The 10th annual Innovation Africa Digital Summit was recently concluded in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. One of Africa’s largest ICT gatherings, the summit’s goal is to promote digital connectivity across all spectrums to the benefit of Africa as a whole.
It is generally viewed as an opportunity for ICT players, governments and other stakeholders to share their best ideas, learn about the latest developments and to form powerful partnerships. The theme of creating sustainable national and international ICT ecosystems is a powerful concept which will ultimately transform the global socio-economic environment.
One of the key talking points at this year’s event was the widely anticipated introduction of the .dotAfrica (.Africa) top level domain (TLD) and the benefits it will offer the continent. It is anticipated that once the continent has established its own unique online identity, companies and organisations operating in Africa will be able to proudly highlight their commitment and engagement with the African community.
Koffi Fabrice Djossou, Africa liaison for the ZA Central Registry (ZACR) – the organisation endorsed by the African Union Commission (AUC) and African governments to be the administrator of the dotAfrica (.Africa) domain – delivered a presentation at the summit.
He outlined the benefits of dotAfrica (.Africa) adoption by the African and international Internet communities, suggesting that it is vital in bringing African products, services and information to the forefront.
Other than promoting stability and ease of access to critical Internet infrastructure on the continent, a further critical objective of the dotAfrica project is the development of African online content.
“We need to be able to generate local content, because without content, applications and services, broadband infrastructure will remain unusable. Therefore, it is crucial to champion African content and promote African applications,” he says.
“With over one billion potential Internet users in Africa, we can replicate the Facebook success story with dotAfrica (.Africa). After all, Africa has some of the fastest growing economies in the world and will be the next destination of the e-commerce boom.
With a dotAfrica (.Africa), international and regional corporates will be able to establish and grow their online footprint on the continent and engage with this vibrant, high potential market.
Djossou adds that discussing the importance of dotAfrica (.Africa) at the IAD Summit was of vital importance, as the main purpose of the Summit is to bring together leading thinkers and practitioners from across Africa. He says that they are thus able to share ideas, make connections and do business.
“It’s a real business community meeting. It is a place to present good business models, multi stakeholder partnerships (many governments attended). In fact, The IAD summit remains unique in my point of view, as it brings all the key constituents from the ICT industry – governments, academia, civil society, international technology vendors and leading corporates – together under a single roof.
“Having explained the key benefits of dotAfrica (.Africa) to delegates at the summit, the ZACR was roundly congratulated with regards to the overall value proposition it will afford the continent. Moreover, a number of major organisations have intimated that they will be willing to be amongst the first early adopters of the dotAfrica (.Africa) domain, so the future for our continent is indeed bright,” Djossou says.