ICANN is committed to ensuring the long-term viability of the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) system as part of the delivery of ICANN’s mission. ICANN has been closely following the legal proceedings in Mauritius involving the African Network Information Centre (AFRINIC), one of five RIRs, and AFRINIC’s governance struggles.
As a result of the Court Order from the Bankruptcy Division of the Supreme Court of Mauritius, dated 12 September 2023, the court formally appointed Vasoodayven Virasami, the Official Receiver of Mauritius, notably to maintain the status quo of AFRINIC, to carry out an election process to re-constitute the AFRINIC Board, and to achieve the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer. The Receiver was further directed to comply with 10 powers granted to him (as listed under the 8th Schedule of the Insolvency Act 2009 of Mauritius), to manage AFRINIC during this period and execute the Court order, within six months’ time, if possible.
ICANN recognizes the important role of the Official Receiver, appreciates his appointment, and accordingly has contacted him through local counsel. We requested a meeting with the Official Receiver. During the consultation, we have explained the importance of RIRs in the Internet’s unique identifier system and the coordination role of ICANN and have offered to provide neutral assistance in any form that would benefit the Official Receiver in his assignment. We have confidence in the Official Receiver’s progress to date.
ICANN has appointed John Crain, ICANN’s Senior Vice-President and Chief Technology Officer, as a resource available during this week in Mauritius, and as necessary going forward, to support the Official Receiver. John has been offered as an expert observer to provide information and expertise if and where the Official Receiver requires related to AFRINIC’s unique role.
The RIR system is essential to ensuring the security, stability, and resiliency (SSR) of the Internet for the benefit of Internet users globally. Each RIR manages, distributes, and registers Internet number resources. The RIRs’ reliable provision of these services at the regional levels support ICANN’s SSR role. ICANN also maintains responsibility for the global coordination of the allocation and assignment of Internet Protocol numbers and Autonomous System numbers to the RIRs.
ICANN has a long-standing and valued relationship with the numbers community. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and provide whatever support the Official Receiver requests to restore AFRINIC’s functional governance, long-term stability, and operations.