Should we in Kenya lie to ourselves that we are a leading ICT destination in Africa? Lying to ourselves has the positive effect of creating momentum, good International Public Relations, and much needed media coverage. In the past ten years we’ve seen a flurry of business angels and venture capitalists hawk the landscape in search of the next MPESA. That has had a positive impact on the ICT space with several innovations getting noticed and funded. Actually, many of the innovations hubs have thrived because of riding the “ICT wave” that Kenya is the final destination in Africa when it comes to ICTs. And because the hubs thrive, they help to cement that notion by walking the talk. The many Apps competitions like DEMO Africa, and PIVOT East too have thrive because of the same notion, and stimulate our young people to develop great applications. And the cycle continues.

Kenya has become a launchpad for Africa’s commercial strategy for Tech firms, as Kenya grows it’s influence as the regional tech hub powerhouse. Multinationals like the IBM (research lab), Google, Microsoft, Samsung, and Bharti Airtel have all noticed and setup regional hubs in Kenya because of confidence in us. While in Indonesia for the 8th IGF as an Internet Society Ambassador, I met a Fijian lady who was praising Kenya for being the silicon valley of Africa. Indeed, a Kenyan Bernard of won the AfriNIC/SEED Alliance FIRE award for the best application in the region.

Remember, according to some CNN article by Todd Leopold, ( Americans lag behind in many academic and social measurements. They are number 27th in Mathematics, 50th in life expectancy, 72nd in paying taxes, and 173rd in infant mortality yet they are number 1 in self confidence, and they literally rule the world. Rwanda too is riding on the wave of good international PR, my thesis is, after 30th years, it will be Africa’s Singapore. We need that confidence, PR and international goodwill to rub on us. I don’t mind if we lie to ourselves.

We owe much of the gains of the last 10 years to the optimism that swept the country after the 2002 elections, and the pragmatism of President Kibaki who realised the value of PR for the country, and Dr. Ndemo’s action oriented approach in growing the ICT sector (remember the impossible undersea cable and the dream Konza Technology city).
Vision 2030 too was part of that optimism. I hope and pray that the Uhuru regime will capitalise on the gains made, and move us to even greater heights.

Finally, lets celebrate the young Kenyans who spend countless hours in University of Nairobi Nokia lab and innovation Lab, Strathmore’s iLab, iHub, Nailab, mLab, e.t.c. This guys have made Kenya a technology tourism destination, and contributed to the confidence we enjoy now.

The warmth of the genuinely friendly and hospitable Balinese people in the famous Indonesian archipelago of Bali together with the sunny and warm tropical weather emanating form the Bali sea was a clear indication the 8thGlobal Internet Governance Forum (IGF) would be fruitful and lead to positive outcomes. The tone had already been set by the environment.

Scenic Bali Sea beach
Scenic Bali Sea beach

The IGF capacity building pre-event organized by Internet Society had all global ISOC Ambassadors and ISOC fellows from the Asian Pacific region participate in topics of their interests that had an impact on the Internet in their respective regions. The discussions took the un-conference format where every individual from Australia to Argentina, from Kenya to Costa Rica, from Vanuatu to Uganda, from Venezuela to Russia, all felt comfortable and they could contribute without pressure.

Inside the Fishbowl

The discussions were done through the interesting and unique fishbowl method where seven debaters sat in the middle of a two tier circle, with an eight slot available for the other members sited outside the center ring to fill if they felt the need to contribute to the debate. Only those on the inside circle could contribute, and one had to exit the circle through peer pressure and join the outside circle to maintain the balance to seven debaters if the eight slot was occupied. A prefect would ensure fishbowl rules were followed; and a scribe would note all the key-points that emerge form the debate, but neither of them could contribute to the discussions.

A Fishbowl in session
A Fishbowl in session. Extream right, Ms. Toral Cowieson, Senior Director, Internet Leadership was the Prefect 

Interesting debates from different Internet related problems from across the globe were tackled, some of them being

  1. How do we create contacts within local stakeholders, running projects for the chapter and extending support to local community.
  2. Best practices in financial management of ISOC chapters including fund-raising and grants
  3. Setting ISOC chapter’s objectives and goals
  4. If we work on a project it would be … with … and jointly we can achieve …
  5. What is my role in my chapter to shape up the future of Internet in my community … and what do I need to do …
  6. ISOC chapters contribute most effectively to the Internet Governance if …
  7. Online Intermediaries and human rights : Embracing transparency, accountability and Trust in the Digital era.
  8. What is preventing effective Cyber security in developing countries? Are policymakers not aware of the severity of the issues and multitude of responses required (people, process and tech), and as much haven’t made Cyber security a national priority.
  9. Use of the Internet to support creative economy and sustainable development
  10. Child safety online: What is the role of parents in ensuring that children are safe online?
  11. Best practices in building community of learning. How do we create peer networks that build capacity building to Internet Governance?

