DotConnectAfrica, is applying for the delegation of Africa’s identifier top level domain “.africa’” from ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), which manages and coordinates the Internet domain names system worldwide.
DotConnectAfrica would manage the “.africa” domain name and make it available to the Pan-African community.
The project aims to brand the continent on the web, to provide Africa a greater visibility and to make its voice heard on the International scene.
The branding of Africa on the Web offers an enormous potential for economic and development of a continent that has over 900 million people. It will contribute to a vibrant and competitive African information society.
The “.africa” domain name will develop into a global force in the international commercial, political and cultural sphere.
The domain name domain aspires to embrace this dynamism in the African Century to become a nucleus, intersection and breeding ground for Internet activity and development.
The need for an Africa-specific regional domain was recognized in the recently held Council of African Ministers’ meeting under the auspices of the African Union in South Africa. Unlike Country Code Top Level Domains, which provide for a country-specific local audience, “.africa” will allow the user to express membership in the larger African community.
The “.africa” domain will also allow Africa to take its rightful place alongside with the already launched “.eu” for European Union, “.asia” for Asia and “.lac” for Latin America which is also underway.
Currently, Internet users in the African region only have the option of utilizing a generic Top Level Domain nams such as .com, .net and .org, whose registrants are dominated by US and European individuals and businesses.
Or Country Code Top Level Domains that are intended for local use, such as “.rw” for Rwanda, or “.ug” for Uganda
DotConnectAfrica (DCA) is a non-partisan and not-for-profit organization incorporated in Africa. It will sponsor, establish and operate a TLD registry with global recognition and regional significance, dedicated to the needs of the Pan-African and African community.
The governance structure for DotConnectAfrica consists of different sponsor organizations, sponsor and co-sponsor members, Businesses, Non-profit - NGOs and other relevant African organizations in the region.
Driven via a multi-stakeholder input and augmented by regional and international expertise, the organization is to include direct and close involvement of many Governments, Businesses, NGO’s to ensure that a wealth of knowledge and expertise is represented.
DotConnectAfrica expects to reinvest some of its revenue into socio-technological advancement initiatives relevant to the Pan-African and African community.
A number of hosting sites have been considered. Rwanda seems an ideal place for locating ‘.africa’ servers as they are in full swing, using ICT for development. It has wired the whole country with fiber optics and is being connected to the World Communication highways via SEACOM now and TEAMS and EASSY when they become available.
John Gahindiro is an IT expert