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ICANN ASWG questionnaires assessment (Draft)

Questionnaire No2- It has been suggested that a physical presence of ICANN in Africa is important to improve ICANN presence. To contribute in shaping how this is implemented please answer the following questions


What are the a) strengths b) weaknesses c) opportunities and d) weaknesses of ICANN in Africa?

  • Strength is its population, willingness to develop and catch with the rest of the world,
  • Government support when properly informed.
  • Weakness is lack of knowledge by Governments, poverty, weak ICT infrastructure and communication gaps/linkages in the different sectors of the economy and ICT ecosystem.
  • The opportunities are the untapped market, young populations and upcoming entrepreneurs, conversion of African economic mangers to embrace ICT and e-businesses.
  • The threats are unstable political economy, opposition of Governments to the multi-stakeholder model of internet governance. High government control of internet and ICT businesses resulting in double taxation, harsh operating environment, etc. 

Which countries in Africa would you recommend to be headquarters of ICANN and why?

Opinions are diverse :

It should be located in Nigeria, says one respondent. The fastest growing e-business economy in Africa. Most populous nation of Africa, willingness of the Government of Nigeria to provide financial support and the necessary facilities for the operation of ICANN office, cheap labor and wireless environment including communication satellite launch (NigcomSat). There is a strong presence of Multi-national businesses and Global Institutions in Nigeria. Her neighbors are all French speaking, currently headquartering the ECOWAS and playing the big brother role in Africa. Four undersea marine cable landing, over 100million mobile users with 3g/mobile broadband capabilities and services.

 

Another suggestion is Ghana, which, as per the respondent, has all it takes to host ICANN office for Africa. Ease of operation, political stability, prosperity and conducive atmosphere.Ghana could be potentially appropriate location due to its pioneering role on the development of the Internet on the continent, its infrastructure, its open policy and favourable ICT environment, its good governance, etc. Accra could also be seen as a bridge between francophone and Anglophone countries due to its proximity to both groups.

 

Ethiopia could be potentially appropriate location due to the presence of the ECA and the AUC, which has attracted all UN institutions and a big number of other international organizations. This could facilitate face to face interactions with these organizations. Also Ethiopia benefits from a large network of international airlines.

 

.Nairobi , Kenya because of ease of access from West , North Southern Africa and Europe

 

Cameroun because of cultural diversity and political stability; openness to sea; good connectivity; existence of three submarine cables; political willingness to move the ICT sector; geographical situation. A policy on cybersecurity and criminality, a regular participant to ICANN's meetings. South Africa for its good infrastructure, strong support to ICT, and proven leadership in the industry.

 

Senegal for its good infrastructure, a proactive support of ICT, and a democratic country. Other cited countries are Tunisia, Morocco and Mauritius.

 

Other comments :

ICANN already committed to an office in Kenya. I guess this question becomes irrelevant, unless of course my understanding that ICANN already chose Kenya is wrong. 

Of the eighteen respondents, one in particular is not convinced of having to open a physical office in one country. Rather, he thinks needs to employ a diverse team from Africa that meets all the number 7 criteria: regions, language, culture. As he puts it :'I really don’t think the need for a physical office is justified. Rather, ICANN should have a team located in different countries in Africa or that is able to effectively relate to Africa’s major cultures, languages & regions.'

A good number of respondents insisted on a set of criteria to be developed prior to selection of a host country; these are :

  • An IT infrastructure well developed and allowing fast and secure connectivity
  • A democratic governance which does not favour red taping
  • A simple and free entry Visa facility; 
  • Secure and pleasant social life 
  • A fluid air trafic conditions

Other important elements to consider should be the presence and proximity of UN Agencies such as UNECA and AUC, and AfriNIC.

 

Overall Comments

While majority of respondents suggest a physical bureau should be established in Africa (with potential hosting countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, Senegal and Mauritius), a small number insist that strict criteria should be developed in order to select such a host country. One respondent does not see any reason for a bureau in Africa, but instead, suggest there be closer links with Af* on the one hand, and that there be established points of contacts in the regions.

 

Conclusion

Although the number of received questionnaires are far from meeting expectations, they certainly provide an insight on the community's perception of icann's role in Africa. Indeed, all respondents agree that Africa should deserve a special treatment and that ICANN is in a position to contribute to the development of an indigenous industry on Internet and most specifically, the domain name services. The working group will obviously have to engage more with the community, through fine tuning parts of the questionnaires and sample interviewing of specific constituencies. A few strategic objectives should be retained from further outreach and with the corresponding strategic projects, the group should be in a position to elaborate on its recommendations.

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