Project Update

Thursday 13 July 2023

Enhancing Collaboration: Blueprint for ccTLD Capacity Development

Yazid Akanho, Technical Engagement Senior Specialist, ICANN

Serge SANOU, Ph.D. President, AfTLD

Enhancing Collaboration: Blueprint for ccTLD Capacity Development

The Coalition for Digital Africa is making good progress on its initiative to support and provide capacity development to country code top-level domain (ccTLD) registries in Africa. This collaborative effort aims to invigorate the continent’s domain industry and encourage the participation of Africans in Internet policymaking. 

To ensure comprehensive and tailored capacity development, the coalition partnered with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the International Telecommunication Union-Development Sector (ITU-D), the Africa Top Level Domains Organization (AFTLD), the Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC), and the Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération (AFNIC). These partnerships provide diverse expertise and resources, enabling the coalition to effectively address the specific needs of ccTLD registry operators in Africa.

Recognizing the unique requirements of each registry, the coalition conducted three sessions with selected ccTLDs as part of the initiative. These discussions provided a platform for registry operators to share their challenges, aspirations, and requirements for capacity development. The sessions were highly productive, fostering open and constructive dialogues among participants. The challenges that were identified can be classified into four major categories of capacity development issues: technical, business, policy, and organizational. While some challenges, such as technical capacity development, business development, and marketing frameworks are common to all registries, others, like dispute resolution mechanisms, the 3R model of implementation (relationships, repetition, routines), legal and regulatory frameworks, are related to specific ccTLDs.

In June this year, AFTLD wrote a consolidated needs assessment report, which sought input and comments from coalition partners. The report outlines the collective needs and priorities of 10 selected ccTLDs, offering valuable insights into the challenges that registry operators in Africa face. It also proposes a capacity development strategy to enable registry operators with the necessary skills to effectively meet their needs. While all ccTLD registry operators will benefit from training on common issues, some will also receive additional training focused on their specific needs.

A project overview document was also shared with coalition partners to align efforts and ensure a common understanding of project objectives, expected outcomes, actions, and responsibilities. The document serves as a blueprint that will guide the collaborative effort of all stakeholders involved in the capacity development initiative. By ensuring alignment, the coalition strengthens its ability to deliver significant and meaningful results.

The 10 ccTLD registries selected are from Angola, Benin, Burundi, Comoros, Republic of Congo, Gambia, Madagascar, Niger, Togo, and Zimbabwe. Under this initiative, each registry will receive comprehensive training consisting of online courses, hands-on workshops, and webinars. The training will cover topics ranging from best practices in Domain Name System security and registry governance to business plan writing and marketing. After the training, each ccTLD will formulate their own development plan; and the project partners will continue to support them for three to six months during the implementation phase.

As capacity development continues to fortify the Internet ecosystem in Africa, the coalition is playing a crucial role in empowering registry operators, enhancing Internet security, and paving the way for a more resilient digital landscape in Africa.