.
Thank you very much for being with us today, and welcome to IGF 2022 and Addis Ababa. Welcome also to Town Hall 98, "Launch of the Coalition for Digital Africa" with ICANN. My name is Ann Michelle and I'm the regional director for ITU in Africa, based here in Addis Ababa and I will be moderating this panel that will tell us about the superb thing that ICANN and partners are doing on this continental for real impactful, meaningful infrastructure.
So welcome again and the session is going to be 60 minutes. We've already eaten up 15 minutes so hopefully you will bear with us, because I think the next one is lunchtime for all of you.
I have here as panelists Mr. Goran Marby. Mr. Pierre Dandijnou and Mr. John Omo and then Barack ‑‑ is Barack around? Yes, Barack Otieno. Thank you all for being here.
So the point of this session is really to allow, you know, partners of ICANN and also the project to be introduced to you, to tell you what is going to happen next, and hope for all of your not only cooperation, but active cooperation and truly meaningful, again, impact for the continent. So without further ado, since we're probably going to be looking for time, I will pass the floor to Goran so he can introduce himself for the sake of all the non‑converts that are here because I see a lot of familiar faces.
And give us his introductory remarks. Thank you.
>> GORAN MARBY: These are going to be short. You always start with that when you are going to start at length. My name is Goran Marby. I'm have the honor to be the ICANN President and CEO. I'm happy to be here. I recognize many of you, but I also know that you are active IGF and here at the IGF, you talk about this thing called Internet all the time.
So I want to talk about the Internet as a technology because that's actually what we are. So every time you go online, you hit on something that originates from ICANN or the technical partner. It's the IP addresses and the protocol and the DNS. You are not alone in that. We have about 5.3 billion users in the world doing it. And interestingly enough, Africa is up fastest growers/users. You have gone less to close to 50% in a decade or something. You should be very proud of that. But to be able to take the next step, we have to do things differently and Africa is very unique and that means we have to figure out new ways to work together. And this coalition is about finding new ways to make a different on a more local level to make people work together to not only fix the biggest problems but actually fix the problems that are essential for the people in Africa.
One thing that is important for me, Internet for Africa is for Africans and by Africans. You have the knowledge and the skills to solve any problems that you have here. And that's why I'm happy to set up this organization and I will leave it over to my friends over here.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Goran. You heard him for Africans with Africans. I will add by Africans. So let's make it work. Pierre, you are next.
>> PIERRE DANDIJINOU: Thank you, Rochelle, and very good morning to everyone. I'm Pierre Dandijnou, in charge of stakeholder engagement and coordinating what you call the ICANN Africa strategy in Africa.
I'm just happy to be here, recognizing so many friends here. I just wanted to highlight the fact that we are doing here today is a kind of continuation of something that really there started some kind of ten years ago. Also it reminds me that exactly in 1993 we were here as ICANN to actually talk about something at that time which we called ‑‑ was it ‑‑ I mean, multistakeholder Internet Governance works.
In fact, that was when we really came up with the idea that we should make sure that we establish a few activities to promote, you know, digital transformation in Africa, and by doing this, we were actually having a few sort of ideas and evolves into what we call the strategy for Africa.
Strategy that the community actually ‑‑ the Internet community here from Africa actually designed and what we have been doing so far is to kind of implement those projects.
I won't go through those projects because that's not what we are here to do. Suffice it to say, some of the things that we were able to do is they studied we did on the DNS, you know, the DNS market with Africa five or six years ago and you the community wanted us to update this document, for instance, which has been done. I mean, it's ongoing now, you will have a new version of this study which is crucial for you to have any idea, a picture of what is happening on this. ICANN is about DNS, actually.
So we did a few things in terms of capacity and development and DNSSEC for the security. So the coalition we will launch is a continuation, in fact, but also is a landmark in terms of what I might call promoting digital transformation in Africa.
The coalition has three pillars. The first one is about the accessibility, in fact, while we do have those infrastructure, the first one is going to be how you defend the infrastructure. It's actually a way that all of those know who still need to be connected can find out easily.
