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Empowering African ccTLD Registries to Embrace DNSSEC

New technologies are essential for the Internet to continue growing, evolving, and meeting the changing expectations of users. Enabling technologies play a vital role in enhancing Internet scalability, security, trust, and availability. In line with this vision, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has been at the forefront of providing DNSSEC (Domain Name System Security Extensions) deployment workshops for African ccTLD (country code top-level domain) registries. Rwanda, as the 17th African country to deploy DNSSEC and join the ranks of fully DNSSEC-capable domains, is a testament to the success of these efforts.

The significance of ICANN’s role in supporting numerous countries, including Rwanda, in deploying DNSSEC technology cannot be overstated. One of the key strategies employed to achieve this goal is reinforcing the capacity of ccTLD staff and the wider community. We are grateful to Consultant Philip Paeps, who generously volunteered his expertise in DNS & DNSSEC operations for a five-day workshop in Rwanda. Ingabire Grace, CEO of RICTA (Rwanda Internet Community and Technology Alliance), expressed her gratitude for this invaluable contribution.

RICTA recently conducted a comprehensive five-day workshop on DNS & DNSSEC operations from April 24th to 28th, 2023. The workshop brought together 42 participants at the University of Rwanda (UR)-CST, Kigali Campus. The primary objective was to equip the participants with operational intricacies of the Domain Name System and its Security Extensions (DNSSEC). The workshop encompassed both theoretical and hands-on practical sessions, facilitated by a mix of local and international experts. By the end of the course, participants gained a deep understanding of how the Domain Name System functions and how to ensure its security.

Encouraging domain registrants to sign their domains and ISPs to enable DNSSEC validation in the recursive resolvers they provide to clients are crucial steps in enhancing the overall security of the DNS ecosystem. Grace emphasized the importance of these initiatives, underlining the need for collaboration among stakeholders.

RICTA partnered with RURA (Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority), BSC (Broadband Systems Corporation), and the University of Rwanda (UR -CST) to conduct this workshop. Through these collaborative efforts, RICTA aims to create a more resilient and sustainable DNS ecosystem in Rwanda.

While each ccTLD faces unique considerations, the decision to sign the zone and embrace DNSSEC should be a priority. As the domain name industry in Africa continues to develop, addressing domain name development issues becomes increasingly important. It is crucial to raise awareness and take proactive measures to ensure a secure Internet environment.

As the DNSSEC momentum grows in Africa, Rwanda sets a shining example of commitment and progress towards a more secure digital landscape. By empowering ccTLD registries and fostering collaboration, we pave the way for a brighter future, where trust and availability are paramount. Together, we can ensure the Internet remains a safe haven for innovation and connectivity.