AfTLD Annual Report 2006-2007 I am pleased to present to you the annual report and AfTLD highlights for the year 2006 – 2007. It has been a short term for the AfTLD Executive Committee (Excom) with a challenging task to turn around the organization to become more visible and active in the region. The Excom has been invaluable in their efforts and support towards achieving the laid out objectives and as a result several achievements have been realized in the last 10 months of service. I wish to take this opportunity to mention that the AfTLD AGM initially scheduled for 30th April 2007 during the AfNOG/AfriNIC meetings in Abuja, Nigeria did not take place owing to the late issuance of the notice of the meeting as per the AfTLD constitution. Consequently the Excom resolved to reschedule the meeting for 30th May 2007 at the end of the AfTLD Workshop event having issued a 3 week notice in advance of the meeting. The Excom takes this opportunity to extends its sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused for those members who traveled to Abuja to participate at the AfTLD AGM. However, an informal meeting with the present members took place and various issues were deliberated upon. ACHIEVEMENTS During our last AGM held in June 2006, in Marrakech, Morocco, the General Assembly attended by 32 ccTLD managers from the region elected eight (8) new members to the Executive Committee to oversee the revamp of AfTLD activities in the region. In a subsequent Excom meeting, the members created role positions and assigned them to 4 of its 8 members with specific tasks and responsibilities geared towards achieving these objectives. The positions were as follows; o President – Mr. Michuki Mwangi (.KE) o Secretary & Treasurer – Mr. Vika Mpisane (.ZA) o Vice President Communications and outreach – Eng. Mohamed El Bashir (.SD) o Vice President Training and Capacity Building – Mr. Soulemane Oumtanaga (.CI) o Excom Member – Dr. Paulos Nyirenda (.MW) o Excom Member – Mr. Haja Ramboasalama (.MG) o Excom Member – Mr. Victor Ciza (.BI) o Excom Member – Ali Drissa Badiel (.BF) The remaining 4 members were assigned a supporting role to specific positions. To revive the online communications, the Excom under the directorship of the VP Communications acquired the control of the AFTLD.ORG domain name. Hosting Services for the website and mailing list services were provided through the sponsorship by the .SD and .KE Registry respectively. Further, the AFTLD website was redesigned to include French, Arabic and Portuguese translations. The French and Arabic translations have been completed while a Portuguese translator is being sought for. To enhance the new Excom’s cohesion and output, the members have been actively participating in the Excom mailing-list and monthly teleconferences. Since their appointment the Excom has successfully held nine (9) meetings with four of these meetings being face-to- face. I want to take this opportunity to thank the entire Excom for their efforts and contributions towards the success realized this far. AfTLD stands to benefit its members from the information and technical exchange shared between its members and other regions’ members thus the Excom renewed AfTLD’s observership role at CENTR the European ccTLD Association. Collaboration between the existent regional associations will contribute further to the organizations growth. In this regard, at the just concluded ICANN meetings in Lisbon, Portugal AfTLD expressed its interest to collaborate with LACTLD, APTLD and CENTR at an informal meeting. In an effort to formalize collaboration with organizations that share similar visions with AfTLD, the Excom has developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to be signed between AfriNIC and AfTLD on the 2nd of April 2007. The MoU outlines the obligations of both organizations to enhance the collaboration efforts. On behalf of the Excom I wish take this opportunity to thank AfriNIC for its continued support to AfTLD with provision administrative and financial management services. To promote African representation and participation at the global policy formulation arena, the Excom has ensured through facilitation that AfTLD is present during ICANN, AfriNIC and the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) meetings in the past year. At these forums, the Excom members have used the opportunities to present the Africa perspective as well as AfTLD issues and its agenda, stating positions on burning issues. Consequently, the AfTLD Excom has stated and presented its position to the ccNSO on the ICANN review of the geographic regions. A copy of the stated position is available on the AfTLD website. The African participation at the ccNSO council has been consistent with the representation of Dr. Paulos Nyirenda of .MW, Mr Bashir of .SD and Mr Victor Ciza of .BI. To ensure the sustained momentum of participation and representation at the ccNSO Council, the Excom notes with delight that ccNSO members from the Africa region, through consensus, nominated Dr. Paulos Nyirenda to continue serving in this capacity for another term. On the capacity building front, AfTLD has successfully held its first African ccTLD workshop in Cairo, Egypt on a theme ‘Building local Internet Community’ with the support of the Egyptian National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA), ICANN, Internet Society (ISOC) and AfriNIC. The event successfully brought together 32 participants from 13 African countries representing 12 ccTLD. Further, AfTLD member .CI has been actively involved in the implementation of Côte d'Ivoire Internet eXchange Point (CIXP) and facilitated a capacity building workshop on 15th to 16th May 2007 prior to its launch on the 17th May PLANNED PROJECTS As we endeavor to engage the region in promoting ccTLD values and representing their interests at both regional and international levels, the Excom has identified various projects that will further enhance the ongoing efforts to realize AfTLD objectives. AFTLD Registration AfTLD was incorporated as a non-profit organization on 19th December 2002 in Mauritius. In order to diversify and enhance its operations the AfTLD registration in Mauritius will require a review to reflect its regional status and representation. The process will involve changing the current members of the organization, its address and appoint a contact person. AfTLD has a legal advisor Mr. Neil Pillay based in Mauritius who initially