We found out that within this environment, we can make a difference and we are already seeing this and one of the pros that we launched, you know, 15 days ago. It's about the Internet for a cluster which is important to keep African traffic and data within Africa and not sending it outside of Africa and it’s coming back. We are already seeing this. We had our partners on the ground who can provide data on that. This is about infrastructure. The second one is accessibility to the Internet. It's about your multilingualism. It's about how you eventually develop your own scripts and your own language. We have projects on that one as well, and we do have partners. We do have African associations and universities. We have people here who will talk about it soon.
I spoke about the security, you know, the DNS. We have a project on that one. We do have partners. We are looking for more partners. 54 African countries today, less than 15 of them have signed a zone file. That means you are making your destination real secure. So it's important that this be done for we do have a project, and this is part of the whole coalition thing.
A few of the things that we will develop as we move them, beyond the three years program and, of course, professor was asking me about, you know, sustainability and ownership and all of this is going to be built within the system as we move on.
In a nutshell, that's what I would like to say, as far as the coalition is concerned. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Pierre. On a personal note, I'm going to tell you a little anecdote. In 1997, conference room 3 right here in UNECA. So Pierre and I sitting at the same table one of the only ladies, right in the Africa Information Society initiative that took into account the creation of AFRINIC, and basically all of the Internet organizations that we're having today on the continent.
Thank you very much! But I am glad to see this coalition today, because we definitely failed at something, since the continent is still at 33% connectivity.
So going it alone is not there. It's got to be together to go far. And I'm really, really glad to see the African association of universities here represented so they can do their part. Prof, over to you.
>> OLUSOLA BANDELE OYEWOLE: It's very important that universities come on board this initiative. I represent the Association of African Universities and, indeed, we stand as the voice of higher education in the couldn't enter in. This is not our first time of being involved in the Internet ecosystem. For a long time, the association of African universities has been promoting the need to build infrastructures in Africa. The need to develop policies and the need to amass the capacity of ICT to improve access to quality education in the continent.
I remember in 2007, we started April initiative at AAU for the establishment of national research education networks and many of us today we have seen the impact of the itinerants in different cities in Africa.
Beyond this, the Association of African Universities is committed to capacity building on Internet‑related activities. All of us we agree that capacity for Internet‑related issues in Africa is still relatively low and this needs to be enhanced. I heard many people say today that Africa has the youngest and green educated workforce, needing higher education consumption of online services.
You cannot deny the fact that our youths are hungry to be connected are youths are looking forward to the development Internet capabilities within the African continent.
In the last session that we had, I saw some challenges facing the Internet ecosystem in Africa.
I indicated that the lack of assets of affordable Internet is major. We still today have poor Internet in different places. We are having low Internet infrastructures. This is one area we need to work on. Our capacity to afford bandwidth to run our internal system is still questionable. And then we have the need to build the capacity. As I mentioned earlier on, the association of African universities is bringing the academia to get involved in Internet actors within the continent. We are happy to join this coalition. For our own members, the universities in Africa. Including the research networks in Africa to have platforms to the domain names in the continent.
When we were going to join this coalition. I asked myself, what are the benefits that we come out of this coalition? What are the things we should expect on this coalition? One, we expect with this coalition, it will help us to enhance the Internet infrastructure. We also expect that this coalition that we are entering today will create Internet assets within the country and enhance Internet security in Africa.
We hope it's going to improve the participation and the contributions from Africa in the multistakeholder making processes at the global level. Situations where we do not have African voice, at this global level is not okay. And therefore, we need to get involved. Capacity building for entrepreneurship, our people are yearning to enhance the benefit of the Internet to promote and be innovative and to promote digital trade and economy is very high right now. I hope that this coalition will help us to strengthen and improve the domain systems in Africa.
I hope that a day will come when my language is used and domain name for some institutions in Africa. We hope that this collaboration will generally promote the digital inclusivity for Africa, which will create opportunities for Africa to build, look at content and build real Internet‑based businesses within the continent.