The fishbowl is an interesting way of brainstorming and coming up with new ideas for contemporary problems that affect us. I consider this a key takeaway from the ISOC Ambassadorial program because we can use it in our local ISOC chapter meetings where all members will feel welcomed and encouraged to contribute. It can also be used in our day to day jobs , in meetings where we sometimes struggle to get members engaged.

The solution room.

This was a more interesting method of getting solutions for participants that had Internet related problems in their region. On the solution room, eight participants sat on a round-table and asked to write down their problem in a paper glued infront of each one of them. Participants then moved clockwise one position, but left their problem behind. Now the problem became the problem of the whole group, where they brainstormed around it as the members sited infront of the problem scribed the solutions offered. All the problems would be solved clockwise until the last. Each member would then take the solution for adoption in solving the respective problem presented.

The Solution Room

The Solution Room

My region has many Internet governance issues. I would like to handle the topic of “The Internet as an engine for growth and advancement. “

Access to the Internet can change lives of many people in the developing world producing plenty of opportunities for the youth, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders. Access to the internet in Africa is primarily through mobile phones.

Many young people are unemployed, yet we can harness technology to assist them improve their livelihoods. Opportunities for the youth can be made possible through introduction of affordable phones, training the youth on mobile application development, incubation of youth businesses that are developing new innovative applications that run on mobile phones and finally, providing employment opportunities for these young innovators. Economic empowerment of the youth will lead to self sustainability of these nations. In the past few years, cost of mobile phones has decreased, enabling access to majority of citizens in developing countries. According to a research by iHub Research and Research Solutions Africa conducted in mid 2012, (Crandall, 2012) noted that “16% of Kenyans at the BoP1 Internet on their mobile phone” This has also been made possible because cellular companies have reduced cost of operating mobile phones by providing cheap calling rates and internet.

As the barriers to access of the phones have been broken, the youth have showed great innovation through development of applications. One such application in Kenya is the iCow that enable farmers to keep health records for their livestock. Other applications being considered will enable farmers get competitive markets for their produce through introduction of a commodities exchange market, and access of competitive market price information. Ushahidi on the other hand is an application that can solve crisis problems of crime, delinquency, and disasters by use of Crowdsourcing.

Opportunities for entrepreneurs can be made possible where governments are stable and they enact favorable policies and regulations for investors. This will attract major companies to establish bases in developing countries and provide funding to local startups. The firms will provide business solutions like mobile banking, provision of micro loans through mobiles,

and mobile money transfer services. A good innovation in the Kenyan market because of favorable business environment is the world famous M-PESA, a mobile money transfer platform.

For many of these positives to become a reality, policies and regulations that affect the access to phones and the internet should be formulated. In Kenya, counterfeit phones were switched off September 30th 2012. The communication commission ordered telecommunication operators to block phones that don’t have International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI ) number from accessing network services. The main reason was that the phones pose security risks to the country because the users cannot be tracked, and also counterfeits deny revenue to the genuine manufacturers. About 1.5million phones were switched off, affecting many users at BoP. (Chebusiri, 2012) Should Kenya have taken a different road? Such policies of locking out the poor from accessing the network only serve to enlarge the digital divide. The digital divide is not only about people of lower economic class not affording mobile phones and internet, but a research conducted by (Scott & McKemey, 2002) revealed that less women have access to phones and internet than men, and less educated people are likely to use these technology than those with high school diploma. Tracking mobile users’ activities poses serious questions of privacy, and incline towards abuse of basic human rights.

Internet Service providers do bandwidth trottling to Peer to Peer (P2P) traffic especially when enforcing copyrights, or metering videos that clog their networks affecting the Quality of service (QOS) for the majority of average users. Accessing the internet through handheld phones as it is the case of developing countries tackles issues of net neutrality since mobile phones use less bandwidth, and they don’t have heavy applications that affect the QoS of other users.

All in all, developing nations should concentrate on having concrete policies, laws and regulation, having stable governments, educating the youth, and encouraging strategic investors to fund local businesses in the technology field. This will enable the nations to create more wealth and improve the livelihoods of their citizens, as well as benefit from foreign exchange and better balance of trade caused by exporting technology.


Chebusiri, W.w., 2012. BBC News – Kenya’s battle to switch off fake phones. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 24 October 2012].Crandall, A., 2012.

How the Kenyan base of the pyramid uses their mobile phone | *iHub. [Online] Available at:

[Accessed 24 October 24].Scott, N. & McKemey, K., 2002. The use of Telephone in Rural and Low Income Communities in Africa. In 42nd Meeting of the CTO Council. London, 2002.

