AfTLD Announces Intention to Apply for .AFRICA, .AFRIQUE

Posted in: Domain Names at 11/03/2011 16:51

The Africa Top Level Domains (AfTLD) organisation has announced it will be seeking to apply for the .AFRICA gTLD. AfTLD will be seeking a mandate to apply for and operate the new gTLD from the African Union and ICANN when it begins taking applications new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs).

"We are not just interested in .AFRICA only, but we want to also take on .AFRIQUE, which is the French version of .AFRICA. It's only natural for us to do this because at least 50% of Africa speaks French" says Vika Mpisane, AfTLD's Chairman and General Manager of .ZA (South Africa). "We also intend to have an internationalised version of .AFRICA as well because we have significant Arabic Africa population, but we will start definitely with .AFRICA first".

For more information, see the AfTLD announcement below:

AfTLD takes on .AFRICA
Africa Top Level Domains (AfTLD) organisation has today announced its decision to seek a mandate from the African Union (AU) Commission and to apply to ICANN to manage the .AFRICA registry. AfTLD has listened attentively to many calls in Africa asking AfTLD to play a leading role in developing, managing and running the .AFRICA top level domain for the region. AfTLD has responded by first undertaking a detailed assessment of the new gTLD landscape and making a commitment to work with the A Commission, ICANN and others to secure a mandate to run .AFRICA.

With that done, and AfTLD fully convinced of the feasibility of the .AFRICA project, AfTLD has commenced its work of being awarded the mandate to run .AFRICA.

"We are not just interested in .AFRICA only, but we want to also take on .AFRIQUE, which is the French version of .AFRICA. It's only natural for us to do this because at least 50% of Africa speaks French" says Vika Mpisane, AfTLD's Chairman and General Manager of .ZA (South Africa). "We also intend to have an internationalised version of .AFRICA as well because we have significant Arabic Africa population, but we will start definitely with .AFRICA first".

AfTLD has grown in stature and influence since the mid-2000s, and is now ready to climb another ladder with the .AFRICA project. It has significantly mobilised African ccTLDs and helped improve their registry management capacity. Amongst its achievements are the registry operations and contingency planning training courses AfTLD has offered to the African ccTLDs in association with its sponsors, which include ICANN, NSRC and ISOC.

It is this confidence that the African internet community and many African governments are showing in AfTLD that makes it confident of its ability to deliver the .AFRICA project successfully. AfTLD has close relationships with otherAfrican Internet organisations such as AfNOG, AfriNIC and AfrISPA, and sees theirsupport as crucial to the success of.AFRICA, as is support by African business, governments and the global communities.

AfTLD appreciates that .AFRICA must be on the same level of operational excellence as any other leading TLD. Because of this, AfTLD has been working with various registry service providers and will soon be announcing a partnership with a leading registry services provider, and AFTLD is confident that it will choose the best model to ensure that .AFRICA succeeds in spite of the new gTLD boom.

"The interest shown by leading registry providers in AfTLD's .AFRICA bid has been humbling. We have been inundated by expressions of keen interest from well known leading players in the market" notes Eric Akumiah, AfTLD's Manager.

AfTLD sees it as being critically important that .AFRICA must benefit the development of the African Internet community.

"As a regional TLD, .AFRICA must primarily serve the African market and should be run from within Africa. Even though some sacrifices might need to be made at the beginning to ensure that .AFRICA takes off in the best possible way, such as using external expertise to start up the registry, it is good to see the strong conviction within AfTLD to operate the .AFRICA registry in Africa, utilising and further developing African registry management skills. That should happen as sooner than later" says Dr. Paulos Nyirenda, another AfTLD Excom member and head of the Malawi .MW ccTLD.

Dot Africa presents a unique online identity for the whole of Africa and should be seen as being complimentary to African ccTLDs. AfTLD is supportive of the role that the AU is playing through the AU Commission, as this provides important political buy-in, direction and leadership.

AfTLD sees the need to go through a two-legged application process with the AU and ICANN. First, it sees the importance and need for the approval and support of the AU as a representative of governments and the communities in Africa. Secondly, it sees the requirement to apply to ICANN as an opportunity to provide a clear display and proof that its bid is the best placed bid that will also enable ICANN itself to contribute immensely in bridging the digital divide in Africa.

This AfTLD announcement was sourced from:
www.aftld.org/html/english/news_dotafrica.html


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