As mentioned earlier on by Mr. Pierre, we in AAU, we have a particular project that we have started already, and we hope that we'll be able to launch this project in the next few months. I really look with the launch we are doing today. As we are launching, we are going to action. In the next few months and years, we hope to work together to see how the impact our continent. All we are doing is to build Africa. And all we are doing is to build the future of Africa and I hope that this coalition will not fail. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Professor Olusola. My next speaker is John Omo. John works for an organization that is very important for this continent. And he's going to tell you a little bit about it, I'm pretty sure, and tell us why or as Prof said early, what is in it for ATU to join in this coalition.
>> JOHN OMO: Thank you very much, Rochelle. Thank you very much, fellow panelists and the audience. My name is John Omo. I work for African telecommunications union. This union has been around since 1977, when it was established by heads of state and government as a union bringing basically at the time government together in terms of development of telecommunications in Africa. As the organization of African unity transformed into African Union, then the ministers also transformed the organization from Pan‑African telecommunications, union to African Telecommunication Union. We have a member of 50 out of the 54 African countries and we also increasingly have a very vibrant civil society and private sector membership in our organization. In fact, a lot more than the Member States. Nearly 60 of them, most of them organizations that have their roots outside of this continent and the major players were the manufacturers and the private sector that operate in Africa.
And so our business is to coordinate the development of ICTs in Africa amongst the governments and working with the private sector and civil society and representing, and organizing the ICT, largely the International Telecommunication Union. I'm very excited to be part of this coalition and I will tell you why I mentions this during the press conference.
But as I say, we bring on board the 50 or so African governments to the coalition and also 57 private sector organizations and civil society and, you know, community‑based organizations.
I think during this conference, you have had quite a bit in terms of what each and every organization is trying to do for the purpose of ICT development in Africa. And as I mentioned in another forum this morning, they sold my attention about Africa. And for good reasons. Someone once said that see who conquers Africa will conquer the world.
And I see ‑‑ I see the value that the Internet brings to Africa's development as tremendous and Africans much latch on to it in terms of how we will bring our people in terms of selling their ideas, and in terms of selling and treating and participating meaningfully on the Internet space.
The unfortunate thing, which is why I see this coalition as important, is that we have worked so, so much in silos. We have works so, so much in silos. I mentioned earlier on that as far as I know, there are about six or seven coalitions about Africa. Six or seven coalitions about Africa. And the question is whether these coalitions for Africa. Or for the interests of those that are coalescing about Africa. And I think the benefit that this brings is it seeks to work with each and every one of us, be they government, be they the civil society, be they the private sector that work on the Internet space in Africa for purposes of Africa's development and participation meaningfully into this space. There's so much competition rather than cooperation and I think we must then bring on board the various, you know, initiatives that seem to want to speak for or about Africa or develop Africa's participation in the Internet space into some sort of, you know, dialogue. So that we then say, is this about competition, or is it about us cooperating to develop the continent for Africans and not so much for those that are coalescing to further their interest about Africa.
And I'm so, so excited about what ICANN has done, that this is about Africa. By Africans for Africa, and I think in that sense then we need to get on board and see that we bring all of our various initiatives, all of our institutional capacities in order to bear on the development of Internet and participation of Africa in the Internet space for Africans.
Thank you very much.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much. John is talking about an aspect that's crucial on this continent. There's not much that we can do without decision‑makers and governments. And I seem to think that traditionally, it's one the things that, you know, in the technical community, we have always been kind of afraid of really bringing on board. I'm happy to see that the institutional part is here. Another institutional piece that supports the institutional part is Barack Otieno, if you could introduce yourself and tell us what's in it for AfTLD.
>> BARRACK OTIENO: I represent the African top level domains organization. I want to highlight a few things. First is to comment ICANN for leading the creation of this coalition as the honorable SG has said. There's many coalitions but I think there's been attempts to move us forward.