Shauri Moyo Police Station, Nairobi

Shauri Moyo Police Station, Nairobi

The passengers were crushing each other trying to get out of the stationery bus. We were scared of the commotion in the Kamukunji grounds road in Kamukunji. “Laleni chini. Mimi nitaua mtu. Leta simu, wallet, na pesa”. The gun-brandishing thugs demanded in Swahili for all the passengers to hand over their earthly possession “Money and telephones” least they meet the creator. It was 4th of October at around 10am. In broad daylight. The scared and screaming passengers were met with equally disturbed and unstable thugs with guns that looked like they were came straight from world war 1. Luckily we just lost our bags and several valuables, but nobody in the bus sustained physical injuries.

The muggers had taken advantage of the snarling traffic common in Nairobi to rob motorists and passengers. More that 10 cars in a row were robbed with several drivers and passengers thoroughly beaten. The irony of all that was the Shauri Moyo police station where we went to record the incidence was just 100 meters away. “Who told you to use that road”, “don’t you know it’s dangerous and people get robbed there daily?”. That is the helplessness our Kenyan Police have become when dealing with spiraling crime.

Is the government of Kenya ready to protect it’s citizens? Security is a basic human right that we should not beg for. The criminals don’t know that, but the county government of Nairobi, and Ministry of Internal should. Carjackings, hijackings, muggings, and other crimes have become the order of the day. Who shall we turn to?

Ill fated Lumia Bus

Ill fated Lumia Bus

The Squre Peg in a Round Hole

The Misfit

Here’s to the crazy ones.
The misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do
— Apple Inc, 1997

Definitely, KENIC is destined for better times, and I would like to thank the board for the positive outlook as seen in the AGM of 2013.

But I would be very wary of celebrating this early. The domain statistics presented at the AGM from the Chairman’s report had glaring errors and were not accurate at all, from 13,132 domains in 2011 to 26,026 in 2012 a purported rise of 34% (clearly, 13k to 26k is 100%). In 2009, the domains were at around 12,000, in 2010 the numbers were at 15,000, and 2011 at over 20,000, not the 13,132 reported.

I’m not an accountant but a jump in profit from negative Ksh1.4Million to Ksh15Million in one year might need further explanation. The domain jump between that period was about 5000, while the costs of doing business between the two years had a difference of Ksh 5,572,011 (A positive thing indeed), the difference due to reduced wages instituted in the restructuring process. Some clarification on this might be in order. The number one rule of audit is Trust but Verify.

Otherwise the discussions were very fruitful and these were some of the deliberations;

1. That stakeholders can still lobby like in any other law making process if they need the law changed to fit a particular purpose.
2. That the ICT bill was passed in 2009, and KENIC has been operating with borrowed time (government has been gracious enough). The Kenya communications amendment act 2009 is attached, I wish we can really get to understand it, and the provisions that separate the regulator from sitting in KeNIC board.
3. That the community will drive the change process, including the timeliness for dissolution.
4. That a consultant was given the assignment of exploring the best model to be used in managing the .ke. This is through exploring what route successful ccTLDs out there have followed. The findings will be shared with the community. And the community must be the one to make the final decision.
5. Mr Michael Katundu raised a very important point, that even if KeNIC is dissolved, the .ke brand will still remain, and it should be protected.

The issue of corporate governance and term of directors was never discussed at the AGM.

My appeal to the community is we support the .ke brand, and KeNIC because it’s a national resource, and an object of identity. The community has for a while now been very vile with it.

2013 was a fruitful year for me after participating in both the first African Summer School on Internet Governance in Durban South Africa, the 47th ICANN meeting in Durban as an ICANN Fellow, and being selected the Internet society Ambassador to the IGF in Bali, Indonesia. The theme of the IGF is Building Bridges – Enhancing Multistakeholder Cooperation for Growth and Sustainable Development.

Other 2013 Ambassadors are:

Alejandro Acosta

Alejandro Acosta (Venezuela) is currently Technology Support Manager at British Telecom (BT). He is a member of LACNIC’s Electoral Commission and President of LAC-TF (the IPv6 Task Force). He coordinates the annual meeting of the Latin American IPv6 Forum and moderates the Latin American IPv6 Task Force mailing list. He also is Professor of TCP/IP at the Nueva Esparta University, a course for 9th semester students. Alejandro is a member of LACNIC, IETF

Anupam Agrawal

Anupam Agrawal (India) is a Presales & Enterprise Solutions Lead for Tata Consultancy Services. He is a Chartered Accountant (CA) and also holds a number of industry certifications in areas such as IT auditing and business performance management. He is currently pursuing a qualification in Cyber Crime Investigation at the Asian School of Cyber Laws. He is also an inductee of the Information Technology Committee of Bengal Chamber of Commerce.

