[Comments-fy19-budget-19jan18] Support for ICANN’s continued support of ICANNWiki

Shantall .Ramatsui shantallterri at gmail.com
Thu Mar 8 16:11:13 UTC 2018

Support for ICANN’s continued support of ICANNWiki

06 March 2018

Submission by the CEO of Registry Africa: Mr Lucky Masilela



As a non-profit organisation, ICANNWiki is dedicated to providing a community-developed wiki focused specifically on ICANN, Internet Governance issues and the provision of educational resources. It specialises in outreach, engagement and accessibility and was established to provide partners with a platform to contribute to the future of the Internet while building a strong sense of community.


It can be easily seen from the above that Registry Africa and, in fact, the entire African ICT community have similar goals to that of ICANNWiki. There has been historical collaboration between us and it should continue for the future benefit of the Internet in Africa.


As the administrator of the dotAfrica gTLD, Registry Africa is determined to be the catalyst for ICT development in Africa and the right partners are paramount in this regard. Foremost amongst these is surely ICANNWiki, an organisation that has community outreach at the centre of its being.


ICANNWiki has a long history of helping to develop the Internet in Africa, an important and growing world market of over 1.2 billion people. Since its inception, in 1998, ICANNWiki has become a strong advocate for the African ICT community when it comes to Internet access and the necessity of bridging the digital divide.


ICANNWiki has been a key supporter of the African ICT developmental goals as outlined in the OR Tambo and Abuja Declarations through the creation of a community of online content developers and the building of capacity of these developers and by raising awareness about internet governance. The translation of policy documents into local African languages is an ongoing programme which needs to be phased into African regions other than the East and Southern regions of Africa to indeed bridge the current massive digital divide.  


ICANNWiki programmes have supported the World Economic Forum's Internet For All (IFA) programme which aims to create millions of new Internet users with a focus on the hardest to reach. This initiative specifically brings together stakeholders from the public and private sectors, non-profits, academia, international organisations, donors and civil society to create multistakeholder partnerships, all in pursuit of this developmental goal.


With the delegation by ICANN of the dotAfrica gTLD, the African continent has a real chance of being the birthplace of these legions of new Internet users that are the goal of the IFA campaign and which will take the web well into the 21st century. It goes without saying that the creation of new Internet users will ensure longterm sustainability within the domain name space.


Aside from its support of the above campaign, ICANNWiki helps boost the Internet in Africa by providing access to translation services that are helping many more Africans understand the workings of ICANN and its policies. ICANNWiki is specifically providing language services to communities in the East African region, an important hub for the web on this continent. Through collaboration and support of centres of excellence such as the Universities of Dodoma and Nairobi, ICANNWiki is transferring skills that are much needed by many Africans to allow them to participate in the digital economy.  The first phase of the translation services provided to Southern Africa has been completed, and with our ISOC partners, we are well on our way to move onto the next phase of translating more languages to increase participation in Africa’s role in expediting presence in the in the 4th Industrial Revolution by allowing our people to adequately access the written word.


ICANNWiki has implemented programmes to support language localisation and translation services in both East Africa and Southern Africa. The support of ICANNWiki in translating ICANN material and updates into Swahili, the most widely spoken language in Africa, has specifically been designed to bridge the language gap - and the digital divide by extension. This programme is now at a point where we can replicate to other parts of Africa, and the support of ICANNWiki is of utmost important.


ICANN's support of ICANNWiki is crucial in ensuring that the services it provides to the ICT community continues until we reach an inclusive world where over a billion Africans have become Internet users and are able to access information in a language they understand. ICANNWiki must continue to be the best resourced tool for narrowing the digital divide.  The current programmes, which have proven to provide more Africans based in East and Southern Africa access to the internet are still heavily reliant on the support and capacity building initiatives as provided by ICANNWiki.  It is for these reasons that the continued funding by ICANN is of utmost importance to allow Registry Africa and other ICT communities to ensure that we not only grow access to the internet but also to the possibilities of Africa’s sustained participation in the global digital economy.

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