Just picking up on another comment that you made on Rochelle, even if we have failed, we must keep failing forward. That's what I would wish to submit. So failure is an important part of life.
Allow me to mention some statistics as I make my submission because it's important that we deal with facts as we move ahead. Insofar as country code top level domain registries are concerned which is a subset of the domain name ecosystem globally, firstly, there are approximately 360 million domains registered top level domains globally. Of this, over 80% are in the European region. The African continent accounts for a paltry 1% of total registration globally. So this is a challenge to us who are seated in this room that our work is really cut out. In the statistics and the ccTLDs account for 134 million. You can see the bark of the registration is in dot coms and dot nets which are at 174 million. If you look at the Internet world stats, approximately 500 million citizens on the African continent seem to be accessing the Internet, maybe this is the 40% that Ann Rochelle alluded to. Of this, most of them are on social media apps. I don't think it's meaningful access or it's what we would say is meaningful access, because if you look at it vis‑a‑vis the number of domain names registered, then the numbers done really add up.
I was just looking at recent statistics from the ITU, the 2022 report that only 40% individuals use the Internet in Africa. And as we move forward, what is key is strengthening institutions that are working within the Internet space in Africa.
I'm glad you mentioned about the African Information Society initiative, which paved the way for the AFRINIC. Without numbers we can't do much on the Internet, but there's African top level domain organizations and there's Africa such among many other Internet organizations that have been created to address different aspects the Internet. I will dwell on AfTLD, which I joined them in 2010, I got a strategic plan from my predecessor, and I got a research report that had been done in 2008, which at that time showed that more than 50% of country code domain name registries in Africa were managed outside the African continent. And in an initiative, the Internet Society and I think also led by ICANN came together and created a registers operation curriculum, which is still in use as we speak in different parts the world which formed the basis for the capacity billing initiatives that we did in various African countries.
As we speak over 90% of country code top level domain registries are being managed from within the African continent. We have very few remaining.
And by Africans for that matter. Let me add that.
Again, thanks to the efforts by ICANN, and the other partners who are in the room, NSRC, and the Internet Society who have again come together for this coalition to make sure that we move to the next phase. In this particular coalition, there are ten ccTLDs that have been identified which still have a few challenges here and there, and through this initiative, we are going to make sure that at least 100% of the ccTLDs are now being managed from within the African continent but not just managed, but that they are sustainable entities. I think all of you are familiar with the dot Africa initiative which is managed by African entities or technical entities and the role of ccTLDs cannot be underestimated. Any country has a strong ccTLD has a strong Internet ecosystem. Statistics don't lie. Look at the ccTLDs that are doing very, very well and look at the local Internet communities and you will see the vibrancy. I wish to stop at that and thank you for the opportunity.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Barack.
Barrack gave us numbers that are very, very telling but also insightful in terms of where we come from, and basically where we want to go. So this coalition is here to actually do that. One of the reasons why we are here to explain what it is, is that we want more people to be part of it. We want more research, universities, we want more top‑level domains in Africa to be resilient infrastructures that can truly support what we're looking at in terms of making sure that Africa has its own ‑‑ can use its data, that it stays whole, and that it empowers its people.
So this is really the foundation of this coalition, to make sure that there's infrastructure that is meaningful, that can be more than anything, I think, affordable.
ITU just released its facts and figures of the Internet. You can find the report online. And it's very telling when it comes to the African region. As Barack said, we have our work cut out. So I'm going to open the floor. If you have questions, please raise your hands if it is about the coalition, one of our partners. In passing, I'm really hoping, that you know, ITU, for example, will be part of this coalition also. So, you know, you might ‑‑ as you know, that we just finished our plenipotentiary conference and we're changing guards inside ITU. So we're hoping that this is something that definitely we can join, because it's absolutely important. It's part of our job of also connecting the world and connecting Africa as one of the continents that has the best connectivity.
So any questions around?
At the back there. Do we have a mic?