Andrés Azpúrua

Andrés Azpúrua (Venezuela) is the Director/Co-Founder at Venezuela Inteligente, an organization that develops and facilitates technology tools for civic engagement. He completed his Diploma in Leadership and Public Policy at IESA, UCAB, Fundación Futuro Presente in Caracas, Venezuela. Andrés is an Internet Freedom Fellow with interests in the areas of human rights, access and diversity and IG4D (Internet Governance for development).

Nabil Benamar

Nabil Benamar (Morocco) works as a Professor of Computer Science at the Moulay Ismail University. He holds a Master’s degree in Computer Networks and a PhD in Computer Science from the Moulay Ismail University. Nabil has extensive experience in IPv6, DNS, security and privacy, open source culture, and networking.

Cecilia Bermudez

Cecilia Bermudez (Venezuela) currently works as a Teaching Assistant in the School of Systems Engineering at the Universidad de los Andes in Merida, Venezuela. Cecilia is pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Systems Engineering at the Unidad Educativa Colegio María Inmaculada. Her topics of interest are access and diversity, critical Internet resources and security and privacy.

Fawaz Bokhari

Fawaz Bokhari (Pakistan) from Lahore is an Assistant Professor at the Punjab University College of Information Technology (P.U.C.I.T). His research interests include computer networks and distributed and cloud computing. Currently, he is working on designing efficient communication protocols (transport and network layer) for data centers. He also teaches an introductory level cloud computing course to graduate students.

Nicolas Caballero

Nicolas Caballero (Paraguay) is the Vice President of Omnia S.A. He completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science at the Universidad Autónoma de Asunción, Paraguay, specializing in Networking and the Internet. He is currently the Paraguay representative to the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). Mr. Caballero is very interested in the areas of access and diversity, critical Internet resources, openness and security, and IG4D (Internet governance for development).

Oswaldo Cali

Oswaldo Cali (Venezuela) is a Lawyer specializing in human rights, and is currently an Officer of the Promotion, Defense and Public Action Program. His work is predominantly in the field of freedom of expression, and he carries out studies of legislation and policies in Venezuela and participates in related national and international campaigns. He graduated from the Universidad Metropolitana in Caracas, Venezuela with an Abogado (Juris Doctor equivalent).

Raitme Citterio

Raitme Citterio (Venezuela) is a computer engineer and graduate from UCLA – University Lisandro Alvarado. His specialty is management and development of knowledge and learning communities online.  As a consultant in the area of e-Learning, he works on issues of regional leadership and building capacity for the region. He is a member of the Royal Venezuela – Graduates of training programs in Latin America-Caribbean international cooperation programs of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Natalia Enciso

Natalia Enciso (Paraguay) is an Attorney-at-Law and a Professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Asunción (UAA). Her work is concentrated in the areas of online trust and identity, e-Commerce, e-Government, data protection, and mediation. Ms. Enciso is especially interested in human rights and exploring how proposed legislations such as SOPA, PIPA, and CISPA relate to censorship and freedom of expression.

Teuku Geumpana

Teuku Geumpana (Indonesia) is presently employed by the BINUS International, School of Computer Science as a Program Coordinator. He holds a Bachelors of Information Technology from the International Islamic University of Malaysia. He was also awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to complete his Masters in Management Information Systems at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He is presently conducting academic research in the areas of software engineering, cloud computing, distributed systems and wireless mobile application

Argyro Karanasiou

Argyro Karanasiou (Greece) is a Lecturer in Law and a Research Fellow at the Center for Intellectual Property, Policy and Management (CIPPM), Bournemouth University. She is currently at the end of her PhD studies at the Center of International Governance (CfIG) in the University of Leeds. Her doctoral research focuses on the intersection of new technologies and human rights, predominantly freedom of speech. She is a member of the Open Right’s Group Academic Network, the Global Internet Governance Academic Network and the Society of Legal Scholars.

Sarah Kiden

Sarah Kiden (Uganda) currently works as a Web & E-Learning Administrator at the Uganda Christian University. She holds an MSc in Information Systems from the Uganda Martyrs University and completed her BSc studies in Information Technology at the Uganda Christian University. She is a DiploFoundation Fellow, ICANN47 Fellow and has served on the Nominating Committee (Nomcom) of the Internet Governance Caucus. Sarah was one of the co-organizers of the TedxKiraTownWomen event in Uganda in 2012.

Mwendwa Kivuva

Mwendwa Kivuva (Kenya) from Nairobi is an ICT Administrator at the University of Nairobi. He is a member of the Kenya and East African IGF Steering Committee, and a regular participant in the Kenya ICT Action Network group (KICTAnet), Kenya Internet Governance Forums (IGF) and the Kenya Network Information Center (KENIC). He is an ICANN47 Fellow and an AFRINIC16 Fellow. His interests are IG4D (Internet governance for development), ICT policy and human rights on the Internet.

