Changes to the Africa Top Level Domains Organization Executive Committee
27 June 2024

Capacity Development for ccTLDs: Status Update and Upcoming Activities

Eyitayo Iyortim, President- AfTLD.

As one of the Coalition for Digital Africa’s ongoing initiatives, the Capacity Development for Country Code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD) Registries project aims to invigorate the continent’s domain industry and encourage the participation of African ccTLDs in Internet policymaking. In this blog, we provide an update of our progress so far and upcoming activities.

In 2023, the African Top Level Domains Organization (AfTLD) completed a needs assessment and published a report identifying the needs and priorities for African ccTLDs. Based on this report, we created a training plan in collaboration with our partners, the Association française pour le nommage Internet en coopération (AFNIC), the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and the Network Startup Resource Centre (NSRC). The plan aims to help selected ccTLDs build capacity, improve their registry management, and boost their contribution to the growth of their local digital economies. The ccTLDs identified for this pilot phase are: Angola, Benin, Burundi, Comoros, the Republic of Congo, the Republic of Gambia, Madagascar, Niger, Togo, and Zimbabwe.

We hosted a kick-off webinar in February 2024 with the selected ccTLDs to share progress on the project, highlight project objectives, expectations, and upcoming activities. Participants had the opportunity to share knowledge about their ccTLDs, focusing on background information, as well as the challenges, business-related issues, technical and governance issues, and future plans. Based on the findings of the assessment and information presented during the kickoff webinar, we worked with our project partners to refine our capacity building plan and develop a detailed agenda across two tracks:

  • Track 1: Business and Marketing
  • Track 2: Technical

Track 1: Business and Marketing

Ahead of the ICANN80 Policy Forum in Kigali, Rwanda in June 2024, AfTLD hosted a two-day in-person training, in collaboration with AFNIC, the Rwanda Internet Community and Technology Alliance (RICTA), and ICANN.

Attended by 30 in-person and five virtual attendees, the business and marketing track covered:

  • Governance and policy management
  • Sales and marketing in the domain name market
  • Identifying and developing business opportunities
  • Performance metrics

Follow up sessions have been planned for the last quarter of 2024 to support the ccTLDs in implementing some of the strategies developed during the workshop.

Track 2: Technical

Next month, selected participants will convene once again in Nairobi, Kenya for an in-person training focusing on the technical aspects within registries. The four-day technical training will consist of presentations, practical exercises, and group activities during which participants will learn about the deployment and maintenance of tools and techniques to manage their registries. This will be followed by a one-day visit to the Kenya Network Information Centre (KENIC) and the Africa Data Centre. For this track, AfTLD will collaborate with NSRC, ICANN, the Internet Society, and KENIC.

This track will cover:

  • The Domain Name System (DNS) ecosystem and registry architecture
  • A refresher on UNIX commands
  • Forward zone and reverse zone configuration and delegation
  • DNS operations, debugging, and troubleshooting
  • DNS software
  • An overview of DNS security and resilience

Participants for both workshops are entry- to mid-level personnel involved in day-to-day administrative and technical operations within their registries. We look forward to conducting the workshops and engaging in interactive and insightful discussions with the participants.