Okay. Please introduce yourself.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you. Thanks for the presentation. I work for the African open data and Internet foundation. And I would like to commend you on what you are doing and basically, I think one thing that we also need to be thinking about is also about the smaller grassroots connecting in terms of community networks and also small operators who are able to connect small communities. So this is just a bit of a caveat or a bit of a suggestion also and how we can incorporate it into most of your organizations who are doing things and that's what I want to contribute. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you. Emmanuel is my name. I'm from Uganda, but I work at the African Union Commission. My question is about the ccTLD. I think the last presenter was talking about it. In Africa, I think most of the problem we have is price, like, the price of those domains. And I think it is why most of use dot‑com. Is there a way you are trying to harmonize the prices of ccTLD domain names? I'm a developer. I always interact with those domains. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much. This one will be for Barack later on.
>> My name is Nazi, and I'm also the project manager for Tanzania digital inclusion program out of which we have been able to manage to create one community network innovation hub, connected to ten schools. 120 people connected to broadband Internet. And a police station for the first time in Tanzania has been connected to broadband Internet and two health centers.
I have got two submissions. Number one, is about the IP resources in Africa: If we are talking about IP resources which are managed by AFRINIC, these are important for the digital Africa. The future of digital Africa depends on these resources. Unfortunately, I don't want to go deeply into what is happening to AFRINIC, but I think one of the important work that this coalition should do is to make sure AFRINIC moves from Mauritius to Ethiopia. That is my proposition.
Because ‑‑ because AFRINIC has been an orphan child and being an entity that secures the future of Africa, it has been left as an orphan to be open its own. Why? Because it was supposed to be protected and given diplomatic status. So I cannot just wake up in the morning and start suing the very important entity that is critical for IP number resources for Africa.
So that is my first submission.
Number two yesterday when I was ‑‑ I spoke during the leadership panel, I suggested the world to have a global fund on connectivity. If we are saying we need to connect all people, and all schools, how are we going to do this if we not bring all the corners to go and have money to make sure we connect all of these villages?
People in the villages, they need Internet. So that we can discover all the Bill Gates and the Bezos that are there in the African villages. So that is critical.
So my proposition to the coalition for digital Africa, we need to connect to all of them. And there is a lot of money which is sitting somewhere. I don't know which location but, I'm sure if we are ‑‑ we are about to connect to, you know, the schools, because in the send, the access to digital opportunities are going to be able to eliminate family poverty and give all of these young people of Africa an opportunity to be able to create prosperity through Internet. That will be my submission. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Two more. Okay, three because we haven't had a lady, but yeah.
Oh, yes. We have an online question.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: I will keep it short.
I work on Internet policy and ISOC Nigerian chapter. So two questions. I see that on the coalition, we don't have civil society. And if we want to say it's a multistakeholder approach to doing things on the coalition, we need to have those who do not have that equal footing to be at the table which is civil society and the human rights, so it's just a proposition to make sure that we have civil society, not just the academia on the table as well-being, right?
The second question also is I know ICANN is a grant which they just proposed, I think probably tomorrow or maybe later today. Is there a way to implement ‑‑ maybe allocating some of those grants to the coalition to make sure it gets funding, and all the organizations are coming together and make sure that this coalition does not die because of funding?
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you very much. I have the first question so it's coming from the ‑‑ any intervention to help the market created in Africa is very important and welcomed. Does the program provide a pathway for majority of the domain names ‑‑ within ICANN, within the three years?
It's not a digital coalition question but ‑‑ yeah. And I have another one.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hello. I would just like to put an ask to the coalition to work closely with particularly the ITU and the ATU because I think within there lays a solution to us being able to connect our African communities. We have ‑‑ we got we adapted the universal access funds from the ITU system, but in our part of the world, if we are honest with ourselves, there have been politicized and they have been taken over by political systems that are not keen on achieving this agenda, which means we have to work differently. And that means that we need to consider how these funds as opposed to put into the regulators, we are political interests coming and controls and putting money that stands still for three years. They are connecting money.
