Cameroonian tech community discusses Internet standards
On May 12th, the Internet Society Africa Regional Bureau hosted the first African Internet Standards Forum in Serekunda, Gambia. That in and of itself is exciting, but even more impressive is that part of the discussion was followed live (via WebEx) nearly 2,000 miles away in Cameroon. And the goal wasn’t for Cameroonians to only listen. Organizers hoped to initiate local discussion about Internet standards and encourage Cameroonian’s to join the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). For those who don’t know, the IETF’s primary objective is to make the Internet work better by producing high quality, relevant technical documents that influence the way people design, use, and manage the Internet.
Unfortunately, a poor Internet connection prevented the first couple hours of live transmission, but resourceful participants were nonetheless kept busy discussing IPv6 and the Cameroon Network Operators Group (CamNOG), among other topics. Once an Internet connection was established to The Gambia, the group learned of how to participate in the IETF and why the organization should matter to Africa.
This group of at least 21 participants can most likely set an example for other nations at a similar stage in connectivity. The way forward looks simple but is a major step in constructing a sustainable network for Cameroon:
- create a mailing list
- translate basic documents to French
- seek local sponsors (ie. ISPs for event connectivity)
- establish future similar events in Cameroon
We can only expect great things from this group!