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Empowering Africa’s Digital Future: A Recap of the Coalition for Digital Africa’s Business and Marketing Training in Rwanda.

In an ambitious effort to bring together stakeholders to better the internet infrastructure in Africa, Africa Top Level Domains Organization (AfTLD), in partnership with the Coalition for Digital Africa, AFNIC, and Rwanda Internet Community and Technology Alliance (RICTA), conducted a two-day comprehensive business and marketing training program at Onomo Hotel on June 8th and 9th in Kigali, Rwanda. 

This Business and Marketing workshop is part of the broader Coalition for Digital Africa (CDA) Country Code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD) capacity development program to build the capacity of African ccTLDs to manage their registries better as well as further enhance their contribution to the growth of their local digital economy. The ccTLDs identified for this phase were; Angola, Benin, Burundi, Comoros, Congo Brazzaville, The Gambia, Madagascar, Niger, Togo and Zimbabwe. 

Training Program Highlights

The training program addressed the unique challenges and opportunities within the African digital landscape. Key components of the program included:

1.      Governance and Policy Management, including legal and regulatory constraints, registry models, and the relationship between ccTLDs and ICANN/Public Technical Identifiers (PTI). During this session, participants learnt how to establish domain name registry governance structures that can set ambitious business goals while adapting (to) legal and regulatory constraints. 

2.      Sales and marketing prerequisites, including the domain name market, stakeholders and marketing strategies, where participants learnt about understanding the domain name market and domain name life cycle to develop effective marketing and sales strategies. 

3.      Developing Domain Names, including identifying and developing opportunities tailored to the needs of market users and positioning registries as valuable sources of economic opportunity. In this session, the participants learnt how to identify and develop opportunities tailored to the specific needs of their registrars so that they can position their registries as a valuable source of economic opportunity for their communities.

4.      Performance metrics where participants learnt about expanding distribution networks through performance metrics for a registry.

 Expert Contributions and Collaborative Learning

The program featured a roster of distinguished speakers and industry experts who brought a wealth of knowledge and experience. Notable contributors included Pierre Dandjinou- VP of Stakeholder Engagement-Africa at ICANN, who gave opening remarks about CDA and the ccTLD capacity development track before the training commenced. Dr Serge Sanou – President of AfTLD; Pierre Bonis- CEO of AFNIC; and other notable figures in the internet space. We also had Lotfi Benyelles- Head of Consulting and Training at AFNIC, who was the lead facilitator for the track, Wilfred Quenum (IT-NUM), Joel Karubiu (AfTLD), and Prof. Idrissa Sarr (AfTLD) and Barrack Otieno (AfTLD) who helped facilitate the training. 

Their presentations were informative and inspiring, demonstrating the vast potential of the digital space in Africa. Participants engaged in interactive workshops, group discussions, and real-world simulations, fostering a collaborative learning environment. This hands-on approach enabled attendees to apply theoretical knowledge to practical scenarios, enhancing their understanding and retention of key concepts.

Participant Feedback and Outcomes

Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive. Many attendees expressed that the training gave them actionable insights and practical tools to enhance and develop effective strategies for their ccTLDs. The networking opportunities were also highly valued, as participants could connect with peers, potential partners, and mentors across the continent.

However, the participants requested that more time be allocated for the next training to cover more material and significantly enhance their understanding and proficiency.

Looking Ahead: The Future of Digital Africa

The Coalition for Digital Africa and AfTLD are committed to continuing their efforts to empower African ccTLDs through ongoing training and support. Plans are underway to expand the program to other African countries, ensuring that more ccTLDs can benefit from these invaluable resources.

In conclusion, the business and marketing training marks a significant step towards a more digitally empowered Africa. This initiative is helping to expand the African continent’s vast digital potential and paving the way for a brighter, more connected future.