So when you look at the kitty, it has so much money but nobody is getting connected! Nothing is being implemented. Yet there's the administration costs being spent out of that kitty when our political governments changes, new regimes come and say, oh, there's one there that can do one, two, three and they start announcing what they want to do that is not the purpose for which universal access was really set up. And to be able to deal with that I think we need to bring it out of there and find a strategy that can work with the telcos, with the regulators but a different mechanism to connect the unconnected.
Otherwise, this effort will be a talk shop, without much has been going like the USOC has been. We haven't seen results. We need to see results.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: I will be really quick. I would like to congratulate you all for this coalition. I was happy with the comment of the gentleman saying let's also have civil society on the table. So now we have civil society, academia and institutional bodies. I would say let's not get the simple Internet user. Let's have them also on the table. Thank you.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hello, I think I have a busy question two, busy questions. One is how is the coalition managed? Is there any Secretariat to which, you know, everyone can go to whenever we need to when we are seeking clarification, do we have any questions?
Second, is who ‑‑ which ‑‑ what are your type of members? I mean, what type of members do you need in terms of joining the coalition? Is it only the AF stars or anyone else can join the coalition? And third and last I think ‑‑ I'm glad you have universities represented which is good because I'm very keen on capacity building and although there's representatives of the universities mentioned, mostly infrastructures but I don't know if you have any plan on dealing with capacity building like digital literacy, because I know also universities can have a role to play outside of universities and I think you should consider capacity building and digital literacy as part of your strategy.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much. So I'm going to start with Goran on one of the questions ‑‑ yes, you can make the round, if you want, absolutely. Definitely.
>> GORAN MARBY: It's always nice to speak to is an active open source. I have a history in that, not very successful, but I had a history in open source.
And this answers a couple of questions. So fair enough. You know it's not a talk shop because you were actually there when we introduced the cluster in Kenya. And today ‑‑ I just checked we have about 5,000 requests into that cluster per second right now. The capacity didn't exist three weeks ago here in Africa.
The whole point with this is that ‑‑ the whole point is that we are not looking for a talk shop. We want projects. Everything you see here are things we set up, tangible things to do. That's the whole point. And anyone who brings in any organization who brings in something we think we can do, and we have more things in line that we are working but different organizations that will do things for.
But it's very technology‑driven. Policies are set by other people. You in Africa are doing a great job with that. This is technology driven. We talked about the ability for people to use their own language, their own scripts. We talk about increasing capacity on a very local level. That is the importance of this thing.
You spend four days talking about everything else that happens on top of Internet. This is the actual Internet. And whoever talked about the difference between the Internet and platforms, I like that one.
Yes, we have ICANN. And what ICANN does, we support ‑‑ we contribute with the support stuff. That will help the coalition partners to interact with each other. It's important to know that we do this as ICANN. We provide the resources and Pierre, who is there, is internally the project leader responsible for this so that's what we really provide.
And then we participate and engage in some of the projects but there are projects where ICANN is not part of.
There was a question about the grants, yes, today ‑‑ I thought it was yesterday, but I'm completely lost when it comes to time. But 6:00 local time, we have an information about a grant program we set up, and thanks, that also proceeds from the last round. We have $100 million plus there, which we will contribute with grants.
We will give that ‑‑ that money ‑‑ the sign of our programs from the ICANN community and it's targeted, you come with projects that is something that we can fund as grants. If you look at the web ‑‑ the web info today, you will know how it's structured. And I would be very pleased if we would see grants going here. Did I miss anything that I should answer anything about?
I think I picked them all, didn't I?
One more thing. One other small thing that I can do, and it's one of the biggest things we have done in a long time. We are going in the process where we want to have more top-level domains, domain names and we are right now in the process after a long period of time from ICANN community work, where we ‑‑ on the 14th, we are going to start about the Next Generation of top-level domains. The intention of the top-level domains is not to have more English top-level domains where you read left to right. And the intention is to make sure the top-level domains are regions, Africa is one we would like to talk about. We would like to see more African top-level domains operated here in Africa and that support your businesses and community and lives.
