Three companies have signed the registry agreement, while the registrar accreditation agreement was signed by five companies from countries including Senegal, Australia, France and the United States (US).
The registries will operate the top level domains while registrars are the entities through which domain names are registered.
ICANN’s president and chief executive officer (CEO) Fadi Chehade said the signing, which was carried out during ICANN’s 47th public meeting in South Africa, was a huge achievement.
“This is a huge accomplishment. We can see the last mile before the first new TLD is activated in the Internet’s root,” he said.
Speakers at the meeting urged the internet community to follow ailing Nelson Mandela’s principles in the internet ecosystem.
“We must realise we are inherently interdependent and thus must learn to be conciliatory and Africa defines that, as does. We need to maintain that Madiba spirit,” said Chehadé.
HumanIPO reported earlier today the bid for Africa to get its own gTLD had received a boost after .africa passed an “Initial Evaluation” by ICANN.
African Union commissioner for infrastructure and energy Elham Ibrahim said internet would help Africa grow, saying it was among the greatest gifts of the twentieth century.
“African domain names will bring financial, economic and socio-cultural benefits to Africa,” he said.
The meeting continues until Thursday.