Kenya will host one of two mega data centres, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Managed Root Server (IMRS) clusters in Africa.
This is ICANN’s first-of-its-kind investment in Africa.
ICANN is a global non-profit organization that coordinates the domain name system and plays a key role in ensuring a global, interoperable, and secure Internet.
“The clusters in Africa is a key step to stimulating Internet access and to strengthening the Internet stability of the entire continent. Of course, this could only be achieved with the participation of the local community. We are grateful to the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs in Kenya for their support in establishing the IMRS cluster in their country, and for their commitment to advancing the Internet in the continent,” said Göran Marby, ICANN President and CEO.
ICANN says it is expanding infrastructure in Africa as part of its mission to ensure that the Internet remains secure, stable and resilient across the world.
The clusters will reduce the time it takes for a website to load, particularly when there are spikes in Internet usage. This will bring immediate benefits for everyday Internet users across the continent. Perhaps most important, the new IMRS clusters will reduce the impact of a potential cyberattack in the continent.
Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) cyberattacks work by overwhelming servers with a flood of queries. With two separate IMRS cluster locations and higher bandwidth and data processing capacity, the risk of the Internet going down because of a cyberattack will be significantly reduced. Increased capacity lessens the impact of attacks.
Today, 33 per cent of the population in Africa have access to the Internet.
According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the number of individuals using the Internet in Africa grew 23 per cent between 2019 and 2021. This growth is driven by a digitally savvy, young, and educated urban workforce, for whom the adoption and consumption of online services is second nature.
Installation of the IMRS clusters will add crucial capacity to support the growth in Internet use across Africa. This, in turn, will underpin economic growth and bring opportunities for a large share of new Internet users.
The clusters ensure that Internet queries from Africa can be answered within the region, and not be dependent on networks and servers in other parts of the world, thus reducing latency and improving Internet user experience in the entire region.
Joseph Mucheru, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of ICT said the initiative is a positive development both in line with the African Digital Transformation Strategy (2020-2030) and more specifically with Kenya’s Digital Economy Blueprint which identifies infrastructure as one of the five key pillars necessary for the digital transformation of the economy.
“We, therefore, thank ICANN for their confidence in choosing Kenya one more time as one of the hosts of this important infrastructure that would serve not only Kenya but the rest of Africa and the world. Implementation of this initiative will be of immense importance in accelerating the digital transformation agenda in Kenya.”