My name is Nico Tshintu Bakajika. I was engaged in the field of the Internet in 2006 while working as permanant secretary for Internet Service Provider Association- Democratic Republic of Congo (ISPA-DRC). This commitment was motivated by the desire to see the Internet contribute to the development of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The mission entrusted to me had two components. The first was to do everything so that Internet operators speak the same language for the development of the Internet industry. The second part consisted in making ISPA-DRC accepted by government institutions in the Democratic Republic as a partner in the development of the Internet industry.
This dual role was not easy due to the fact that I should work with companies that are present in the same market with the same products. This forced me to learn a lot in order to:
– Acquire knowledge about the Internet industry and its evolution;
– Allow me to ensure good communication;
– Be a true leader, a good negotiator, a good initiator and a project manager;
– Apply transparency.
The fulfillment of this mission had two phases. The first phase covers the period from taking office until achieving some results listed below and this lasted for 6 years. When I started out, ISPA-DRC had three members representing at that time 42% of suppliers of Internet services providers in the Congolese market. Under the guidance of ISPA-DRC Management Committee, I contributed to the achievement of the following results:
– Over 80% of providers operating in DRC are members of ISPA-DRC, 8 suppliers;
– The leaders of the member companies communicate each other and Internet service providers do self-regulation;
– ISPA-DRC has adopted regulations allowing it to adapt to the local environment and to technological changes;
– ISPA-DRC has established a framework for dialogue between engineers operating in member companies and some other resource persons;
– The initiation of projects of common interest such as training and implementation of an Internet exchange point.
– ISPA-DRC has been considered a partner in a certain measure by institutions such as the Ministry in charge of telecommunications and the regulator and by associating the work involving the elaboration of some regulations in the telecom sector in the DRC and the development of the action plan for the future of information and communication technologies. I have attended to the telecom conference organized in 2010 by the Ministry in charge of telecommunications. In the same year, I took part in the preparation of the National Action Plan for the development of ICT in the DRC. I was one of the delegates of ISPA-DRC to work on the re-delegation of the domain name .cd and negotiations with the government for the removal of certain taxes considered as one of the obstacles to the development of the Internet industry in DRC.
The second phase started in the second quarter of 2012 and is presently on-going. A new dynamic is underway, ISPA-DRC has 13 members and controlling more than 89% of the Internet market in the DRC. This is the phase of major projects and the confirmation of ISPA-DRC as a true partner in the development of the Internet in the country. In this phase, with the confidence and the means made available to me by the Management Committee of ISPA-DRC, my contribution was remarkable at the internal as well external level through the following actions:
– Participation in the development of the naming charter for managing the .cd domain name;
– Participation in the drafting of the memorandum requesting the deletion of the 5% tax initiated by the Congolese regulator on the price of bandwidth;
– Participation in the drafting of the memorandum demanding the removal of Internet excise duties in the DRC;
– Active participation in the development and realization of the KINIX project, raising funds for the start up, organizing the working visit to KIXP in order to build on the model of Kenya Internet exchange point and organizing training workshop on the BGP with the technical, financial and educational support of ISOC;
– Active participation in the organization of the training on IPv6 in Kinshasa with the technical and educational support of AFRINIC.
To advance the Internet industry while drawing on the experiences of others, the ISPA-DRC Management Committee has opted to involve some resource persons of ISPA-DRC to the activities of exchange and transfer of knowledge organized internationally. It is in this context that I participated for the first time in AFPIF in 2014 in Dakar. This participation was an extraordinary experience, it added quite a lot in my way of seeing the world of the Internet and how I behave as an actor in the development of the Internet industry in my country.
During my stay in Dakar for the AFPIF event I was able to:
– attend the high-level discussions on the future of the Internet,
– attend the high-level discussions on innovations in the field of the Internet;
– discuss about the future of peering in Africa and the world;
– attend the high-level discussions on the future of the production and development of Internet content in Africa;
– meet and exchange with experts in the field of interconnection, production and development of Internet content;
– be advised on the behavior to adopt in order to play a role in the development process of the Internet in my country;
– establish contact with potential partners like Google, Akamai, France-IX for the production, development and hosting of Internet content;
– establish contact with experts in management and development of domain names,
– bring my reflection on the future of content in Africa,
– boost dialogue with Google for hosting GGC in Kinshasa.
With the knowledge gained and the people contacted in AFPIF, I am more than equipped to make my contribution to the development of Internet in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
My current involvement in the work initiated by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of ICT PT on reform of telecom legislation was remarkable for the gathering of reference documentations obtained through certain contacts in AFPIF.
My wish is to see AFPIF continue to bring together experts for the development of the Internet on the African continent. My contribution to this forum would be to share with the African Peers my experience on Interconnection and development of African content.