Initiatives discussed at the inaugural Commonwealth Domain Name System Forum may help pave the way to a uniform cyberspace governance framework across countries in the organization, according to an IT veteran who spoke at the conference.
A common cyberspace governance framework across the Commonwealth would strengthen cooperation on public policy matters pertaining to the Internet and in particular help the African economy, said Jimson Olufuye, chairman of the Africa ICT Alliance (AfICTA), a private-sector led alliance of IT associations, multinational corporations and institutions.
The Commonwealth forum was organized by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the Public Interest Registry (PIR) and Nominet, and took place in London before this week's ICANN 50 meeting. It was initiated in part to "take advantage of the resources that would be in the UK at that point in time," according to the CTO.
Issues examined at the forum included local content generation and opportunities for investment and innovation.
"There is a huge wealth reserve of local content that could engender new job opportunities for our youth," said Olufuye in email after the forum. At the forum, Olufuye spoke on the role market forces play in the evolution of cyberspace and how the private sector could promote innovation.
"With English language and freedom as common denominators, language translation technology and innovation can easily help make solutions local in communities across the Commonwealth, thereby enriching the Commonwealth knowledge base," Olufuye said.
There are 18 African countries in the 53-member Commonwealth, the largest group of countries from any one region in the organization.
Olufuye acknowledged domain name registration is low in Africa and suggested ways the system could be improved to benefit the region.
"Firstly, favorable policy liberalization that enables businesses and government departments to take up ccTLDs are imperative for higher registration of domain names," he said. "Secondly, through well-coordinated cybersecurity strategy, confidence in the Internet can be improved, with its attendant positive impact on domain name registration, " he noted.
Only about 20 percent of Africa's 1.1 billion people are on the Internet, but "already, African countries are gaining a lot through the domain name system as the DNS, which is synonymous to Internet, is currently contributing about 10 percent to Nigeria's GDP," Olufuye said.