The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) today announced its commitment to provide hands-on training and tools to prepare 10 African country code top-level domain (ccTLD) registries to compete in the domain industry. ICANN and its partner organizations, the International Telecommunication Union-Development Sector (ITU-D), Africa Top Level Domains Organization (AfTLD), Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC), and Association française pour le nommage Internet en coopération (AFNIC), issued a pledge to the Partner2Connect Digital Coalition, committing to the goals of the project as well as the overall goal to drive digital transformation in hard-to-connect communities. The pledge was made by ICANN President and CEO Gӧran Marby during the Partner2Connect (P2C) Digital Development Roundtable at the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) in Kigali, Rwanda.
The pilot project allows for the 10 ccTLD registries, from Niger, Togo, Benin, the Republic of Congo, Comoros, Madagascar, Angola, Liberia, Zimbabwe, and Gambia to leverage the expertise of ICANN and the partner organizations that have a common goal, but cannot achieve it alone. The 10 ccTLD registries will receive specialized training led by industry experts, through a combination of online courses, hands-on workshops, and webinars. The training will cover topics ranging from best practices in domain name system security and registry governance, to business plan writing and marketing, to Internationalized Domain Names and Universal Acceptance.
“The Internet is both global and local. Country code top-level domains are an integral part of the Internet infrastructure, supporting the development of local digital initiatives that contribute to sustainable national digital economies,” Marby said. “By pooling together our talents and areas of expertise, we are working with the ccTLD managers to hone these critical skills, to be able to compete and participate in the digital economy. Additionally, the project will benefit from the opportunities provided by the Partner2Connect Digital Coalition, harnessing the power of this multistakeholder alliance and mobilizing the resources necessary to achieve our shared goals.”
“AfTLD appreciates and supports the initiative by ICANN to support the development of African ccTLDs,” said Ali Hadji Mmadi, Chair of Excom, AfTLD. “The Association looks forward to playing an integral role in the conceptualization and implementation of the project as part of its ongoing collaborative efforts with ICANN.”
“AFNIC is proud to be part of this initiative aimed at accelerating and reinforcing the cooperation with and between African ccTLDs,” said Pierre Bonis, CEO, AFNIC. “Since AFNIC started engaging with its African counterparts decades ago, this is the first time such a coalition is put in place, and we are convinced it could be a game changer for a lot of Registries in Africa.”
Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau: “I welcome this pledge towards Partner2Connect. The Partner2Connect Coalition is a game-changing opportunity to take a holistic approach, catalyze new partnerships, and mobilize the resources needed to connect those who are still offline. I am calling on all players to step up and help us connect those 2.9 billion that are unconnected. I look forward to welcoming many more pledges soon so that we can truly “Partner2Connect the World”.”
This pilot project is the second initiative ICANN has launched in Africa. In February, ICANN announced that it was expanding the global presence of its root servers by adding two ICANN-operated and managed clusters in Africa. These two projects are part of a larger initiative that will be launched toward the end of the year, in which ICANN and key partners will support the growth and sustainability of the African digital economy by ensuring a stable, resilient, and secure Internet.