ICANN launches initiative to advance Africa’s digital transformation
Addis Ababa, December 1, 2022 (FBC) – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) today launched the Coalition for Digital Africa, an initiative aimed at expanding the Internet in the continent.
Conceived by ICANN, the Coalition is an alliance of like-minded organizations committed to building a robust and secure Internet infrastructure to bring more Africans online.
Home to the youngest population on the planet, 70 percent of whom are under age 30, Africa has one of the fastest-growing Internet penetration rates in the world.
Internet connectivity is growing by leaps and bounds – from 1.2 percent in 2000 to 43 percent in 2021 – driven by a digitally savvy, young, and educated urban workforce for whom adopting and using online services is second nature, according to Cision PR NewsWire.
“The Coalition for Digital Africa provides an opportunity for new ways of cooperating and collaborating among diverse stakeholders,” said ICANN President and CEO Gӧran Marby.
The Coalition will further promote innovation aimed at building technical capacity and encourage entrepreneurialism by enabling people to access the Internet using their own languages and scripts.
While its official launch took place during a press conference at the 17th annual Internet Governance Forum, being held in Addis Ababa, the Coalition already has rolled out activities in pursuit of its goals.
John Omo, Secretary General, African Telecommunications Union, noted that the establishment of the Coalition will play the important role of enhancing confidence in many online systems that are now being mainstreamed, even as the continent looks forward to growing Internet penetration in Africa from the current 43% to globally competitive levels.
One way the Coalition will tackle this is through a project led by the Association of African Universities aimed at making email and other systems within higher education UA-ready.
“This is an important and welcome initiative for Africa. Improving the technical capacity of higher education institutions across the continent is imperative for a digital Africa,” said Olusola Bandele Oyewole, Secretary General of the Association of African Universities.
The Coalition for Digital Africa comprises governments, regional and international organizations, and the local Internet community. Inaugural partners of the Coalition also include the African Information Network Centre, AfRegistrar Association, Africa Top Level Domain, Africa Telecommunications Union, Association African Universities, Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération, International Telecommunication Union-Development Sector, and Network Startup Resource Center, as per Cision PR NewsWire.