Internet Development in Africa

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Pan African Development Information System

The Pan African Development Information System, or PADIS was a co-operative initiative started in early 1980 in Ethiopia. PADIS was comprised of five sites that stored data from The PADIS Network which consisted of 39 centres that interacted, created and exchanged information system data amongst themselves. These centres aimed to assist policy-making decisions and the socio-political development of the African continent. Its primary objectives were as follows:

  • To promote the improvement of information infrastructure in African member States, especially through the adoption of information technology in Africa as a tool for improvement information management and exchange on behalf of development;
  • To promote the creation of databases in fields of importance to development in the region;
  • To promote the utilization of common norms and standards of information handling in the region in order to ensure compatibility and to facilitate information exchange;
  • To establish a system which will improve access to both published and unpublished documents produced in Africa on questions relating to scientific and technological aspects, economic, and social aspects of development;
  • To train information specialists at national, subregional and regional levels in order to upgrade skills and introduce improved methods of information handling.

PADIS strove to undertake the following activities:

  • Delivery of advisory services to African States and institutions on aspects of development of information and documentation systems, e.g. needs assessment, formulation of information plans and policies, design of national/sectoral information systems, choice of information technologies and strengthening of information centres;
  • Training staff of national, subregional and institutional participating centres as well as information policy makers and other system users through workshops, seminars and short courses in information system methodologies, computerized documentation techniques, information systems policy and management and statistical data base management and utilization;
  • Creation and maintenance of bibliographic, referral and numerical data bases;
  • Provision of user services, including printed outputs from data bases, newsletters, selective dissemination of information, current awareness profiles and retrospective searches, question/answer service, hardcopy and microfiche document delivery, data bases on magnetic media and consolidating and repackaging of information. [1]


In a fashion somewhat similar to ARPANET, PADISNET began in 1990 as a pilot project to electronically link distinct network nodes. Supported by the International Development Resource Center (IDRC), PADISNET connected on-demand to London, South Africa, the United States, Dakar (Senegal), Accra (Ghana), and Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania). [2] To be sure, this was not the official beginning of Africa's Internet, but a major step toward refining and advancing it.


In the early 1990s Egyptian universities were struggling to connect to one of education's top data dissemination tools, the Internet. After contacting the Network Startup Resource Center or NSRC, this goal was achieved. Bolstered by this success, the African Education division of the World Bank requested the NSRC to build a sustainable network for email in Guinea. Worked continued in Conakry, where the organization set up a Point to Point Protocol or PPP and dial up to establish the country's first connections to the Internet.

The NSRC is currently working with Uganda On Line, the East Africa Help Desk, Makerere University and the African Virtual University to connect more of Africa's academics and NGOs with the Internet. [3]


KENIC is an acronym for Kenya Network Information Centre. It is a domain registry in Kenya that was established with the goal of creating a nonprofit organization to manage and operate .ke and corresponding ccTLDs. It also aims at the development of Internet and other Internet related services in Kenya, with the assistance of various national and international organizations through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs). In addition to these main objectives, KENIC aims to bring Kenya on equal standards with the global Internet technology with the assistance of the government.[4]

The main contributors in the formation of this nonprofit organization were Dr. Shem Ochuodho and Mr. Randy Bush. KENIC began full functioning in 1993. In October 2001 KENIC expanded its consultations and services with the assistance of Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) and local Internet stakeholders.[5]

Internet Society

The Internet Society (ISOC) first established roots in Africa in Morocco in April 1996, with Ghana and Egypt following close behind.

ISOC was instrumental in creating INET Technical Workshops as a means to educate those who wanted to set up IP networks. This focused, one-week training covered the DNS and routing and Internet services implementation. Dr. Nii Quaynor, Dr Tarek Kamel and Pierre Dandjinou were instrumental contributors to INET and its proliferation throughout Africa. [6]


The African Network Information Center (AFRINIC) is the Regional Internet Registry of Africa and the Indian Ocean.

(AFRINIC) is a non-governmental and not-for-profit membership based organization. Its main role is to serve as the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for the African region. AFRINIC was recognized by ICANN as a functioning regional registry and information center in 2004. Before the creation of AFRINIC, all IP Addresses were managed by APNIC, ARIN, and RIPE NCC.[7]

AFRINIC's mission is: "To serve the African Community by providing professional and efficient management of Internet number technology usage and development, and promoting Internet self-governance." [8]

African CcTLDs


The .ma ccTLD was first delegated in June 1992, [9] and re-delegated to ANRT in 2006, after initial concerns in 2005 from the IANA that community outreach would be lacking if the ccTLD's management was led by the private sector. After that 2005 online consultation and a subsequent Internet conference to address issues of community outreach, ANRT lodged another re-delegation request with IANA in 2006, and the Moroccan Minister of Economic and General Affairs approved the ccTLD's re-delegation.[10]

The Administrative and Technical Contact of the registry at the time assented to the re-delegation to ANRT, commenting that "ANRT recognises that the Internet naming system is a public resource in the sense that its functions must be administered in the public or common interest".[11]

In 2006, the ICANN Board considered the request and authorized the President of ICANN to move forward with the delegation of the .ma ccTLD to ANRT.[10][11]


The .ke CcTLD was first delegated to the Root Zone in April 1993. Two men, Dr. Shem J. Ochuodho (administrative) and Randy Bush (technical) served as the primary contacts for the TLD, and both managed it on a volunteer basis.

Around 2000, a community of stakeholders, both public and private, collaborated to form a participatory, community-based non-profit, dedicated to ensuring the technical and administrative well-being of the .ke CcTLD. This community grew to become KENIC, the definitive non-profit dedicated to managing .ke. [12]

KENIC has adopted a registry/registrar model. Kenyan based companies comprise the bulk of registrars. Registrations are reserved for Kenyan residents. [13]



African Registries

Key Figures

Dr. Nii Quaynor