ICANN confirmed on Monday its plans to add six new ICANN representatives across Africa as part of a broader initiative in increasing the number of accredited domain name registrars in the continent over the next two years.
Currently, there are only five accredited domain name registrars in Africa, a stark contrast to the more than one thousand around the world. ICANN president Fadi Chehadé said he hopes to see the number of registrars in Africa increase five-fold in less than two years.
“ICANN used to say if you want to participate in Internet governance come to ICANN,” Chehadé said in a statement. “We’ve changed that, now ICANN is coming to the stakeholders. We’re not waiting for you to come. We’re coming to you.”
The announcement was made at the two-day Africa multi-stakeholder Internet Governance meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last week.
According to ICANN, the meeting was attended by 200 people, including government representatives, leaders from the African business community, and African ICANN structures AFTLD and AFRALO. The event was organized by the African Union, ISOC-Africa, AFRINIC and the African IGF.
Last month, ICANN unveiled plans to set up new hubs in Singapore and Istanbul to better serve the APAC market. ICANN has been accused of being too US-centric and its recent announcements illustrate that it is making the first steps in a concerted effort to reach out to its international communities and ultimately expand its reach.
Still, according to a report by PC Advisor, the plan isn’t without fault. ICANN needs to develop the DNS industry to create a system so registrars can provide users with the domain names they want. According to ICANN, plans on developing the DNS industry were discussed in a two-day workshop following the meeting last week.
Talk back: Do you think ICANN’s expansion in Africa will serve to make it a more international organization? What are your concerns around ICANN’s plan? Let us know in a comment.