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‘Level of pressure could have paralysed organisation’ says AFRINIC boss

Eddy Kayihura, CEO of AFRINIC.
Eddy Kayihura, CEO of AFRINIC.

Eddy Kayihura, CEO of the African Network Information Centre (AFRINIC), said a multi-stakeholder operational model and the Number Resource Organisation (NRO) stability fund have helped the organisation withstand significant challenges, including a two-and-a-half-month-long bank account freeze and multiple legal cases.

Mauritius-based not-for-profit organisation AFRINIC is responsible for the distribution and management of Internet numbers (IPv4, IPv6 addresses and autonomous system numbers) for Africa and the Indian Ocean.

According to a statement released by the organisation, Kayihura was speaking about the current positon of the organisation during the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) 75th AGM that took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

ITWeb reported in August that the dispute between AFRINIC and member Cloud Innovation over African internet protocol (IP) addresses “turned nasty”.

The report detailed how in July AFRINIC’s bank accounts were reportedly frozen by the Supreme Court of Mauritius after the regional internet registry moved to confiscate millions of IP addresses from Cloud Innovation.

A segment of the report reads: “The regional internet registry had accused Cloud Innovation of misuse of the IP addresses that were assigned to it. It was also alleged Cloud Innovation was assigning IP addresses to Chinese entities rather than African organisations. Cloud Innovation then sued AFRINIC and won the court case. The Supreme Court of Mauritius ruled that in its attempt to deny Cloud Innovation access to justice, AFRINIC illegally withdrew its own unconditional undertaking given in court to terminate the registration service agreement (RSA) with Cloud Innovation.”

During the ICANN AGM, the AFRINIC boss said, “The level of pressure that we have faced could have paralysed the organisation and impacted the stability of the Internet. It was a very critical situation.”

The CEO emphasised the organisation’s trust in and respect for court decisions. “However, there is no question that AFRINIC needs to continue operating and delivering services with no interruption…. This is essential for the Internet.”

Kayihura also called for the stability of the internet ecosystem to be taken as a community issue and lauded ICANN's support.

"Our governance structure and processes can only improve and become stronger. The only way to achieve this is through community participation. On our part as AFRINIC, we commit to continue to provide the best quality service possible to our region, encouraging community participation towards a stronger Registry for the African region and the Indian Ocean".

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