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Monday, July 22, 2019

7th African Domain Name System Forum kicks off in Botswana - ITREALMS

The Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) in partnership with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Africa Top Level Domains Organization (AfTLD), and AfRegistrar, has concluded plans to host the 7th African Domain Name System Forum (AFDNSF) under the theme “Building Trust in the African Domain Names System for a Thriving Digital Economy” reports ITREALMS.

The three-day Forum, ITREALMS gathered, which kicked off today in Gabrone, Botswana, comes with the objective to help the growth of African DNS Industry to ensure that it is at par with the rest of the world.

The Forum will bring together representatives from Internet organizations, registries, registrars, registrants, country code Top Level Domain (ccTLDs), new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) applicants, policy makers, Internet service providers, Information Technology businesses, brand owners, legal firms, academics and civil society to share their experiences and best practices.

Open to anyone interested in engaging with key players and experts in the field, and learning more about the issues pertaining to the Domain Name industry and the business opportunities it can provide, the discussions will focus on the African DNS industry with an emphasis on current challenges and opportunities it is facing, and how they can be overcome and utilized.

A press statement equally made available to 
ITREALMS by the duo of the Director, Corporate Communications and PR at BOCRA, Mr Aaron T Nyelesi and the Communications Director, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at ICANN, Ms. Luna Madi, quoted the Vice President (VP) of Global Stakeholder Engagement (GSE) in Africa at ICANN, Mr Pierre Dandjinou, as noting that the continent of Africa is rising with respect to its digital potential and it must make its influence felt at the global Internet governance table to protect its interests.

"With this in mind, ICANN is committed to providing equal opportunity to inform the region’s different communities about the domain industry and engaging with them on how best to not only strengthen Africa’s online presence, but also improve their participation within ICANN.

BOCRA has in the past noted a stagnating local DNS growth - a result of various challenges such as: limited knowledge of the DNS market, high costs ICTS and internet access, limited ICT skills etc, which when combined inhibit growth despite the considerable input despite the considerable investment into ICT infrastructure deployment across the country. BOCRA is hopeful that this Forum will provide will help remedy some of these issues.

Mouhamet Diop, Chair of AfRegistrar notes that Internet penetration in Africa is still lagging behind with respect to the global penetration rate. The amount of local content on the Internet is still very poor, and its impact on the global economy is very limited. To rollback this trend, AfRegistrar collaborates with other organizations such as ICANN, AfTLD, Africa Organizations, ISOC, and among others, the private sector to promote jobs for the youth, sharing of knowledge and training on issues related to the domain name industry in Africa.

Dr Alex Corenthin, AfTLD Chairman highlighted that AfTLD helps African ccTLD managers discuss issues regarding the management of ccTLDs and other TLD registries. It also presents a common position of African ccTLDs on key global issues in the Domain Name System (DNS) industry at the global level. The Africa DNS Forum is a key event for the regional players of the DNS, including the ccTLD managers.

In line with Africa's growing Internet presence, the Forum will address key issues that directly concern the regional industry. Among this year’s topics are data protection and privacy, registry and registrar platform development, Universal Acceptance initiatives in Africa, and investment opportunities in the regional DNS industry.

ITREALMS further reports that a 2017 ICANN Market Study highlighted poor infrastructure and high internet access costs as main contributing factors to limited Internet access and usage in most African countries. With this in mind, the 2019 agenda will focus on how to create a sustainable DNS market, challenges to the African market, DNS security, privacy and data protection issues, and the African digital economy.

This year's Forum follows on the success of the preceding forums, held in Durban, South Africa (2013), Abuja, Nigeria (2014), Nairobi, Kenya (2015), Marrakech, Morocco (2016), Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (2017) and Cotonou, Benin (2018).

Remmy Nweke/ DoP

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