Africa now has the unique web address .africa. African businesses and communities will soon be able to choose a “dotAfrica” website, now that the domain names will be available for registration in the global Internet community.
The .africa address went live last month after ICANN, the organization responsible for coordinating the global Internet’s systems of unique identifiers, launched a new generic top level domain for Africa on February 15. These new gTLD addresses become a part of the Internet once the registration process is complete, and are increasingly popular for cities, countries and other shared geographic identities.
Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the outgoing African Union (AU) Commission chairwoman, was on hand for the official launch on Friday in Addis Ababa. She was joined by Elham Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim, the AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy from Egypt, to introduce dotAfrica and its importance to Africans moving forward in the digital era.
The initiative “will bring the continent together as an internet community under one umbrella, allowing e-commerce, technology and infrastructure to flourish,” the AU said in a statement.
The move to build an exclusively African economic and cultural identity online is supported by the AU, as well as 78 percent of the governments on the continent. Countries represented on the leadership committee of the dotAfrica project include Burundi, Kenya, Mali, Morocco and Nigeria, along with South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia and Uganda.
The ZA Central Registry, a nonprofit based in Johannesburg, is handling the registrations.
“In technical terms, .Africa is resolving in the root zone,” said CEO Lucky Masilela. “In layperson’s terms, .Africa will soon be open for business.”
General availability for domain registration is expected to begin on July 4, although an earlier April 4 date is tentatively set for some specific applicant groups. To learn more, see the ZACR website.