Experts, Stakeholders Prob into Cybercrime, IPv6, Broadband at Afrinic 27

As the AFRINIC 27 kicked off in Lagos South West Nigeria yesterday, key issues that troubled delegates from across are Africa are the twin issues of Cyber crime, IPv6 and broadband needed for the fast pace of the development of the African continent.
Leader speakers, drawn from the public and private sector of the ICT sctor at the opening day of the event highlighted these isseus in their opening remarks.
Chief Excutive Offcier of AFRINIC, Alan Barret, while welcoming the delegates to the conference with the theme: Taking the African Internet to the Next Level through Policy, Collaboration and Education described the conference as a platform to share with stakeholders the progress,successes and the future AFRINIC as the Regional Internet Registry for AFRICA.
He noted since inception it has allocated more than 100 million IPv4 addresses and over 9000 IPv6 /32 prefixes in Africa with around 42% of its over 1500 members receiving an IPv6 prefix adding that this year at end of October, “we have allocated 7.2 million IPv4 addresses, 95 /32 IPv6 prefixes, and 127 ASNs with 122 new members joining us.”
According to him, besides distributing Internet Number Resources in Africa, “we contribute to ensuring that our processes remain transparent and secure at all times. We have in place tools with which we are able to communicate our number resources distribution activities as well as ensuring that this distribution is secure.”
He explained that the WHOIS database, RPKI and DNSSEC are tools and technologies that we make use of to keep our cyber space secure and transparent adding, “we keep monitoring this to ensure we are up to date with the latest technological developments and in line with policies as proposed and ratified.”
Barret said: “We have continued to also support IP infrastructure development and reinforcement throughout the African region. This has seen increase in Internet access, speeds as well as infrastructure stability. Our relationship with the increasing numbers of Internet Exchange Points keeps growing stronger.
This will help us achieve our goal of keeping Internet traffic local. Through our training this year, so far, we have trained over 545 engineers from 18 countries on effectively deploying IPv6 and managing Internet number resources.”
He said that AFRINIC is currently supporting a total of 18 projects worth over $300 000 of its FIRE Grant and Award Program that provides funds for projects that empower communities in Africa through the use of the Internet and innovative ICT solutions saying winners for projects for the 2017 Awards Program have been announced.
Speaking on Cyber-crime, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC), Prof. Umar Danabtta said that the NCC is partnering with relevant agencies to provide proactive measures in mitigating cybercrime.

According to him, the Commission is setting up a Sectorial Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) center that will collaborate with the ngCERT (domicile in the office of the NSA), in tackling issues that relate to the telecommunications industry in the fight against cybercrime.
And on the international level, he stated that Nigeria through the NCC, is partnering with International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to set up Africa Regional Cybersecurity Center (RCC) in Abuja adding that the center will be used for Africa Regional Cybersecurity information sharing (cyber-attacks, threats, malwares and viruses etc) and also to train countries within the Africa sub-region on Cybersecurity related issues.
While reeling out the success recorded on broadband as the backbone for an economy that thrives through the internet, he said that Broadband access is key to any national development agenda, and the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NBP) 2013 has set a target of 30% penetration by 2018, stressing that the NCC recognises its prime responsibility in the actualisation of the NBP, as one of the strategic objectives revered in its 8-Point Agenda, “facilitation of broadband penetration” which will enable the NCC meet and even surpass the 30% target of broadband penetration in the country by 2018, as at September 2017 (Broadband Commission 2017), the Nigeria broadband penetration stands at 21.8%.
Danbatta who represented at the Conference by said that some of its efforts in increased broadband penetration in Nigeria included the allocation of two slots in the 700MHz band have been earmarked for Commercial Broadband deployment; the 800MHz band also known as the Digital Dividend 1 has been re-planned and licensed for 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) deployment; the 900MHz E-GSM band has been licensed for 4G LTE deployment; the 70/80GHz band (E-Band) which has been opened to facilitate Broadband deployment; the 2.3 GHz band was licensed for 4G LTE deployment and the part of the 1800MHz band which has been re-farmed by some Mobile Operators for 4G LTE deployments.
He said there has been amazing progress in the development of IXPs in Africa but still much to be done to improve national and cross-border interconnection within the region, also further consolidate data, and enable Africa to collaborate more on data management within the region, as well as develop its data and privacy framework to enable the region even further collaborate globally to address the new digital era.

While calling for support for emerging technologies, Danbatta said there is the need to create an enabling environment for IPv6 deployment stressing, “We need to engage more in the area of Internet Governance and other similar initiatives from national to sub-regional to regional and global to contribute and share best practices that can help to grow the internet.”
He acknowledge the effort of internet society and the stakeholders in helping the development of internet in the African region but said that taking Internet to the next level, requires collaboration, education and sensitization.
The NCC boss said the Commission committed to supporting the African Internet industry as much as possible with provision of good regulatory policies in Nigeria, which will ensure availability, affordability and accessibility to high speed internet that would drive emerging technologies and deployment of more services.
President, Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), Mr. Sunday Afolayan said “Currently we have over 100,000 active domain names. Some might exclaim on the small figure compared to the vast population of Nigeria of over 185 million people. NiRA is however the second largest registry in Africa.”
He said that NiRA has the passion to develop the DNS industry in Africa and has set up the NiRA Academy, an entity charged with the mandate of developing knowledge and bridging the knowledge gap that exists within the DNS industry.
“We believe that training and capacity building is an investment in the future of our continent and we encourage all to collaborate and partner with NiRA Academy in developing our community and the Internet Ecosystem at large.
“This is to the extent that NiRA signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Training and certification with Afrinic to achieve our aim of deepening our knowledge and understanding of the Internet”, the NiRA President said.
He also said the focus on technology and innovation is key to the sustainable development of this continent but we must also increase access to information and communication technology for all our citizens to enable them effectively engage in the contemporary economy, as such it is of great benefit that the meeting is holding in Nigeria.
Isaiah Erhiawarien, West Africa


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