registered the organization with the Registrar of Companies and is facilitating the process. Membership recruitment program AfTLD will soon be embarking on a membership recruitment drive aimed at formalizing its membership relationship with ccTLD managers in the region. The membership subscription process is aimed at strengthening and legalizing the relationship between AfTLD and the ccTLD managers. In addition to having voting rights at AGMs subscribed members will be incorporated into various projects and initiatives like capacity building workshops, technical support services, outreach, research and development programs. Subscribed members will be encouraged to contribute towards supporting AfTLD related events. A membership policy will soon be published for comments and regional ccTLD managers are invited to give their comments on the document prior to adoption as policy. Capacity Building events The availability of competent technical capacity is a critical element to ensuring the growth and stability of registry operations in the region. AfTLD will endeavor to initiate and facilitate capacity building opportunities to enhance the technical and administrative competence of its members in the region. The capacity building programs will focus on best practices for ccTLDs and emerging technologies related to Domain Name System (DNS) implementations. Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) are a critical infrastructural component in the operational stability of a national ccTLD. As a result, the AfTLD excom is in deliberation with the South African Department of Communications (DOC) amongst others ccTLDs to host the second AfTLD workshop in 2008. It is the Excoms hope that the annual workshops will impact positively on the development of ccTLDs in the region. Communication and outreach A ccTLDs is considered as a national resource that can be utilized to promote growth and development in ICTs. However, many countries and governments are unaware of the existent potential created by a stable and operational ccTLD. Notably, there are many myths related to ccTLDs that undermine their competitive advantages against gTLDs. In such circumstances AfTLD would play a significant role in engaging the relevant authorities in discussions aimed at creating awareness and demystifying the role of ccTLDs in society. AfTLD has been active in promoting the organization objectives resulting in well-established communication channels with various African ICT Organizations. Consistency and active participation of its members in the ICANN and ccNSO policy development process on Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) is evidenced by representation on the ICANN IDN Standards committee and ICANN President’s Advisory committee on IDNs by the Vice President Communications and Out- reach. Regional out-reach activities in coordination with other African ICT organizations in on top of our agenda for 2007-2008. To this effect, an AfTLD monthly Newsletter focusing on African ccTLD community, exchange of best current practices, global news and events will be introduced soon after recruitment of the Administrative Manager. Hiring an Administrative Manager Currently, the Excom is comprised of volunteers who offer time outside their formal responsibilities. Despite their commitment to AfTLD, busy schedules prohibit the ability of the members to deal with issues in a more conclusive manner. As a result, the Excom proposed the hiring of an AfTLD Administrative Manager to bridge the gap felt as a result of the member’s commitments. Terms of Reference (ToR) for the role have been developed and distributed to the region. It is expected that the manager shall be hired by the beginning of June 2007. FINANCIAL POSITION AfTLD is in its infancy stages and requires financial support to realize its objectives. In this respect, the AfTLD Excom initiated a fund raising campaign to offset its operating budget deficit. As a result, AfTLD received USD $15,000 from the Internet Society (ISOC) towards the hiring of a full time administrator for a period of one year. Formal commitment on financial support has also been received from NEUSTAR towards meeting operational aspects of the budget. The funding received from ISOC was deposited into AfriNIC’s bank account as a temporary measure until AfTLD manages to hire a manager to run its daily operations. The money has not been utilized up to date and is earmarked for the employment of the manager. In addition, AfTLD expects to receive member contributions on the commencement of the membership recruitment drive to complement the funding received from sponsoring organizations. The Excom will in due course table recommendations to African ccTLDs on suitable membership fees. This will take into consideration the fact that some African ccTLDs already make payments to ICANN and the ccNSO. THE FUTURE Evidently, AfTLD has a significant role to play in presenting as well as representing the African view on ccTLD community interests at the regional and international level and promoting the use of ccTLDs in the region. We expect that with the hire of the full time administrator the AfTLD operations will be intensified and proposed projects will commence in earnest. As a result, AfTLD will steer towards being a self-sustaining organization capable of meeting its financial obligations as increased member subscriptions are realized. With the increased communication and outreach, we expect to see improved participation of African Internet stakeholders at regional and international forums and greater involvement in policy development discussions at the global level. It is in the interest of AfTLD to see all 54 African States with stable and operational ccTLD registry’s over the next 5 years. There are ongoing deliberations with regards to the proposal for a sponsored top-level domain for Africa – dot Africa. In this respect, the Excom is closely observing the developments in order to carefully consider its involvement in the process and its terms of engagement. I also wish to take this opportunity to thank all those who have tirelessly given their time and resources towards the success realized so far and humbly request all of you to continue with your unwavering support as we seek to steer AfTLD to greater heights of serving the African region in the Internet arena. Michuki Mwangi President, AfTLD ExCom May 2007.
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