AFRINIC, the regional Internet registry for Africa and the Indian Ocean region, held its Africa Internet Summit (AIS) Public meeting at Sheraton Hotel Kampala, from 9th – 21st June 2019.
The 30th regional Policy Forum by AFRINIC also marked its 5th session in East Africa, with Nairobi (x2), Kigali and Dar es Salaam having playing past hosts.
AIS meetings are held annually in different countries, are open to the public, and provide an excellent opportunity for Internet stakeholders to take part in Internet Policy discussions. These policies that deliberate how Internet Number Resources should be managed and distributed are developed by the AFRINIC community.
This year’s edition was organized by AFRINIC and African Network Operators Group (AfNOG), hosted by NFT Consult, and sponsored by ICANN, dotAfrica, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), Uganda’s Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, amongst others.
Week one of the AIS 30 was a beehive of activities dominated by technical workshops aimed at network engineers and operators. On the sidelines of these technical workshops were notable non-technical sessions such as the ICANN Youth community (Youthcom).
This two-day event held on the 13-14 June, was co-organized by ICANN, ISOC Uganda Chapter, National Information Technology Authority (NITA), and the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance.
The event sought to introduce Ugandan youth (18-30 years), to ICANN and the larger Internet ecosystem.
15 June saw ICANN host a workshop for African Registries, registrars and Registrants.
This workshop highlighted the work of ICANN, and its processes. It included presentations by ICANN members on various topical issues namely;- Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), Universal Acceptance, Domain Name Marketplace Indicators, and last but not least, ICANN Registrar Accreditation, and Contractual Compliance processes.
This was followed by ICANN Day, an event hosted for the fifth year in a row at the AIS.
The overarching aim of ICANN Day is to build on ICANN’s efforts and continue raising awareness about ICANN’s role in the Internet governance ecosystem in Africa.
Week two saw the official opening ceremony of the AIS, with Hon. Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister for ICT and National Guidance making the keynote speech. Hon. Tumwebaze expressed the desire of the Ugandan government to use the Internet to connect the unconnected. He felt that this would reduce the cost of conducting business, as well as create opportunities for sharp brains to engage and export their intellectual capital.
Hon. Frank called on ICT multinational companies to work with governments in the quest to foster local innovations. This, he said, would remove the aspect of imbalance of content over the Internet.
The centre stage of the second week was AfNOG day, a day specifically set aside to celebrate 20 years of AfNOG’s achievements with regards to technical training workshops. This day would end with the father of the Internet in Africa, Dr. Nii Quaynor, leading a cake cutting ceremony at a cocktail event in the evening.
The climax of the AIS was the AFRINIC Policy Development Process (PDP) day, where community members hotly debated on whether entities from other Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), should be allowed to buy Number resources from the Africa region and utilize them elsewhere.
This premise would turn out to be the campaign manifesto for some of the candidates vying for seats in the Policy Development Working Group (PDWG) elections.
Moses Serugo (Uganda), and Abdulkarim Oloyede (Nigeria) were duly elected as co-chairs for the PDWG, while Mike Silber (South Africa) was elected for the Number Resource Organisation Numbers Council, and Address Supporting Organisation Address Council’s (NRO NC/ASO/AC) seat.
The curtains of AIS 30 were drawn with the announcement that AIS 31 would be hosted in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo.
AIS in brief
- AIS is the pinnacle multi-stakeholder event combining workshops, conferences, and networking for the Internet industry
- The annual summit hosted twice in various locations throughout the region, attracts internationally renowned instructors, experts and speakers to share the latest innovations and best practices in the Internet industry.
- It’s an open forum for everyone and a place for sharing knowledge and networking within the Africa ICT community
Bonface Witaba is an ICANN Fellow, Writer, Trainer, Researcher, Consultant in Internet Governance and Policy matters.