May-Ann Lim

May-Ann Lim (Singapore) currently works as the Research Director at TRPC. Her career has spanned a number of regional and global institutions, including the World Bank, the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, and the Singapore Internet Project. Her interests include telecommunication networks and ICT policy, new media and communications, technology developments and applications, mobile platforms, disaster relief and development work in universal education, and access to finance.

Sheba Mohammid

Sheba Mohammid (Trinidad & Tobago) is a multidisciplinary Internet professional with a background that includes experience working in digital inclusion, ICT policy and strategy, sustainable development, Internet governance, e-Learning and behavioral science of cyberspace. She is a Commonwealth Fellow and an African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Fellow to the IGF. Sheba is currently the Director of Policy and Implementation at the Global Social Media Impact Study, European Research Council.

Sergey Ovcharenko

Sergey Ovcharenko (Russian Federation) is a Trainee Researcher at the Joint Supercomputer Center of the Russian Academy of Science. He is also the Director for .SU Domain Development at the Foundation for Internet Development in Moscow. He holds a BSc in Applied Physics and Mathematics and an MSc in Mathematical and Information Technology from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. His work experience is in the areas of ccTLD management, embedded systems development and network security research.

Roxana Radu

Roxana Radu (Romania) is a PhD candidate in International Relations/Political Science at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. Previously, she worked as a Programme Coordinator and Researcher with the Center for Media and Communication Studies (CMCS) at the Central European University. Ms. Radu is interested in new media regulation, social uses of new technologies, and civil society empowerment.

Cintra Sooknanan

Cintra Sooknanan (Trinidad & Tobago) is an Attorney-at-Law. She holds a BSc in Computing and a LLB from the University of London, and a LLM from Staffordshire University. Ms. Sooknanan has a long involvement with ICT non-profits and has served as the Director of the Trinidad & Tobago Computer Society. She is the Chair of the Internet Society Trinidad & Tobago Chapter and Vice-Chair of the new gTLD Working Group at ICANN.

Filiz Yilmaz

Filiz Yilmaz (Turkey) is an Internet Governance & Policy Consultant. She has extensive work experience in the Internet industry in roles specific to resource management, policy, engagement, participation and strategic communications. She is the former Senior Director of Participation and Engagement at ICANN, and is currently the Programme Committee Chair at RIPE NCC. She is also a Founding Member of the ISOC Turkey Chapter.

The ICANN47 fellowship started with morning session on Sunday 14th July 2013 at 8.00am at the Durban Albert Nkosi Luthuli International Conference Center. Most of the fellows where still dazed by the organisation and beauty of Durban, “the warmest place to be”, as cold and windy as it was. “Is this Africa?” they asked. I was frustrated finding out that South African power plugs are a vestige of the old British Empire, with a 3-prong behemoth used only in rural Ireland but rejoiced at finding the standard multi-prong power strips in the conference centre. Well done ICANN.

Attending ICANN47 as a fellow, having been a registrar knowledgeable in several terms  like ccTLD, CCNSO, GNSO, gTLD, and GAC, I was sure I would skate through unscathed, be the know it all. Shock on me. After 6 amazing days, I was reborn. Most of the ICANN community leaders I met were at the deep of all things Internet. They were pioneers in the foundation and growth of internet standards be it DNSSEC or NextGen WHOIS. However, the part I loved most was diversity integration, and getting to be comfortable with people of different races, culture, and geographic backgrounds. Our host Janice Douma Lange ensured we were all comfortable and welcomed by her constant smiles, approving eyes and warm hugs. Smiley

Participating and getting involved in writing strategy for the largest multistakeholder organisation in the world was also a priceless experience.

Rich diversity at the golf day. Four ICANN fellows Victor, Kivuva, Paul and Adrian and an Alumni attended the event

Rich diversity at the golf day. Four ICANN fellows Victor, Kivuva, Paul and Adrian and an Alumni attended the event

The openness of most of the processes was visible. At the ccNSO council meeting, Rwanda was admitted as the 138th member unanimously. The councils were voting publicly, and all deliberations were public. GAC also welcomed Madagascar, Namibia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Swaziland, and Zambia to the GAC as members.

Future participation will ground me and help me get a home across the diverse Supporting Organisations (SO), Advisory Committees (AC), and Technical Advisory Bodies. Currently; I’m levitating towards ALAC, CCNSO , and GAC.

Interesting encounters

Networking with whoiswho in ICANN at Hilton, the amazing giant aquariums at Ushaka marine world, morning fellowships meetings with different organs of ICANN, a beautiful seafront hotel, participating in the new ICANN strategy, fellows’ dinner, and the golf day was incredible. I cannot substitute these experiences with anything.

