Five Africans are among those appointed by Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers President Fadi Chehade to the organization's four strategic panels.
Nii Quaynor, the founding chairman of AfriNIC; Adiel Akplogan, CEO of AfriNIC; Alice Munyua, chairwoman of the Kenya Internet Governance Steering Committee; Alison Gillwald, executive director of Research ICT Africa; and Bitange Ndemo, former permanent secretary of Kenya's Ministry of Information and Communication, will serve on the panels announced at the ICANN meeting in June. The panels are intended to help with innovation, community engagement and international acceptance of the Internet body.
Quaynor was appointed to serve as chairman of the Public Responsibility Framework panel. Akplogan and Munyua will serve on the ICANN's Role in the Internet Ecosystem panel, and Gillwald and Ndemo on the ICANN Multistakeholder Innovation panel.
"I am hopeful that being involved in the panel looking at ICANN's role in the Internet governance ecosystem, we can provide an African perspective that will support ICANN's as the Internet evolves, especially taking into consideration that Africa is the fastest-growing region," said Munyua.
The ICT community in Africa has praised Chehade's efforts to include more Africans in the mainstream ICANN agenda. Last year, Chehade unveiled ICANN's strategic plan in Africa, geared toward increasing the organization's role in the region.
"Chehade has clearly said he is doing these things so that Africa will be better represented within ICANN, and also to make sure ICANN is well-known in Africa. I think this only echoes parts of the recommendations made by African ministers in charge of ICT in their declaration of Dakar in 2011," said Pierre Dandjinou, ICANN vice president for Africa.
There are questions whether appointments to panels will benefit Africa's Internet community, but Munyua and Dandjinou agreed that Africa offers vital lessons for the global community and can also learn from the discussions that will be held.
"Our nascent Internet industry requires support, for example, promoting the growth of an African DNS sector, and international collaboration is also required to support it in order for it to flourish," added Munyua.