Adiel Akplogan: Dear col­leagues, friends, and our invit­ed guests. It’s an hon­or for me to join this impres­sive group of fel­low inductees. I would have nev­er thought twenty-five years ago that I would stand here and be able to talk and be hon­ored to join you. I have worked with many of you in dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances and on dif­fer­ent projects. But this induc­tion res­onates deeply in me as a recog­ni­tion from you as peers. 

But I’m stand­ing here hav­ing par­tic­u­lar thoughts to my friends, my col­leagues, and those I call my com­rades back in the region and think­ing about how impor­tant it is for us not to ever give up. Not to ever give up doing the right thing, despite all the dif­fi­cul­ty in a region like ours. We will con­tin­ue to sup­port progress, even as lit­tle as there can be or be per­ceived, we shall cher­ish them and con­sol­i­date them at all costs. Our achieve­ments always fuel more ini­tia­tive and greater progress. Quoting some­body, tal­ents are every­where, oppor­tu­ni­ties are not. So every time we have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to iden­ti­fy some of those, we need to seize them and work not for per­son­al gain but to allow those tal­ents to ben­e­fit from them. 

Nominated for efforts and con­tri­bu­tion to sev­er­al ini­tia­tives that brought and drew the Internet in West Africa in the 90s, and also for lead­ing and nur­tur­ing the con­sen­sus approach that has helped cre­ate AFRINIC, the Internet num­ber reg­istry in Africa in 2004, I have wit­nessed over those twenty-five years how tech­nol­o­gy can change and improve peo­ple’s lives on a dai­ly basis. The time has past where we were laughed at as young engi­neers, shy prob­a­bly, but very ener­getic. Locked in a five-by-five room, sit­ting on our gear. Eating, sleep­ing, and work­ing to con­nect our coun­try to the Internet with its own domain. How can we do that in a coun­try where every­thing tele­com has to go through the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion com­pa­ny? That was laughable. 

But guess what. We did it. We con­nect­ed the coun­try to the Internet and pro­vide a ser­vice to a lot of com­pa­nies and indi­vid­ual peo­ple. That mile­stone achieved, we enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly joined anoth­er aspi­ra­tional idea. Because as oper­a­tor we were fac­ing a lot of chal­lenge man­ag­ing, receiv­ing, Internet num­ber resources. We worked to achieve that goal as well, build­ing and grow­ing AFRINIC as a region Internet num­ber resource. That would very quick­ly become the cat­a­lyst for the con­ti­nen­tal inter­net ecosys­tem, tack­ling chal­lenges we were fac­ing one at a time, but with dili­gence, dis­ci­pline, and beyond all with courage. 

Why courage? Because we’re oper­at­ing in a region that is always per­ceived as com­plex. Where top-down and monop­o­lis­tic mind­sets pre­vail. Though there is still a lot to do in the region, we believe that the ground is pro­found­ly set in a direc­tion that will con­tin­ue to enable and sup­port the Internet’s uptake in the region. 

All that done, and now that we rec­og­nize the pos­i­tive impact of tech­nol­o­gy and inno­va­tion, the chal­lenge is upon all of us to be able to put our knowl­edge, our under­stand­ing of the tech­nol­o­gy, open­ly avail­able to pol­i­cy­mak­ers. We have to work with them to help them see our pol­i­cy and norms that will con­tin­ue to be enablers for inno­va­tion with­out permission. 

I look for­ward to con­tin­ue work­ing with you all, fel­lows of the Hall of Fame, to sup­port, encour­age, val­ue, and pro­mote the mis­sion of open stan­dards and tech­nol­o­gy for fur­ther suc­cess in the region but also glob­al­ly. Thank you for trust­ing me. But more than that for also pay­ing atten­tion to what we were doing down there in the region. I would like to thank ISOC as well for cre­at­ing and con­tin­u­ing sup­port­ing the Hall of Fame ini­tia­tive, and also orga­niz­ing of course this very beau­ti­ful cer­e­mo­ny here in Costa Rica. We well con­tin­ue work­ing dili­gent­ly, with dis­ci­pline and courage, to build con­sen­sus and make the Internet a very key ele­ment for devel­op­ment. Thank you.

Further Reference

Internet Hall of Fame pro­file