Kivuva, Paul, and Dr. Nii in Durban

Kivuva, Dr. Nii, and Paul in Durban

Topics that had an impact on me were replacing WHOIS, Next Gen Directory Services, newTLDs,  and DNSSEC

On day three there were presentations at the fellowship meeting. Business constituency Chair. Alisa Cooper got me thinking, when she stated that businesses have to pay membership fees to belong to the club. It had never occurred to me that businesses need representation at ICANN. It is apparent that businesses have diverse interests including security, trademark protection, and quality of service.

ICANN’s Role in Internet Governance

In the newcomers section, different staff at ICANN presented ICANN roles to us. We learned that ICANN is responsible for the coordination of the global Internet’s systems of unique identifiers and ensuring it’s stable and secure. ICANN’s role includes coordination of the Internet Protocol address spaces, and assignment of address blocks to regional Internet registries, for maintaining registries of Internet protocol identifiers, and for the management of the top-level domain name space, autonomous system numbers, and port numbers at the transport layer :). My CCNA helped me not to float. ICANN is now more involved with DNS policy development.

ICANN’s primary principles of operation have been described as helping preserve the operational stability of the Internet; to promote competition; to achieve broad representation of the global Internet community; and to develop policies appropriate to its mission through bottom-up, multistakeholder consensus-based processes.

There was a heated debate on why Africa did not apply for the new gTLDs. Reasons floated was prohibitive cost. But surely, Funding was there. And why do developing worlds need funding for the newtlds while they can raise capital like the west? Other reasons floated was difficult and complex process including a guidebook that was hard to decipher. My answer would be most developing worlds did not see the value of newgtlds since their ccTLDS are not doing good either. As an African, I don’t think we need any babysitting. If we don’t see the value, only sensitization can help. In response to a questions from GAC, ICANN CEO Fadi  noted that $2M was set aside to help developing countries in new gTLD application, and in the next round of applications, an assessment of how this round went will be conducted.

Well if there will be a remedial round of applications for only developing countries, I will surely make an application for a geoTLD of my region and ride the experience. 🙂

One point that caught my attention was the opportunities available to develop products for DNSSec. This is a window that anybody with an entrepreneurial mindset can capitalise on. I also grasped the concept of IDNs which have been bothering me for a while since my previous Internet Governance classes.

ICANN47 was officially opened by ICANN Chairman Dr Stephen Crocker and the President Fadi Chahade on the third day. In ICANN’s effort for multistakeholder engagement, ISOC and IETF had their CEO and Chair respectively represented. The ITU Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun I. Touré connected through a Webex video link and stated that they share “the goal of working together by cultivating a relationship based on collaboration and cooperation”. From Dr Touré ‘s speech, you could sense the frosty relationship between his organisation and ICANN, dating from when UN through ITU was said to want to take control of the internet. But Dr. Touré was reconciliatory; “Could I therefore suggest that the time may be right to move our relationship onto a stronger footing – perhaps through a more formal partnership between our two organizations, focused on greater collaboration and cooperation, while clearly respecting our distinct roles and mandates.”

By reading in between the lines, I concluded that the cold war and frosty relationship between ITU/UN and ICANN is all about control of internet resources. Everybody wants a piece of the cake.

Mr Likonga from BongoHive had his moment of fame after a short but entertaining presentation on their incubation hub that is transforming the lives of young people  in Lusaka Zambia by giving them opportunity to develop software and be useful to society.

The Registrar Accreditation and Registry Agreements were signed by representatives of different registrar/registry together with the ICANN President.

Signing of the RA and RAA between stakeholders from different companies.

Signing of the RA and RAA between stakeholders from different companies.

CEO Fadi announced the formation of ICANN strategy Panels that will serve as an integral part of a framework for cross-community dialogue on strategic matters with the chair of the panels selected by Fadi.The panels are:

  • Identifier Technology Innovation chaired by Paul V. Mockapetris
  • ICANN’s Role in the Internet Organizations’ Ecosystem chaired by Vinton G. Cerf
  • ICANN Multistakeholder Innovation chaired by Beth Simone Noveck
  • Public Responsibility Framework chaired Dr. Nii Quaynor
  • Role of ICANN in the Future of Internet Governance

Each panel will have staff and young research fellows from UCLA and MIT. Each also has a secretariat, and executive sponsor, who ensures the work done at that panel is tightly integrated, and fed into the operating planning processes.

The Doodle artist that translated all spoken words at the conference to art was unbelievable. That is now pure talent. (How comes I don’t have a photo of that magic?)

After the opening ceremony, I attended the ICANN 5-year strategic planning meeting where I was the rapporteur for my group where we covered issues of Internationalisation and Regional Development, and Security and Stability.

