Coalition for Digital Africa, a new alliance that aims to expand the Internet in Africa, was launched in Addis Ababa on December 1, 2022.
Conceived by The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the Coalition is an alliance of like-minded organizations committed to building a robust and secure Internet infrastructure to bring more Africans online.
Home to the youngest population on the planet, 70 percent of whom are under age 30, Africa has one of the fastest-growing Internet penetration rates in the world. Internet connectivity is growing by leaps and bounds – from 1.2 percent in 2000 to 43 percent in 2021 – driven by a digitally savvy, young, and educated urban workforce for whom adopting and using online services is second nature.
“The Coalition for Digital Africa provides an opportunity for new ways of cooperating and collaborating among diverse stakeholders,” said ICANN President and CEO Gӧran Marby.
The Coalition will further promote innovation aimed at building technical capacity and encourage entrepreneurialism by enabling people to access the Internet using their own languages and scripts. While its official launch took place during a press conference at the 17th annual Internet Governance Forum, the Coalition already has rolled out activities in pursuit of its goals.
To make the Domain Name System (DNS) infrastructure in Africa more robust so that it can cater to the rapid growth, the Coalition announced the installation of an ICANN Managed Root Server (IMRS) cluster in Kenya last month. Another cluster is planned for a second location in Africa next year. These clusters enable regional Internet queries to be answered within the region, rather than being dependent on networks and servers in other parts of the world. The IMRS clusters will also reduce the impact of potential cyberattacks in Africa.
“The launch of the Coalition brings us one step closer to strengthening the Internet infrastructure in Africa. The Coalition provides an important vehicle to enable a better protected DNS and more secure Internet infrastructure in Africa,” said Mr. John Omo, Secretary General of the African Telecommunications Union.