The President of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) said he is moving ahead immediately with plans to have six new ICANN representatives on the African continent.
“ICANN used to say if you want to participate in Internet governance come to ICANN,” said Fadi Chehadé. “We’ve changed that, now ICANN is coming to the stakeholders. We’re not waiting for you to come. We’re coming to you.”
Chehadé made his comments during a two-day Africa Multi-stakeholder Internet Governance meeting of Internet leaders from across the continent, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
“We will have ICANN staff, at least one, in each of the six regions of Africa. North, South, East, West, Central and the Indian Ocean,” said Chehadé. “I want African on-ramps into the ICANN structures. I will give you the on-ramps, but you need to climb them.”
The ICANN leader also said he would like to see a dramatic increase in the number of accredited Domain Name Registrars on the African continent.
Currently there are only five accredited Registrars in Africa among more than one thousand worldwide, but Chehadé said he wants to see that number increase five-fold in less than two years.
“This is about us moving the needle forward. Africa will not wait,” said Chehadé.
The meeting in Addis Ababa was attended by some two hundred people, including Ministers and other government representatives, leaders from the African business community, civil society and from ICANN structures in Africa; AFTLD and AFRALO.
The multi-stakeholder IG event was co-organized by the African Union, ISOC-Africa, AFRINIC and the African IGF. It was preceded by a two-day workshop about the development of the DNS Industry in Africa.
During the event the implementation of an African Strategy for better engagement in Africa was discussed in detail. This strategy was prepared by representatives from the African community last summer and announced during the ICANN meeting in Toronto in October. Fadi Chehadé reiterated ICANN’s commitment to help implement the three-year strategy in coordination with global and regional partners in Africa.