AFRINIC CEO Speaks On The Firm’s Current Situation At The 75th ICANN Annual General Meeting

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AFRINIC Chief Executive Officer, Mr Eddy Kayihura, spoke on the current position of AFRINIC during the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) 75th Annual General Meeting that took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

He intervened at the welcome ceremony and at the Joint AFRALO-AfrICANN sessions of the meeting where he brought to light the current challenges facing the organisation, which include the multiple legal cases as documented on the AFRINIC website.

Addressing the value of a multi-stakeholder model, Mr Kayihura reiterated his appreciation of its efficiency at a global level that has seen AFRINIC through a myriad of challenges. “Let me stress that this is not only about AFRINIC as an organisation. This is about the Internet in Africa; this is also about a working Registry system that we all depend on, this is about a stable global Internet, this is also about ICANN and its community,” he said.

Concerning the different challenges AFRINIC has faced, Mr Kayihura spoke of the two-and-a-half-month-long bank account freeze. “The level of pressure that we have faced could have paralysed the organisation and impacted the stability of the Internet. It was a very critical situation,” said Mr Kayihura.

The CEO praised the existing mechanism within the Number Resource Organization (NRO) as a stability fund when a Regional Internet Registry is at risk, which came in handy during that time. He added that this was the insurance that the system would be equipped to deal with this kind of pressure.

Regarding the legal cases, Mr Kayihura emphasised the organisation’s trust in and respect for court decisions.“However, there is no question that AFRINIC needs to continue operating and delivering services with no interruption…. This is essential for the Internet“, he said.

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In addition, Mr Kayihura called for the stability of the Internet ecosystem to be taken as a community issue, the latter being part of the global ecosystem, and in this sense he applauded ICANN’s support. With the world gradually moving online, more people depend on the Internet to conduct various businesses and activities making the development of digital infrastructure fundamental. The world continues to evolve, and so does our bottom-up ecosystem with new challenges. Mr. Kayihura stressed on the fact that the pioneers of the Internet built this system in a manner that would prevent capture and as such, we ought to strive to keep things as they are.

In his concluding remarks, Mr Kayihura said, “Our governance structure and processes can only improve and become stronger. The only way to achieve this is through community participation. On our part as AFRINIC, we commit to continue to provide the best quality service possible to our region, encouraging community participation towards a stronger Registry for the African region and the Indian ocean“.