Promoting the Multi-stakeholder Model for further Internet Development in Africa
AfriNIC, the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for Africa, has a mission to support Internet technology usage and development and to promote Internet self governance. This all pervasive task cannot be done in isolation, rather, it requires the involvement of stakeholders at various levels, but more importantly, that of governments, policy makers and regulators.
Today, National Regulatory Authorities (NRA), governments and policy makers are increasingly realizing that their role is germane to continuous development of the Internet. A role that includes:
- Identifying obstacles that impede the growth of the Internet;
- Identifying ways to accomplish related tasks more effectively and efficiently;
- Staying informed of the industry trends;
- Understanding of the resources required and their availability; and,
- Developing relationships with other organizations that are also tasked with common goals.
Moreover, they are realizing the impact that Internet Protocol resources have on the growth and expansion of the telecommunications industry, namely with the deployment of mobile technologies which has accelerated the use of IP resources and the emerging of new applications on the Internet that use the Internet Protocol as their backbone.
Consequently, in light of the convergence of the mandates of NRAs, other government organizations and AfriNIC, it is desirable that there is increased communication and partnerships with each other in efforts which are of common interest and to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of the limited resources available to achieve the common goal of ensuring Internet access to most across the continent. In realizing this, AfriNIC and ARTP (l’Agence de Régulation des Télécommunications et des Postes), for example, successfully organized an Internet Governance Workshop in October 2008, which was held in Dakar, Senegal. The success of this workshop was measured by the number of participants from government, civil society and the private sector locally, the positive feedback from all, and the subsequent requests from other regulators to hold similar events in their respective regions or countries.
It is important to note that participation and sponsorship was also received from ICANN, ISOC, and Kheweul, key players in the African region with leadership roles in Internet development. This workshop was organized using the multi-stakeholder approach, an approach that we wish to continue to emphasize and apply going forward. It is in this context that AfriNIC is advocating increased communications and partnering with the NRAs, governments, and policy makers and is therefore committed to this initiative and to hold subsequent workshops (two to three times per year) across Africa, which is the concept that is addressed hereunder.