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DotConnectAfrica Reports Successful ICANN 44 at Prague, Czech Republic

ICANN 44 meetings come at a very crucial time that is preceded by the recent BIG reveal of the 1930 new gTLD applications, an opportune time for the applicants to deliberate about their applications as well as the future that is beckoning.

Czech Republic, a city whose history of Prague covers more than a thousand years, during which time the city grew from the Vysehrad Castle to the capital of a modern European state, the Czech Republic. Apart from the meetings deliberations, certainly the delegates to this meeting will remember the picturesque views, bridges and architectural wonders for a long time.

Czech is also a internet technology vibrant country being a leader in IPv6 having 8.6 % of its websites IPv6 compliant, and its .cz incorporated in the root.

DCA a was ably represented by a great team that included the Exec Dir/CEO Ms. Bekele and a high level delegation from Kenya. DCA has been able to muster lots of effort in campaigning for an African geoTLD for the past 4 years within the global ICANN societies and Africa. DCA assured all stakeholders that asked including ICANN representatives that its applied for gTLD application is for "Africa" string and not a ".dotafrica", as has been circulating in the press. As in previous ICANN meetings, DCA continued to thereby participate in the most exciting way in the commercial stakeholder, AFRALO, AfriICANN as well as technology forums,, and its team members and advisers were most active in their comments.

DCA was also amply represented by its back-end registry provider CentralNic, who was an official sponsor at the ICANN Prague event and actively participate in its advice on how Africa would receive world class technology transfer that would positively impact the existing ICT and domain industry in Africa. Indeed CentralNic is a successful registry provider that has brought a major turnover and has presence all over the world.

It also comes at a time when three of ICANN communities are having anniversaries with RALOS celebrating a 5 years of existence, 10 years for ALAC and LACNIC, where DCA was able to participate. This, in addition to the IPv6 protocol, which was fully launched in the historic day of June 6th 2012 and deployed after over 20 year preparation. This move will greatly be helpful at the time when the new gTLD's are underway.

A historic moment also is the introduction of the new ICANN CEO Fade Chehade who takes over effective July from the veteran Rod Beckstrom whose time at the helm heralded quite a number of grand advancements including the expansion of the domain namespace from a paltry 21 to more than you can imagine, the successful strings of course will be open for delegation come 2013.

Mr. Chehade introductory speech will be remembered for the phrase "The Internet is the Greatest Public Gift" having grown up in many parts of the world he is himself a gifted multilinguist who can fluently speak four major languages, He has also managed and started several successful companies in the technology realm and many hope that these good experiences will be translated to a successful leadership at ICANN.

Mr Chehade promises to be extra transparent as well as make all his decisions in public interest saying that he cares much more about getting things done than about figuring out who should get the credit. He also emphasized that he is all about inclusion, which starts by stepping out of the organization and looking at it from the outside, not being inside and seeing everything ICANNs way. "Objectivity, thoroughness, transparency and professionalism are our top priorities.". He continued saying "We must be expected to do five times better, ten times better than the commercial world. This is critical to who we are. So technical excellence, people excellence, contract management excellence". Mr. Chehade insisted that "ICANN cannot become a fortress. ICANN must become an oasis, a place that people see and come to because it works, because it makes sense, because it's efficient" stating "I am driven by building consensus, it is the reason I am here today "

The outgoing ICANN CEO Mr. Beckstrom pointed on a few issues that included the pressure that has surmounted ICANN especially from the new gTLD process and more specifically as it goes to the evaluation period which is quite a tricky part of ensuring that the domain name system is expanded fast but thoroughly. He also touched on ensuring that the policy at ICANN of ensuring that the system continues to be transparent much as the world is excluded from the internal workings of the organization that is slowly getting known universally. He thanked the community for the constant, tectonic pressure and constructive criticism especially in the developments.

Interim CEO Akram Amtallah who takes over during the transitional period amidst growing political and community pressures, promised to work with the board and all stakeholders to ensure that the process is not only predictive but smooth despite the obstacles. He emphasized the ICANN core philosophy, transparency, objectivity, thoroughness and professionalism especially during the evaluation period and the effort to continually make ICANN an international organization.

Dr. Crocker touched on the accountability, transparency, effectiveness saying that if ICANN doesn't get its job done properly and quickly, none will really care how transparent and accountable it is, and that ICANN board must be more available and especially during controversial decision making, Coordination with GAC to track inputs and ensure proper process of dissemination of the advice advanced. The organizational structure changes due to the new gTLD's shall need a tighter fiscal control and tracking, as well as not to make any decisions quickly. Dr. Crocker mentioned the vibrant global team at ICANN and its constituents IGF and ISOC that will engage Governments, civil society , and private sector that is credited for the multistakeholder model.

Issues of Conflict of interest continues to haunt ICANN whose board had members who were thought to have other responsibilities that would jeopardize their responsibilities at ICANN. The message from one session on this topic was that ICANN has the policies but lacks the enforcement/execution to ensure conflict of interest matters are properly addressed.

By and large the entire internet community and the world waits with baited breath to see how far the effects of the new gTLD's, most of which are brand protection names will change the name space. Especially Africa which began strongly by applying for 17 names is raring to own and manage its own geographic domain name and hopes that ICANN shall make its promise good of giving Africa and developing regions like Latin America more attention.

DCA takes pride in its historic achievement that utilized the Yes2dotAfrica campaign to bring about the required attention for the .africa gTLD to the global internet community.


About DotConnectAfrica – DotConnectAfrica a non-profit, non-partisan org registered in Mauritius, along with DCA Registry Services located in Nairobi, Kenya will sponsor, establish and operate a gTLD registry with global recognition and regional significance dedicated to the needs of Pan-African & African constituency. Learn More

Related topics: Registry Services, ICANN, Top-Level Domains

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