Kenya is leading 15 African countries in voicing opposition to the allocation of the .africa domain name to the DotConnectAfrica (DCA) trust by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the non-profit corporation charged with IP address allocation and domain name system management.
DCA, the Kenya-based bidder, is fighting out with the Uniforum, a South African nonprofit corporation, which is representing the continental governments under the African Union Commission and has bid for the same domain name.
The commission has written to ICAAN objecting on the grounds that the application is an interference to its mandate.
“DCA’s application constitutes an unwarranted intrusion and interference on the African Union Commission’s mandate from African governments to establish the structures and modalities for the implementation of dotAfrica project,” said the AUC in the objection letter sent to ICAAN.
Other countries that have raised objections include South Africa, Cameroon, Senegal, Benin, Burkina Faso, Comoros, Egypt and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The support for a bid by Uniforum was also received from African government ministers attending the Innovation Africa Digital (IAD) Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, early this year.
The .africa domain was highly favoured by the continent’s governments, who said it would give the continent a much needed identity that will elevate and enhance an African digital presence.
It is also viewed as the domain that will connect the continent’s Internet community under one umbrella, especially in areas of e-commerce, technology and infrastructure.
Other domain names that African governments rejected included .health, .zulu, .delta and .sarl. In total, Africa submitted 30 objections to ICAAN, which is still less than the 154 objections by Asia Pacific, 129 by Australia and 51 by Europe.
Despite the objections, the final ruling will come from ICANN.