ICANN Launches Initiative to Advance Africa's Digital Transformation

ICANN Launches Initiative to Advance Africa’s Digital Transformation

The Coalition for Digital Africa to Collaborate for Better Internet Access and Greater Connectivity

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, December 1, 2022 /CNW/ – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) today launched the Coalition for Digital Africa, an initiative to expand the Internet by Africa. Conceived by ICANN, the Coalition is an alliance of like-minded organizations committed to building a robust and secure Internet infrastructure to bring more Africans online.

ICANN Logo (PRNewsfoto/ICANN)

ICANN Logo (PRNewsfoto/ICANN)

Home to the youngest population on the planet, 70% of whom are under 30, Africa has one of the fastest growing Internet penetration rates in the world. Internet connectivity is growing by leaps and bounds – from 1.2% in 2000 to 43% in 2021 – thanks to a young, educated, digitally savvy urban workforce, for whom the adoption and use of services online are second nature.

“The Digital Africa Coalition provides an opportunity for new ways of cooperation and collaboration among diverse stakeholders,” said ICANN President and CEO Gӧran Marby. “Although the Coalition was initiated by ICANN, its success depends on working synergistically with other organizations – whether local, regional or international – that are united in their goal to improve africa Internet infrastructure, increase the rate of Internet access, strengthen Internet security and increase the level of participation of Africa in the development of multi-stakeholder policies.

The Coalition will continue to promote innovation aimed at building technical capacity and encouraging entrepreneurship by enabling people to access the Internet using their own languages ​​and scripts. While its official launch took place at a press conference during the 17th Annual Internet Governance Forum, the Coalition has already deployed activities in pursuit of its objectives.

To render the Domain Name System (DNS) infrastructure Africa more robust to accommodate rapid growth, the Coalition announced the installation of an ICANN Managed Root Server (IMRS) cluster in Kenya last month. Another cluster is planned for a second location in Africa Next year. These clusters allow for regional internet queries to be served within the region, rather than depending on networks and servers in other parts of the world. IMRS clusters will also reduce the impact of potential cyberattacks in Africa.

“The launch of the Coalition brings us one step closer to strengthening the Internet infrastructure in Africa. The Coalition provides an important vehicle to enable better protected DNS and more secure Internet infrastructure in Africa“, said Mr. John Omo, Secretary General of the African Telecommunications Union. Further noting that the establishment of the Coalition will play an important role in building confidence in many online systems that are now integrated, even as the continent looks forward to the increasing penetration of the Internet in Africa from the current 43% to globally competitive levels.

The Coalition is focused on creating meaningful connectivity across Africa. The Coalition will begin by working to better adapt the Internet by Africa to enable digital inclusivity and create opportunities to drive local content and business growth. Key to this effort is Universal Acceptance, or UA, which ensures that all valid domain names and email addresses, regardless of length or script, can be used by all compatible apps, devices, and systems. Internet. With UA, people who are already connected and those who will be in the future can communicate on the Internet and access local content in their preferred languages ​​and scripts.

The Coalition will notably address this issue through a project led by the Association of African Universities to prepare email and other systems within higher education. This is an essential step in ensuring an Internet that is both useful and stimulating for everyone.

“This is an important and welcome initiative for Africa. Improving the technical capacity of higher education institutions across the continent is imperative for a digital Africa,” said Olusola Bandelé Oyewole, Secretary General of the Association of African Universities. “We are excited to be part of this journey to give African internet users the opportunity to be part of a truly global, inclusive and multilingual internet.”

The Coalition for Digital Africa includes governments, regional and international organizations and the local internet community. The Coalition’s inaugural partners also include the African Information Network Centre, the AfRegistrar Association, the Africa Top Level Domain, the Africa Telecommunications Union, the African Universities Association, the French Association for Internet Naming in Cooperation, the International Telecommunication Union-Development Sector and the Network Startup Resource Center. .

More information is available at www.coalitionfordigitalafrica.africa.


ICANN’s mission is to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you must enter an address – a name or a number – on your computer or other device. This address must be unique, so computers know where to find it. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers around the world. ICANN was established in 1998 as a not-for-profit public benefit corporation and community with participants from around the world.



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