In the Hilton fellowship social event, I got a very different perspective of why people attend ICANN. They all have different interests they are advancing. Each attendee is there for a different reason, with different agendas, different attitudes and different experiences. Some are there as idealistic participants in the multi-stakeholder process; others are hardened cynics. Some are there to participate in Internet Governance; others are there to get things done for clients. Some are veterans; others are newbies. Some are there because their business depends on it; others are there to keep ICANN from being solely a vehicle for domain name businesses. Some have multiple agendas; others have hidden agendas

GAC meeting with ICANN board

On day four, The ICANN Board was faced with fire breathing GAC representatives where they had to answer questions ranging from Dotless domain, Geographic domains, RA and RAA and laws that ICANN should follow given it’s distribution across autonomous borders, Budgeting and transparency of usage of funds, and countries representation especially in new gTLDs.

The fellowship session on day five started by a presentation from Trademark Clearing House (TCH). TCH was formed to enable trademark owners to protect their rights during the DNS expansion. The benefits of TCH are obvious, but the downside in my view is the cost trademark owners will incur in hiring lawyers, and trademark experts where there are disputes across regions, and also the cost of reserving their trademarks for multiple years across hundreds of new gTLDs. There are very few registrations in the TMCH – barely more than 6,000. Obviously, this is a small fraction of all the registered trademarks in the world. Whatever the reason, brandowners need to register any marks that they would hope to acquire as domain names in a Sunrise application period.

Engaging the Global Community

Engaging the Global Community – An interactive approach to outreach session was fulfilling where I participated as the secretary and presenter for my group. Our task was to outline tools for engagement for the ICANN labs process. Our input was that ICANN content can be accessed through:

  • Visuals format  (Skits, videos, cartoons)
  • Offline participation, access to content through mobile apps
  • Social media, chat, e.t.c where community can pose questions and help each other find relevant information
  • Document management, wiki format.
  • An app to navigate the meeting especially in different languages.


The Golf day at Durban Country Club

We capped a very successful and fulfilling week by attending the golf day arranged by .zacr and .zadna.  Memories are made of this.

Kivuva Driving a golf cart at the Durban Country Club

Kivuva Driving a golf cart at the Durban Country Club

My Outcomes of ICANN 47

ICANN At-Large logo

ICANN At-Large logo

One reason for applying for the fellowship was to understand better the different ICANN processes. In the meeting, and during the evening networking session, I realised that my country Kenya does not have any representation in Afralo ( Kenya does not have representation in the At-Large, meaning the voice of the local internet users is not being heard at ICANN. I have now initiated the process of registering the local ISOC community as an At-Large member through Afralo. That is a big milestone for me, and a key deliverable from the meeting.

I’m struggling to run a registrar business back in Kenya. With the new developments in ICANN including a new strategy for Africa, and the willingness of ICANN to facilitate expanding the number of ICANN accredited registrars in Africa from 6 to a less embarrassing number, my company can benefit from the networks and the effort. Well, the $70,000 needed to be an ICANN accredited registrar is beyond the reach of many. I managed to get crucial contacts to plug into .zacr and start registering .za domain at a more reasonable price of $3.5 compared to the $25 the Kenya ccTLD manager KENIC charges for .ke domains.

I count Durban as a success based on what I personally hoped to learn and accomplish on the trip.

Fellowship Feedback

For the fellowship to be less cryptic and more meaningful, probably we can have a fast-track syllabus where fellows study material online, and post comments about the content a week before the meeting. This way, the fellows will be better equipped when attending the actual ICANN meeting. A hypertext tool for collaboration and group comments on the learning material can be developed. Such a tool is available at screenshot below

Example tool at with hypertext markups by students

A screenshot of the e-learning tool used by DiploFoundation

A screenshot of the e-learning tool used by DiploFoundation


Sessions attended

  1. Africa DNS forum
  2. New comers welcome and Info session
  3. All morning and afternoon fellowship sessions
  4. Fellowship social event at The Hilton Polo Lounge
  5. Welcome ceremony and President’s opening session
  6. Creating a new ICANN 5-Year strategic plan
  7. Replacing WHOIS – The next generation directory services
  8. Business Networking at The Hilton
  9. GAC plenary
  10. GAC meeting with ccNSO and
  11. GAC meeting with ICANN Board
  12. DNSSEC for everybody – A beginners’ guide
  13. ccNSO celebrating 10 years cocktail at Coastlands Hotel Umhlanga
  14. Music night at Southern Sun Elangemi hotel
  15. AFRALO / AFRICANN joint meeting
  16. CCNSO council meeting
  17. Domain Name Association and CEO taskforce updates
  18. Gala night at Ushaka Marine world
  19. Engaging the Global Community – An interactive approach to outreach
  20. ICANN public forum
  21. Fellowship goodbye dinner
  22. Golf day at Durban Country Club

Appendix: Abbreviation
If the abbreviations are more than you can handle, see

ICANN 47 fellows

ICANN 47 fellows at the Nkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, Durban, South Africa, 19th July 2013

What is an ICANN fellowship and who are the fellowships for?

