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Connecting Somalia to the digital world is a positive step forward that will fast track the rebuilding of the country’s ICT sector. Launching the Top Level Domain Name .so is the first step to manage this process. The Somali ccTLD (country code top level domain name) has been launched on 1st of Nov 2010. For more information, please visit
The history of the Somali ccTLD (country top level domain name) is quite complex. To appreciate one needs to read the background IANA Report on the redelegation of the .SO Top-Level Domain which provides detailed information. Of course this is the official record and based on facts. However, for extended version of the story, one should also consult the African IT community, such as the AfriNIC and IGF regional fora who will provide far more historical details. In summary many have tried to use the Somali ccTLD for private and in some cases even for nefarious purposes, however, at the end the TFG representative managed to gain control of the Somali ccTLD for the benefit of the Somali community. The plan is to form the Somali Domain Authority which will have members from the civil society, internet service provers association, universities and the ministry of telecommunication; this entity will ultimately manage the .so ccTLD.
The Somali authority has managed to ensure that this Somali asset stays within the supervision of the Somali government. ccTLDs in general are managed by the countries who own them with the help of ICANN and IANA. There are strict rules and regulations that govern their delegation and re-delegations. There is nothing complicated about how ICANN works and anyone can attend their public meetings which are held three times a year. There are also many well respected African ICT professionals who are doing serious work in the African Internet space. Some of the innovations and creative work in this field give hope to many African economies; the google initiatives, the internet exchange points, the internet society chapters, the national and regional Internet Governance Fora, etc. etc. Somalia has the potential to join the digital world and gain from recent developments in this sector, i.e. jumping ahead into the wireless world, mobile telephony and broadband networks without wasting a lot of resources maintaining the old copper based telephone system. However, the first step is to get the Somali Telecommunication Sector well organised and regulated.
Ways to expand this USAID funded project to the whole of Somalia and beyond.
Self funded comprehensive study of the strategic policies impacting Somali’s Foreign Affairs from global perspective. This report will be launched in June 2011.
How to fast track the rebuilding of the Somalli higher education sector? This project focuses on ways to get the Somali Hi-ed sector produce what Somali needs as it recovers from 20 years of confusion. This purpose of this project is seek answers to what should a country that did not have formal, structured education system for two decades fast track into a world where knowledge based economy is the norm!
Getting Visa to visit Somalia is not straightforward process. This project aims to produce an online visa application process that will streamline this process by introducing a ‘one stop shop’ that will provide information about Somalia and ways to get a visa via online application.
An ID card for all Somalis. Just Imagine one day when all Somalis will carry an ID card that identifies them. No more confusion regarding who-is-who and even if necessary who is from where… and even if we have to go to that depth- tribal identification!! No, I don’t believe in tribalism and the whole 4.5 nonsense, BUT if it will help us move forward towards having a system that will enable us get organised; then so be it. A weak system is better than no system… to paraphrase the often used oxymoron; weak government is better than no government.
Mobil Money is taking the African business scene by storm and Somalia is leading in this field. Just like many other positive initiatives from Somalia, this is a well kept secret. Many in this sector know about mpesa and other solutions, however, the mobile money industry in Somalia is in many ways ahead of other solution in the continent.