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AFRINIC faces challenge of attracting government participation

IP resources not considered crucial, officials say

Africa's Regional Internet Registry, AFRINIC, is having trouble getting senior government officials involved in establishing strategy, a problem that may be hampering the organization's ability to effectively set and implement policy decisions and organize security campaigns.

AFRINIC provides training and IP resources and coordinates cybersecurity efforts throughout the region but has not been able to attract high-level government officials to policy meetings.

"We are not having the right support." said AFRINIC CEO Adiel Akplogan. "It is a challenge because those who come for AFRINIC meetings are not the senior government decision makers; they prefer ITU meetings and the ITU believes that anything that concerns the Internet should be discussed in the ITU."

At the ITU level, resources such as spectrum bandwidth have been identified as critical and at the national level, telcos have officers devoted to bandwidth management, which is not the case in IP resource management.

"IP resources have not been identified as critical, and that is why there are challenges with adoption of IPv6, we need more government officials to appreciate the critical nature of the IP resources," Akplogan added.

AFRINIC has a governmental working group that brings officials together at closed-door sessions to discuss issues such as cybersecurity. This forum, however, has not gained traction with senior government officials.

Currently, 14 percent of the networks receiving IP addresses from AFRINIC are using IPV6, compared to the global deployment level of 12 percent. The registry is the only one with remaining IPv4 addresses and is expecting to continue allocating IPv4 till 2017.

However, the IPv4 addresses are likely to run out faster, given that networks from other regions are now coming to Africa in search of IPv4. Most global content is still available on IPv4.

"People are running out of IPv4 and at times the easiest way is to get allocation from Africa, but can we protect our IPv4 if we need deployment of IPv6? We need to find the balance," added Akplogan.

AFRINIC is also coordinating the deployment of DNS security extensions but the training and deployment has not picked up because most top level domain registries are dealing with challenges of modernizing their registries and having the right infrastructure to run DNSSEC.

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