So on the 14th of December, we have the next big information about that and anyone who is interested.
>> MODERATOR: For the sake of time, I will go very quickly. Pierre, you wanted to take one of the questions? Yeah?
>> PIERRE DANDIJINOU: Thank you. Thank you very much for the questions and we do have many of notes. And hopefully if we don't give you answers, we will be in touch with you and definitely, it's about actions as Goran is saying.
There was a question about how we do ‑‑ whether the Secretariat, and briefly, the plan is to ‑‑ ICANN will be supporting the Secretariat. We will be out of the engagement office in Nairobi.
Are we voting here?
And then in terms of who will qualify to be a member, definitely, it's quite open. We just need to abide by a few guiding principles. And we can get next on the website, the coalition has launched its website to, I think ‑‑ yeah, two days ago. You have the link to it. You can go there.
Information is there for you to really what is it about and how to engage with us. Are I would like to say that. And there was quickly a question about AFRINIC.
>> GORAN MARBY: So I want to be very, very ‑‑ we are all concerned about the situation, and there's a history there. I mean, we see AFRINIC as a part of our family. And we are all part of this ecosystem together with all of yours, together with the top-level domain operators and we are all in this ITF and EIB ‑‑ we are so good with acronyms and ISOC, of course, we are all part of the same ecosystem and it's a highly joined concern. And the importance is that this is an African problem and it's just solved by Africans. And it's your communities that should be active in AFRINIC to make sure it continues work.
The discussion of where it will be in this country, it's very much something. I pledge to everybody to be active in the AFRINIC community. That's where you can make a real difference. They need help and support. They need you to be active there. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Goran.
And as an African in this space, you know, taking off my ITU hat, I would like to tell everybody that it is absolutely crucial because what we're talking about here basically won't be if those numbers are not around.
So we need to shape up. We need to be there.
>> OLUSOLA BANDELE OYEWOLE: One of the reasons why the university is part of this coalition is for us to be able to focus on improving the technical capacity of higher educational constitutions. We hope that through involvement in this coalition, we'll be able to focus on capacity building. I mentioned earlier on of our interest in the entrance. We hope it will help us on the entrance. We noticed that the youth population in Africa is the highest in the continent and therefore we need to enhance the capacity of our youth to make use of the Internet to create prosperity within the continent.
So the university is center and we will be focusing on that which you mentioned. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Barack, can you go ahead on the AfLD and then John, I would like you to come in on the UMSF, and some of the things that you see the governments doing to be part of this process by making sure there are funds.
One the initiatives, for example, that, you know, African Union has now right now with the UN is about mobilizing internal resources. We can't continue always thinking that, you know, the outside world is going to be the one funding all of these things. So there are ways of making sure the monies can come out, whether it's the USFs of this world, Barack first and then John. Thank you.
>> BARRACK OTIENO: Thank you very much, Ann Rochelle. I will try to be brief. Emmanuel, on the price of ccTLD, I think the challenge that you have stated is be involved in your local ccTLD. One of the models that we have been promoting for ccTLD management is what is referred to as the three R model where the registry focuses on its core business of managing the zone file. We build a registrar community that acts an interface between the registry and Internet users who are basically registrants for back of take better word and this is what we encourage.
As you can see, we have a clear demarcation of roles and responsibilities that each player in the community has to play.
I think one of the objectives of the ccTLD registry track in the coalition will be on business plan and marketing, which is aimed at growing the numbers at our local ccTLDs. Our focus in the past ten years, between 2010 and 2020, was building technical competence which we have achieved and now we want to build business and also make sure that the registries are actually sustainable, and that the resellers and the registrars are in this room, and this includes community network operators who are the ones dealing with registrants at community level.
Just to step back, the programs have been there that have seen the number of ICANN accredited registrars grow from about two in 2010, to 11 ‑‑ actually, there are about 15 as we speak. And this number keeps growing. The number of resellers on the continent is over ‑‑ close to 1,000 if you look at all the ccTLDs and any of you in the room can also be domain name resellers.
