Africa Top level Domains Organization participated in the ICANN Engagement Forum in 2023. The meeting was organized by ICANN and co hosted by AAU.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the Association of African Universities (AAU) co-hosted the second Africa Engagement Forum (AEF) from 25 – 27 July 2023, in Accra, Ghana. The gathering, under the theme “Fostering Engagement for a Flourishing Digital Africa,” aimed to encourage the involvement of African community members in Internet policymaking by promoting their participation in ICANN.
The second annual AEF attracted over 200 virtual and 170 in-person attendees from across Africa. Among the attendees were representatives from academic and research communities, civil society, and regulatory, governmental, and technical stakeholder groups.
Highlights and Insights from the Event
A significant part of the event was focused on the transformative activities of the Coalition for Digital Africa. Since launching its first project in 2022, the Coalition has emerged as a significant contributor in supporting the digital transformation of the continent. A panel discussion was held at the AEF where Coalition partners shared updates on ongoing initiatives.
One such project was the 2023 Africa Domain Name System (DNS) Market Study, commissioned by ICANN and conducted by Powersoft SA. Building on the methodology and results of the 2016 Africa DNS market study, this research will inform the coalition’s future development priorities. The overarching goal is to advance growth in the African Internet industry, advancing the sector closer to its full potential.
ICANN’s Global Stakeholder Engagement – Africa team has been actively implementing the ICANN Africa Regional Plan for Fiscal Years 2020 – 2025. The AEF provided an opportunity to present a mid-term report on this strategy. The first day of the event featured a keynote address by Mouhamet Diop, Chair of AfRegistrar, on the topic of Africa’s digital potential.
The conversation held at the ICANN Community Update session focused on ongoing work, policy development, and topics relevant to Africa, with a rallying call for increased active participation. A presentation on the next round of applications for new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) preceded a panel discussion on past experiences in applying for new gTLDs in 2012, and expectations and potential opportunities for the African market with regard to gTLDs.
Updates from the ICANN Office of the Chief Technical Officer (OCTO) on various ongoing ICANN initiatives across Africa were also shared. These included the Knowledge-sharing and Instantiating Norms for Domain Name Security (KINDNS) initiative, DNS Abuse Activity Reporting (DAAR) system, outreach efforts for securing DNS operations, and capacity development efforts.