The domain of Africa

Newly released on the internet shelf is the .africa domain. Meaning that companies can now register as http://www.company,africa. The first phase launched in mid 2017. From the website registrar.africa, domains are now available for purchase to anyone in the world. The .africa top level domain has been in the making for several years and aims to reach pan-African companies or organisations targeting an African audience and/or market place. It is fully supported by the government of over 35 countries, it is open for purchase to anyone in the world.

How do you purchase your .africa top level domain? There is a list of accedited domain registrars of which Web4Africa is one of them. When checking for registering NubiaNetwork.africa, the following pricing was given

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The pricing is much higher than registering the other regional domains available on the continent: .ng or .co.za. So why would you want to register using the domain .africa? The registrar.africa website lists the following as benefits for registration of .africa domains

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And in true African style, the process of registering the top level domain .africa was a dramatic process that spanned over many years. In order for a top level domain with regional reference to be registered with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) the bidder needs the support of more than 60% of the affected governments. On the African continent with 54 governments, this proved to be a huge challenge.

More so because the representative for this bid, ZA Central Registry (ZACR) lead by a South African team were not well received on some parts of the continent because of the colonialist perception of South Africa still carried by other countries. So why did a South African team head this bid? The ZACR which runs the .co.za domain handles over than ten times more listings than the other 53 African countries combined. Although the ZACR team is the most versed on the ICANN practices, in the near future, the operations will be moved to neutral Mauritius.

Aside from the local issues on the continent, there are also litigation issues (and a fair share of drama) in convincing with the ICANN to grant the permission for the top level domain.

For the first two months of it’s launch, the domains will be limited to companies with existing trade names, after that it is on a first come first served basis. It will be interesting to see which companies register first.

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