“African government delegates were finally complaining they were coerced into ‘AU position’ and stating that they have no reason to object to DCA or a competitive bid for Africa”.
DotConnectAfrica has emerged as the first firm to show interest of the project dotAfrica (.africa).
This was explicitly reported to the delegates attending the AfriSIG 2013 for the First African School on internet governance 2013, hosted alongside the ICANN conference in Durban. In his presentation, Edmund Katiti, NEPAD’s Policy and Regulatory Advisor on ICT noted that, “in 2007 DotConnectAfrica declared intention to apply for dotAfrica”.
The presentation goes ahead to show how the dotAfrica project was taken over to be discussed continentally, thus CITMC meeting in Johannesburg; however failing to present that the initial proposal used to present to this forum or obtain the heads of states support for .africa at it is claimed by AUC was the proposal submitted by DCA and the months of discussions and approval processes within the institution.. The NEPAD presentation does not at all inform the audience that DCA has received an original endorsement by the AUC in 2009., as part of the history of .africa.
It is critical to note that amidst these deliberations that led to a complete blockage of DotConnectAfrica’s intent and bid, no information whatsoever was disseminated to any delegates of even government officials during this presentation or past, that AUC had endorsed DotconnectAfrica and legal and moral standards would indeed demand that AUC seeks to either work alongside DotConnectAfrica to bring more stakeholders aboard on the project DCA initiated and proposed to AUC.
Therefore, as reported, the support for DCA’s interest on .africa was skewed long ago, as interested parties took a new course and mislead the AUC into dropping DCA’s endorsement and instead, went ahead to coalesce and form a new ‘working group’ organized as the AU dotAfrica Taskforce, comprising of people of ill intent on the Pan African project.
As it’s now clear many countries indeed did not and still have no idea what the “AU position” is or even know there is another bidder that was endorsed before by AUC. In Durban amidst all these controversy, when push comes to shove, government delegates were finally complaining they were coerced into AU position and stating that they have no reason to object to DCA or a competitive bid that would be of benefit to Africa.
The ICANN procedures have not been properly understood in the continent and that explains the low number of applications on the new gTLDS. The implications of little information on the same also explain the current confusion that exists about the .africa bids.
It’s true that knowledge about the procedures of the new gTLDS in africa is for the select few who attend ICANN meetings and purport to speak for the continent during every ICANN meeting. This is evident in the skewed GAC meetings where support has not been given to processes and RFP’s, but to the AU preferable and handpicked entity called Uniforum.
According to the same presentation by NEPAD concerning dotAfrica project, the countries that did not give letters of support to Uniforum/AUC application to dotAfrica are the following:
Sao Tome & Principe,
However, as the Durban meeting revealed, there were countries present in Durban that did not provide support, but their names not on the list of supporters. Therefore, it is expected that many more did not as they were confused as to either the the ICANN process and or who the applicant was, and why DCA’s bid was being objected to, as it is to be a competition.
Also the presentation quotes that only 3 countries presented a formal objection:
Not sure about the other two, however the Kenya Objection is still in contention as Kenya, as a competing host country to .africa have endorsed DotConnectAfrica, making the entire GAC consensus against DCA questionable, as the Kenya GAC advisor to ICANN Sammy Buruchara gave a dissenting opinion to GAC during the ICANN Beijing event. This is the written objection to any GAC consensus over DCA’s application, to which both GAC and ICANN has ignored conveniently, so as to move ahead the Uniform application.
The future of the dotAfrica project is at stake. As soon as governments understand why they were not fully informed or protected, Uniforum and AUC will have many questions to answer, including who sanctioned Uniforum to run the dotAfrica bid, the transparency of the AU RFP, the non-Community application factor and the individuals behind the entire convoluted AUC-Uniforum.