International Domain Names in Africa – ICANN workshop



Dwayne was invited as a guest speaker of ICANN to the African IDN workshop held as a pre-conference event as part of Afrinic 23.

Hosted in Pointe Noire in the Republic of Congo, the event brought together IDN experts fron ICANN as well as technologists and linguist from all the regions of Africa.

Dwayne presented on the history and state of localisation in Africa.  Highlighting the fact that IDNs are part of the enabling technologies of localisation.

Other interesting talks included:

  • Dr Sarmad Hussain – a friend for the PanAsian localisation network, now leading the IDN work in ICANN.  Who presented on IDNs, their roles and the roles of various committees

One of the main outcomes of the meeting was to gather new people to the various committees, specifically the Latin, Arabic and Ethiopian committees.  As Africans need to play a role in these to ensure that coverage is correct for African languages.

One positive outcome and a demonstration of the value of collaboration was the fact the Dr Hussain and Dwayne Bailey where able to quickly resolve an issues around the ! character used by some Khoisan languages. This was initially excluded, obviously because it is a valid punctuation mark.  However, there is a Unicode code point for that click sound and thus, if the correct character is used, then a Khoi word with the ! click can be a valid domain name. This combination of local knowledge and IDN knowledge is what ICANN is after.

If you would like to participate, then get in touch.