The African Network Information Center (AfriNIC) has taken another step towards formal recognition as an official Regional Internet number Registry (RIR) with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Board announcing its provisional recognition, the last stage before full recognition. AfriNIC has begun managing Internet number resources for the Africa region, including IPv4 and IPv6 addresses.

AfriNIC CEO Adiel Akplogan was pleased with the progress thus far and the positive response from the Africa region. "AfriNIC is building a regional registry to meet Africa's regional needs. We are bringing regional management to our IP address distribution, and that puts the Africa region on par with the other global regions of Europe, Asia/Pacific, North America and Latin America." As part of the transition to local control of these Internet resources, AfriNIC has received expressions of support from more than 40 local Internet Service Providers representing 14 countries.

"The establishment of AfriNIC confirms the enormous growth of Internet activities in the Africa region," said Paul Twomey, President and CEO of ICANN. "We welcome AfriNIC's progression into the global ICANN community and count on its members to add their unique perspective to ICANN's policy process. This historic event ensures that the Africa region is moving to participate on an equal footing with all other regions."

The existing Regional Internet Registries, APNIC, ARIN, RIPE NCC and LACNIC, have supported AfriNIC strongly, according to Paul Wilson, Chair of the Number Resource Organisation (the coalition of RIRs): "The RIRs and our communities are extremely pleased to hear of the provisional recognition of AfriNIC by ICANN. We have worked for several years now to help make AfriNIC a success, through financial contributions, training, information sharing and inclusion in RIR activities. We commend AfriNIC staff and board for their efforts, and look forward to welcoming AfriNIC as a full member of the RIR community."

Reflecting the value of cooperative regional integration, AfriNIC has centres of Technical and Administrative Operations in four African countries: Mauritious, Ghana, South Africa, and Egypt. Sharing the work and technical responsibilities across the four centres increases AfriNIC's ongoing stability and quick responsiveness to its members.

The regional model of Internet address allocation works well in balancing the need to provide resources to new and growing Internet communities, and to manage the resources so they will be available for future users. IP addresses are a resource that is shared based on need, not demand, and that allows newcomers to have access in the same way as more established users. AfriNIC members will determine regional policy for the distribution of IP addresses to their region's Internet providers and AfriNIC has already adopted some rules that are specific to the Africa region to address the unique needs of Africa's Internet communities.