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Re: The AfriNIC Business Plan V.0

Thanks Clement, for sending this round. I have reserved my comments until I saw the actual draft, in order to be more constructive.

Further comments follow:

On Fri, 28 Sep 2001 07:59:18 +0000
Clement Dzidonu <dzidonu at ghana.com> wrote:

> *******************************************************************
>      AfriNIC Corporate Business Plan V.0  (Bare-Bones Version)
> *******************************************************************
> ----------------
> 1.0 Introduction
> ----------------
> AfriNIC an Address Registry the overall strategy is to start service
> with same quality and price as is pertained in other operating RIRs with
> the
> intention to explore ways to provide cheaper quality service.

I object to this, the prices that the other RIRs charge are well beyond the reach of most African ISPs. And unless we want AFRINIC to be an elitist club, the rates need to be set at a level that reflects the very low income levels, internet penetration, and gross revenues that characterise the Internet in Africa.

> In order to allow training and effective initial operations, the
> incubation
> of AfriNIC is proposed to start at RIPE headquarters. AfriNIC develops
> the
> service for existing LIRs located in the region AfriNIC covers. An
> important
> element of the  corporate plan  to start incubation of AfriNIC technical 
> operations as quickly and earn revenues.


> The reasons the price needs to stay this high initially are:
>   o it will start in amsterdam, i.e. have the same cost structure
>   o expenses for the crew to visit home, attend ripe meetings, etc
>   o overhead costs, manager, systems, ... amortized over fewer lirs
>   o cost of local african meetings not amortized over rich folk as ripe
> is
>   o it will need to build a cushion

sorry, this doesn't hold water. We should set the rates at an "affordable" level and then seek support in the form of grants/support from the International donor community for the initial/startup phase. Working towards sustainability within 2-3 years. 

We must remain aware that there are significant funds available to support these kinds of efforts on the African continent. We have already had verbal commitments of funding from the major players. And please, BoT, don't pretend that you don't know about this!

> ---------------
> 2.0 Objectives
> ---------------
> Full AfriNIC function of address allocations will be realized in the
> first
> three years of operation during which  several technical staff would be
> trained, operations incubated and migrated to destination host country.
> During this period multilingual training centers for AfriNIC LIRs will
> be
> established and a host of helper hostmasters will be trained. Senior
> technical resources will also be identified and included in the
> management
> of AfriNIC as well as their participation in ASO technical policy
> development.

agreed...in part...the part about choosing/identifying the host country (and the process of doing this) has been left out (conveniently or not) 

> --------------------------
> 3.0 Financial Plan (3 yrs)
> --------------------------
> The revenues will be derived from sponsorships and subscriptions for
> AfriNIC
> services. expenditure will comprise technical and administrative staff,
> office space, equipment and connectivity. AfriNIC is negotiating with
> ripe on services to be provided during the incubation period. The host
> country is also expected to provide some of these services at the
> permanent location of AfriNIC.

...I'll leave the budgetary/financial projections to those of us who are mote gifted in that area ;-)

> -----------------------
> 4.0 Human Resource Plan
> -----------------------
>  - select a manager to put it all together, negotiate, plan, deal with
> business issues and organizing the operations in cooperation with ripe.

isn't this what the BoT was doing in appointing a Business Manager ;-)

> - select 2 for training at ripe

1 - sysadmin/hostmaster
1 - webmaster/hostmaster

> - look for opportunities for further training from arin, apnic
> scholarships


> - train 10 people at lome afnog workshop in march as helpers

what is the rationale behind this? Other RIR's hold regular training for their LIRs, why doesn't AFRINIC simply hold LIR training. Speaking of which I didn't see much in the plan for an outreach programme.

> ------------------------------------
> 5.0 Marketing and Communication Plan
> ------------------------------------
> - target operators
> - membership drives
> - adapt services eg smaller allocation policies
> - meetings
>     o 1XAGM
>     o 1Xmidyear BoT meeting
>     o 1X outreach meetings per year

1 outreach meeting a year is too little. We should move away from the meeting mentality and focus on coming up with a detailed outreach plan that will encompass the entire continent. Simply building a database of operators or even better, working together with an organisation like afrISPA which should have a relatively complete list of African ISPs would achieve a lot more.

Again there is the whole concept of educating the operator community on why AFRINIC? Why become an LIR? etc...this has to be a focused, ongoing and consistent effort.

>     o colocate an AfriNIC meeting with Afnog workshop, more to get
> consensus
> among operators on issues and to expose folk in various regions.

agreed, but AfNOG is not the only setting where operators show up. Representation at all the relevant fora/conferences is key to getting the right exposure.

> -------------------
> 6.0 Technical Plan
> ------------------
> - setup the services at ripe and do the registrations for african LIR's
>     o january 1, 2002
> -  Start setting up equipment and Internet connection and start
> migrating
> the database and services to host country
>     o december 15, 2003
> -----------------------------
> 7.0 Policy and Operation Plan
> -----------------------------
> - afrinic address policy has been agreed in working groups and will be
> used
> in providing services while at ripe. proposals for change in the policy
> would come from workings groups and consensus of the members.

the process of communication with the members and the stakeholder community needs to be clearly defined and documented for the public. The constitution of the working groups needs to be clearly defined and documented for the public.
> - adopt RIPE Membership Agreement

? - the RIPE membership agreement is a little *too* restrictive e.g. you cannot get an AS number unless you are (paid-up) RIPE LIR - that can hinder the many ongoing initiatives to implement Internet Exchange points across the continent.

> - Utilize RIPE Membership Charging Scheme

please note, previous comment RE: rates/charges

> - use the agreed afrinic financial model to evolve from the RIPE model

In conclusion I will put in what I regard as some (vital) omissions,

- The ICANN MoU - this *has* to be signed prior to any operations commencing - part of the signing is the presentation of a detailed plan of operation (which, I hope this document constitutes) - Andrew, please clarify if I've misunderstood the process

- Who selects the staff? What is the process? Obviously the BoT appoints the Manager/Chief Executive. Then the Manager/Chief Executive should be responsible for carrying out the recruitment exercise. I cannot understate the importance that this is done in an open and transparent manner. This is Africa, and we are characteristically prone to "cutting corners" and taking shortcuts. In realisation of this, let us make double sure that we keep our noses clean.

- Host country selection: ideally, this should be one of the main jobs that the Manager/Chief Executive undertakes while the incubation is ongoing. There are so many factors that influence the choice of host country, as well as so many different ways to incorporate based on different country's laws. The ideal fit/solution will take some time to find.


Brian Longwe

Brian Longwe         | http://www.ispkenya.com/  | Stress is when you wake
CTO                  | email:cto at nbi.ispkenya.com| up screaming and you
ISPKenya Ltd         |  Tel: +254 (2) 445959     | realize you haven't
Nairobi, Kenya       |  Fax: +254 (2) 446772     | fallen asleep yet.

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