Dot.africa Garners Backing as First Ever African Domain

Africa is set to acquire its own generic top-level domain following a pledge by delegates to back registration of the dotafrica domain during the Innovation Africa Digital (IAD) Summit that ended last week Thursday.

The three-day event saw the delegates, consisting of government officials, policy analysts and technology experts, pledge their support for ZA Central Registry’s (ZACR) as the dotAfrica Registry Operator — ZACR is a South African based non-profit organization and the administrator of CO.ZA, a popular domain name space.

Speaking at the summit, Koffi Fabrice Djossou a representative from the ZA Central Registry and member of the Registry Project Team said: “The drive towards Africa’s very own Top Level Domain (TLD) continues to gather momentum and we need the support of all African governments and the broader community as that momentum gathers further steam.”

The African Union, AU, said it settled on ZACR as its choice of registry operator considering its financial stability, technical ability and continental representation.

The AU and ZACR have therefore until April 26, 2012 to prepare and submit the required application to the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, ICANN.

ICANN will make the final decision whether to register the domain. If successful, the domain would be in use from September this year.

The move will see Africa become the next continent with own primary domain name. Other continents have already established domain names including “eu” for European Union, “.lac” for Latin America. “.aus” for Australia and “.asia” for Asia.

At present, individuals and organizations in Africa use the .com, .biz, .me or .org, dominated by registrants from the United States.

Set to serve over 86 million Internet users across Africa, dotafrica could develop into a global force in the political, commercial and cultural network. Tech analysts from Inveneo ICTworks predict the new domain could trigger a gold rush as well as create headaches for businesses determined to protect their brand.

The dotAfrica Steering Committee (Steercom) has been at the forefront of developing ICT related projects in Africa to promote the continents identity and growth.

The 10th annual IAD summit was attended by officials from South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Malawi. The summit is internationally recognised as one of the most significant business meetings on the continent’s ICT space that seeks to address issues affecting ICT landscape across Africa.

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