Joseph Mucheru Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Information Communication and Technology  with Hon. Barr. Adebayo Shittu Minister for Communications, Republic of Nigeria  and Mr. Francis Wangusi, Director General, Communications Authority of Kenya during the opening of the of the ICANN capacity building workshop for Africa Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) at Villa Rosa Kempinski  Nairobi Kenya.

The debut Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) capacity building workshop for Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) Under-served Regions Working Group, kicked-off in Nairobi yesterday. Joseph Mucheru, the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Information Communication and Technology, called on African governments to create more regional Internet Exchange Points (IXP) to promote Internet growth, boost safety and make the services more affordable.

Mr Mucheru said African countries need to synergize in order to grow the country code top level domains (ccTLD) and Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) as well as Cyber Incident Response Teams (CIRTS). ‘‘There is need to support the growth of national and regional IXPs to promote Internet traffic growth and subsequent affordability as well as safety of the Internet,’’ Mr Mucheru said.

Currently Africa countries that do not have local Internet Exchange points means that their Internet traffic have to go through other countries before bouncing back making it more costly compared to those that have their IXPs. The Kenya Internet Exchange Point (KIXP) enables local ISPs to easily exchange traffic within the country without the need for multiple international hops.

ICANN President and CEO Goran Marby called for greater participation of African countries in the ICANN to draw from the wealth of experience needed to capitalize on the continent’s Internet resources.

“The African continent’s participation in ICANN is important and this why we have opened an ICANN engagement office here in Nairobi last year. Participation is growing every day, and we want to work together, within our mission, to make sure countries in Africa are well represented on one secure, stable and resilient global Internet,’’ noted Mr.Marby.

CA Director General Mr. Francis Wangusi lauded ICANN for its active engagement with African governments adding that Kenya was proud to host ICANN’s first regional engagement centre and the capacity building workshop. "We are convinced that the continued capacity building of public policy makers and regulators on matters of Internet governance is crucial for the advancement of the Internet domain name system, which is a pillar to ICTs everywhere today,” said Mr.Wangusi.

The Authority’s sector statistics report for the first quarter of the financial year 2016/2017, mobile phone and data/internet penetration in Kenya stands at 87.3% and 85.3%, respectively. On the other hand, broadband penetration currently stands at 27%, and is increasing. This is an indicator of fast uptake and growing popularity in the use of the Internet. The .KE domain names have now reached 64,328.

The workshop aims at raising awareness on how governments from underserved areas, through the Governmental Advisory Committee, can best effectively participate and contribute to policy making at ICANN.