AFIGF: AUC pushed for its .africa agenda in exchange of ICANN’s Transition

The third African Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF) took place in Abuja, Nigeria from 10 to 12 July 2014.  The Internet Governance Forum is one of the major outcomes of the 2005 World Summit on the Information Society. The African internet governance space was very active in the lead up to the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) in 2005 and became even more so after the Summit. Egypt hosted the first AfIGF from 2 to 4 October 2012 and Kenya hosted the second from 23 to 26 September 2013.

Among issues that continue to surface in the International Internet Governance forums is the issue of .africa that has been affected by major controversies on the mandate of the applicants to run the registry.

During the forum a representative from the African Union Commission mentioned the ICANN/ZACR signing of the .africa contract despite a pending IRP case filed by DotConnectAfrica, and also expects to be delegated by September 2014. An intervention was also made by DotConnectAfrica participants who clarified that the IRP panel has given an Injunction against ICANN and ruled that

“ICANN must immediately refrain from any further processing of any application for .africa until this Panel has heard the merits of DCA’s Trust Notice of Independent Review Process and issued its final decision regarding the same”

The statement made by the AUC Representative indicates that Africa Union will be delegated in September, despite the outcome of the IRP indicates for sure how the AUC does not take accountability process seriously, as reportedly it has managed to rig its own process of accountability on its own RFP. In a transparent display of quid pro quo, the AU rep also was also heard of pushing for Africa to participate in IANA transition.

IANA transition is seen as an important participatory mulstistakeholder activity that could determine the future of ICANN and many want to participate on making decisions. It should be remembered that During the ICANN GAC meeting in London, the AUC GAC representative came short of threatening non-support of future ICANN activity in a veiled statement that

The issue of .AFRICA is making Africans so frustrated that at any point of time any decision for the further that would be taken or anything else could be ‐‐ could not get the African support.”

Despite such agenda’s being pushed to the forefront, the third AfIGF discussed critical issues of relevance and concern to the Continent as part of a global 10-year review of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS+10). The Forum will also made recommendations for consideration and adoption by African governments and other stake-holders.

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