>> JOHN OMO: Thank you very much, Ann Rochelle. On the issue of universal access funds, I think the history is varied. There are quite a good number of success stories. There are also certainly areas where there's been quite some challenges, especially from the governmental side.
I think as the ICT community, we ‑‑ we are the contributors of these funds, either the regulators directly or to institutions that I established for the management of these funds.
And it behooves us to speak a bit more. I think that has been the missing link. Some ‑‑ at least, where I've been involved, some of these institutions are purely governmental. Where us operators and network organizations are contributing. They don't sit in those spots for perhaps reasons of conflict of interest, but I think the model that seems to work best for me is where those who are contributing to their funds also sit and determine how the funds are allocated.
And so I think there needs to be a robust engagement between the community members themselves and organizations that manage these funds. And to see more transparency.
I think ‑‑ I think the point you are making, madam, essentially is that there's quite a bit of resources that are internal in Africa for management and development of Internet and ICTs in Africa. Certainly, there seems to me to be a notion sometimes or oftentimes wrongly, that it will come from elsewhere.
I don't think it will. Nobody gives you free lunch. In fact, if you get it twice, that may be heralding the end of you. There's sufficient resources in terms of how we manage them is the issue and I think the community needs to be a lot more involved with the sort of access funds that have been instituted in Africa for purposes of Internet and indeed ICT development.
I think I want to end there, the issue of AFRINIC is in my view going to take a lot more sanity than just a physical location of offices from one place to the other. I think as Goran says, it is our organization, and we know the challenges that exist there. I think it is not the challenge of a physical location, but the challenge of a lot more involvement and transparency amongst ourselves, in terms of ‑‑ of the institution itself.
So as Goran says, let's sort it out ourselves. Physical location, I think is less and a bit of an apologist way of looking at the core root of the problem.
(Off microphone comments).
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: I'm sorry, the proposal to remove AFRINIC from Mauritius. I'm Paul Huel, I happen to be the CEO and crystal whip when has an injunction from turning AFRINIC ‑‑ AFRINIC's history of corruption and not engaging with the member. Instead of holding an election to get a board going the organization tried to exclude competent and proper people from that election.
That resulted in court action. And, yes, court action is unpleasant and it's not nice and so on and so forth but when there's a court order that requires you to act in a particular way, you don't act contemptuously of that court and then try to leave the jurisdiction of that country because you are not getting your way. The correct thing is a meeting.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you. I hear you. I hear you. And I think I hear the pain of everybody who is in this room on that subject. So ‑‑ but as Pierre said or John, you know, it's going to need a lot more sanity, you know, and not throwing words and not going to courts and all of that to make things work.
So let's face it. We have work to do. We have a lot of work to do, and we need to sit down and talk about this.
As a community. Absolutely.
So thank you very much. And I ‑‑ look, this is not the court. Okay?
We are here. We are actually here to try and make digital infrastructure a reality in this region. It is absolutely crucial and important. Those numbers are part of it. And each one of us needs to feel not only responsible but accountable to making it work for the 1.5 billion people in Africa who are waiting for this to happen.
So that's what we are here for.
Thank you very much, and I think we are going to wrap up.
One the things that I would like everybody to know is that this is a launch. There are ways to join it. Everybody should be part of this. It is about making sure that we truly get somewhere. It is about making sure that civil society, private sector, governments and everybody, we're all in this together. We can no longer, as I said from the beginning go alone. Because it's not going to go anywhere. So for each and every one of us, take responsibility. Join the coalition. Bring your voice. Bring what you think you want to see out of it, work. Let's work together. And let's make it happen. Thank you very much for having been with us this morning. Or this afternoon. Yeah. It's already afternoon. And truly, I'm truly hoping that we will see a lot of you join in the coalition, and, you know, moving from ‑‑ as Barack said, from 90%, for example, on institutional infrastructure in our countries to 100% and for the people of this continent. Thank you very much.