The African Network Information Centre (AFRINIC) is a nonprofit and member-based organisation registered and operating under the Corporate Legal Frameworks of Mauritius.
As the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for Africa and the Indian Ocean region, AFRINIC is responsible for the distribution and management of Internet number resources consisting of:
Internet Protocol (IP) address space (IPv4 and IPv6);
Autonomous System Numbers (ASNs).
AFRINIC’s mission is to provide professional and efficient distribution of Internet number resources to the African Internet community, to support Internet technology usage and development across the continent and to strengthen Internet self-governance in Africa through a bottom-up, multi-stakeholder Policy Development Process (PDP).
Internet number resources are allocated to AFRINIC and the four other RIRs by Public Technical Identifiers (PTI). PTI is responsible for coordinating the Internet’s unique identifiers and performs the IANA functions, which include coordination of domain names, Internet number resources and protocol parameters.
There are four other RIRs worldwide:
APNIC, serving the Asia Pacific.
ARIN, serving Canada, the United States, and many Caribbean and North Atlantic islands.
LACNIC, serving Latin America and the Caribbean.
RIPE NCC, serving Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia.
Each of the five RIRs re-allocate Internet number resources they receive from PTI to their members within their own geographical regions according to their respective community-developed policies.
Following a proposal for setting up an Internet registry for Africa by several early Internet adopters in Africa, during an INET workshop in Malaysia (1997), a steering committee was set up to work on AFRINIC’s structure and business plan.
The idea behind the initiative was to adopt the allocation policies applied by the already established RIRs (RIPE NCC and APNIC) to Africa’s realities. In 2000 this proposal resulted in a consensus with the setup of AfNOG (the African Network Operators group).
Moreover, during the same year, the first AFRINIC observers were appointed to the Address Supporting Organization Address Council (ASO AC). In 2001, the steering committee recommended the appointment of an initial Board of Trustees based on sub-regional representation. Dr Nii Quaynor chaired the first AFRINIC Board with the mission to formalise the organisation and work towards its accreditation as a Regional Internet Registry (RIR).
In 2004, after a selection of potential host countries, AFRINIC was incorporated in Mauritius. It was decided that the Board will consist of elected representatives from the six identified sub-regions in Africa (Northern, Western, Central, Eastern, Indian Ocean and Southern).
AFRINIC was registered in Mauritius with its operations dispersed in South Africa (Technical operations), Egypt (Backup and disaster recovery) and Ghana (Training coordination)
In April 2005, ICANN accredited AFRINIC as the fifth Regional Internet Registry according to criteria defined in its ICP-2 document (criteria for the establishment of regional Internet registries).
AFRINIC’s activities are overseen by a Board of Directors (BoD) and managed by an appointed Chief Executive Officer, who oversees the staff and daily operations. The BoD is supported by the Council of Elders, which performs an advisory function. AFRINIC is governed by a set of Bylaws developed and approved by the community.
AFRINIC is the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for Africa and the Indian Ocean. Its service region is divided into six sub-regions for statistic gathering purposes and for Board of Directors elections to ensure regional representation.
These sub-regions are: Northern, Western, Central, Eastern, Southern and the Indian Ocean.
AFRINIC’s service region also includes several islands located in the Atlantic Ocean which are listed in the Western or Central African regions.