The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) launched its African regional engagement office in Nairobi yesterday. ICANN is a not-for-profit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on Internet. Through its coordination role of the Internet’s naming system, it does have an important impact on the global expansion and evolution of the Internet.

The corporation is responsible for coordinating the maintenance and procedures of several databases related to the name spaces of the internet thereby ensuring the network’s stable and secure operation. It performs the actual technical maintenance work of the central internet address pools and DNS Root registries. ICANN follows a multi-stakeholder model in which individuals; non-commercial stakeholder groups, industry, and governments play important roles in its community-based, consensus-driven, Internet policy-making approach.

The move by ICANN to select Kenya as its base for operations in Africa is viewed as a stamp of approval of the country’s important role in the Internet ecosystem. The corporation’s headquarters is based in Los Angeles, California USA, with two operational hubs in Istanbul, Turkey and Singapore. In addition to engagement offices in Beijing, Brussels, Geneva, Montevideo, Seoul, Washington, D.C and now Nairobi to afford wider reach and accessibility. The regional presence is intended to deepen ICANN’s engagement with African Governments as well as the private sector players.

Sally Costerton, Senior Advisor to The President & Senior Vice President, Global Stakeholder Engagement had this to say, “We are excited about this new phase for ICANN in Africa with the opening of our first engagement office in the region, here in Nairobi. Moreover, we are very thankful to the Kenyan Government and the community for their amazing support.  Over the past three years, there has been much effort, dedication and goodwill from the community and ICANN staff in the implementation of the Africa Strategy.”

Also speaking during the launch the ICT Cabinet Secretary, Joe Mucheru had this to say, “Kenya has continued to work with regional bodies towards the growth of the Internet use in Africa and we are glad to have ICANN make Nairobi its first engagement office location for Africa. We believe that collaboration with ICANN will encourage investors in ICT to provide services from the Kenyan cyberspace through the hosting of root servers, Data centers, cloud services among others.”