The Fellowship Program provides a grant of support to individuals who are members of the Internet community and have not previously been able to participate in ICANN processes and constituent organizations. In some cases, continued limited support is provided to those who have previously participated but need the opportunity to implement an agenda pertinent to a particular meeting (and still meet program criteria). This is a means tested program. Recipients are expected to actively contribute to ICANN processes and be a part of the next generation of ICANN leadership.

How are the fellowships awarded?

Fellowships are awarded by an independent selection committee based on a mix of criteria including applicant experience and references, geographic proximity to meeting, receipt of past fellowships.

Due to financial limitations ICANN may not be able to provide fellowships for all qualified applicants. In the case of a dispute or similar applications final decisions will be made by the fellowships committee.

Who may apply for and be awarded a fellowship?

  • The programme is targeted at individuals new to the ICANN environment from government, the ccTLD community, academic, civil and business constituents as well as non-profits, who are NOT involved in or associated with other ICANN supported travel programmes.
    • Successful applicants will have demonstrated:
      • Ability to utilize the experiences gained from the fellowship to become a part of the next generation of ICANN leadership
      • A role or interest in the Internet space
      • An interest in contributing to:
        • ICANN policy development processes.
        • The ICANN fellowship alumni network.
        • A leadership role in stimulating local interest in ICANN.
        • An ICANN supporting organization or advisory committee.

Current Program Status:

The following individuals have been selected to participate in the ICANN 47 Public Meeting in Durban, South Africa this July 14-18 2013.

  • Alejandro Jacobo Acosta Alamo – Venezuela – Academic and LACNIC member
  • Farzaneh Badiei – Iran – Internet Governance Forum Secretariat
  • Ulkar Bayramova – Azerbaijan – Academic and At Large
  • Artak Barseghyan – Armenia – Government
  • Andrew Rarumae – Solomon Islands – Business – member ccNSO
  • Kadian Davis – Jamaica – Academic – member NCSG and NCUC
  • Patricia Marie Thérèse Gnilane Senghor – Senegal – End User
  • Adrian Quesada Rodriguez – Costa Rica – Academic
  • Mwendwa Kivuva – Kenya – Civil Society and Business, Registrar
  • Oleg Demidov – Russia – Not For Profit
  • Etuate Cocker – Tonga – Academic
  • Dejan Djukic – Serbia – Not For Profit
  • Eddy Kayihura Mabano – Rwanda – Business
  • João Caribé – Brazil – Not For Profit
  • Mamadou LO – Senegal – End User and Afrinic member
  • Heba Sayed – Egypt – Civil Society
  • Maritza Yesenia Aguero Miñano – Peru – Government
  • Karel Douglas – Trinidad and Tobago – Government
  • Gul-e Rana – Pakistan – Academic
  • Amir Qayyum – Pakistan – Academic
  • Paul Muchene – Kenya – Business
  • Sarah Kiden – Uganda – Academic
  • Tuhaise Robert – Uganda – Academic
  • Asteway Shoarega Negash – Ethiopia – Academic
  • Olevie Kouami – Togo – Not For Profit – NPOC
  • Claudine Sugira – Rwanda – Not For Profit
  • Mona Melhem El Achkar – Lebanon – Academic
  • Don Peduru Pradeep Eranga Samararathna – Sri Lanka – Not For Profit
  • Carlos Alberto Villaseñor – Costa Rica – Not For Profit and ccTLD member

The first African Internet Governance Summer School held at Hotel 64 Gordon in Durban kicked off on 9th July 2013 with an introductory dinner. The diversity of participants, presenters and facilitators across Africa and the world was amazing.

Presenters with rich knowledge on Internet Governance were lined up from NEPAD, ICANN (NCUC), Afrinic, APC, Afilias,, .ZADNA, University of Aarhus, and University of Zuric among others.

On day two, participants volunteered to role-play by belonging to different stakeholder groups of either Civil society, Government, Media, Private sector, Academia, and Technical community, where they were expected to develop a policy document of an IG topic of their choice. During plenary, the stakeholder groups worked hard to undo the policy documents of the opposing side until consensus was reached on the policy documents presented by each stakeholder group. The moderators and Chairman were keen to control the Stakeholders who had heated debates.

Participants of the Internet Governance School

Participants of the African Internet Governance School

The networking opportunity for the school was great with participants mingling freely and exchanging ideas, information, and lessons learned on IG issues from their respective regions.

The IG school came to a close on 12th July with participants presented beautiful certificates, and facilitators awarded tokens of appreciation. The event could not be complete without the Closing Dinner Sponsored by APC and NCUC held at Spiga d’Oro, 200 Florida Road, just near our hotel  Florida Park.