[AfrICANN-discuss] Africa's Internet registries lag

Anne-Rachel Inné annerachel at gmail.com
Tue Apr 15 08:45:54 SAST 2008

 * Africa's Internet registries lag *
* BY STAFF WRITER <itnews at itweb.co.za> * *  , ITWEB
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   Key challenges<http://www.itweb.co.za/sections/internet/2008/0804091038.asp?O=FPTOP&S=All%20Africa%20News&A=AFN#1>
   Some solutions<http://www.itweb.co.za/sections/internet/2008/0804091038.asp?O=FPTOP&S=All%20Africa%20News&A=AFN#2>
  [ Johannesburg, 9 April 2008 ] - Africa lags behind other regions when it
comes to the size of its Internet domain registrations, with the biggest
registry being SA`s .za, which has 400 000 registrations, says
communications minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri.

 [image: Click here]<http://adsrv.itweb.co.za/adclick.php?bannerid=13735&zoneid=0&source=&dest=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.itecgroup.co.za>
   Country code top-level domain (ccTLD) registries fast-track economic
development and social participation of citizens, as they attract more
consumers to use the Internet, she said.

Speaking at the African Top-Level Domains conference, in Sandton, this week,
Matsepe-Casaburri noted globally, ccTLDs account for 58 million of the
160 million domain names registered to date.

Generic top-level domains account for the rest of the domain name

Africa`s contribution to the 58 million ccTLDs is so insignificant it did
not rate a comment, she said.

Most African country registries have less than 10 000 registrations, which
are unlikely to drive economic development and social participation of
citizens in those countries, she explained.

Sedo, a domain buying and selling marketplace, says ccTLDs attract more
end-users because their owners usually register them for a specific purpose,
such as providing an online presence for a small business.

ccTLDs are also rarely registered solely for parking and provide
geographically targeted traffic for Web sites, blogs and online shops, it

*Key challenges*

Matsepe-Casaburri attributed Africa`s low ccTLD registrations to a lack of
knowledge and awareness of the Internet domain name registrations and the
role they can play in economic and social development. "Most people do not
understand what it means to utilise the country code top level domains."

Businesses and individuals also prefer to use generic top-level domains like
.com and .biz, because they believe it gives them more credibility, she

What is worrying is the fact that some of the ccTLDs are managed by people
who do not even reside on the continent, she said. This has social, economic
and security implications, as a ccTLD identifies countries in cyberspace,
she said.

"If we are to take full advantage of what the information era brings, it is
important that ccTLDs be managed on the continent, as Africa-based people,
with vested interest in promotion and adoption of the Internet, would be
responsible for it."

*Some solutions*

Matsepe-Casaburri encouraged African governments to improve their governance
of the Internet. There should also be open standards, with no particular
group or interest given preference, she added.

Government should also partner with appropriate stakeholders, to gain access
to their resources and insight.

The ICT sector has the technical know-how, academic institutions can provide
the much-needed scientific research and direction, and small and medium
enterprises provide a potential for registration of new domain names, she

The youth and civil society can also play meaningful ICT advocacy roles,
while government has the resources and can provide political will, she

*Related story:
* Domain name policy
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