Africa Internet Summit — 2013 is Zambia’s turn

Sara Drawwater
18 June 2013
The Best of Zambia is entirely online. Without the internet we have no way of providing our services to our clients and nothing to offer them in the first place. That’s why we were interested when we…

The Best of Zambia is entirely online. Without the internet we have no way of providing our services to our clients and nothing to offer them in the first place. That’s why we were interested when we heard about the Africa Internet Summit.

As we speak the Africa Internet Summit (AIS) is going on right now right here in Lusaka. And its outcome will definitely affect you one way or the other. This conference is significant for Africa in general, and Zambia in particular, because it pulls together a team of experts and influencers to train and inspire those involved in internet provision across the continent. Every year it is held in a different African country. 2013 is Zambia’s turn.

Last week we met up with Badru Ntege. He is the chairman of the Internet Numbers Registry for Africa (AFRINIC) and also part of AfNOG (the African Network Operators Group). He explained to us the background to the summit. He also emphasised that the impact of this summit is so palpable that, wherever the Africa Internet Summit is held, in its wake there is a marked improvement in the internet in that country. We can’t wait to enjoy that here!

BackgroundIn 1998, Benin hosted one of the first African Internet governance conferences. Its theme was ‘Internet governance in Africa’. It was recognised that several institutions were needed to support Internet growth in Africa. In the years following the Benin conference, several organisations emerged, now collectively known as Af* (African Organisations for Internet Govenance). This umbrella body includes AfNOG, AFRINIC, AfREN, AfTlD, ISOC African Chapters, the African IGFs, the AfPIF and many more.

So the Africa Internet Summit is actually two conferences rolled into one. The first week (last week) was AfNOG’s training programmes, held at Top Floor in Elunda 2 Building, 2nd Floor, Addis Abba Roundabout, Rhodes Park, Lusaka. This week is AFRINIC’s turn, held at Hotel Intercontinental in Haile Selassie Avenue, Longacres, Lusaka .

The AfNOG conferenceThe African Network Operators group (AfNOG) conference is a network technology workshop that offers advanced training in a week-long hands-on workshop. Every year, hundreds of network engineers from across the IT industry in the Africa continent attend this workshop.

Network engineers in the Africa region who wish to acquire the necessary skills in IT definitely need to attend this annual workshop. If you missed the one this year, don’t worry, next year’s summit will be in Djibouti. Now is the time to plan to attend. Keep checking for details on the AfNOG website.

The AFRINIC conferenceThe Internet Numbers Registry for Africa (AFRINIC) seeks to offer the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively and efficiently manage Internet number resources. “The knowledge we share here will definitely have a multiplier effect. We must harness the potential and through training we can achieve a lot,” says Badru Ntege. The courses address current and emerging needs and gaps, and the training acts as a platform for sharing and engaging with others.

The AFRINIC conference starts off with courses on IPv6 Strategy & Planning (or IPv6 for Managers as is popularly known) and Internet Number Resources Management. During the conference, delegates are introduced to the Internet ecosystem and the various organisations in Africa (the Af*, pronounced A F stars). Delegates learn about these organisations, their place in the African (and indeed global) Internet ecosystem, what their roles are and what efforts and resources they have invested in promoting connectivity and use in Africa. The AFRINIC conference includes several full-day advanced tutorials, as well as side meetings and workshops hosted in collaboration with other organisations.

If you think you may be interested in this conference, we strongly advise you to get down to the Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka and register your interest. This week, all sessions are offered free thanks to AFRINIC’s two sponsors, Zambia Information & Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) and Internet Service Providers Association of Zambia (ISPA). Many of the expert presenters are giving their services free of charge. You can check the AFRINIC website for more details.

ConclusionIf you are an influencer or are part of an organisation that is an influencer, spread the word about AIS, AFNOG and AFRINIC and their goals. If you are an Internet Service Provider, come along to the summit, learn, network and support what they are doing. Let’s use our positions and resources for good.

Isn’t it great that there are people out there who believe in Africa, who believe in using the Internet as a vehicle for development, who believe so strongly that they are willing to give their time and resources to make it happen. We thank you.