[AfrICANN-discuss] Help with .africa history

Rebecca Wanjiku rebecca.wanjiku at gmail.com
Thu Jun 28 09:59:38 SAST 2012

I am writing on the history of .africa and there seems to be conflicting
information on when the initial expression of running of .africa was made.
Was there an actual application to ICANN or not?

If you have a recollection of the events then, please help me out.

I have drafted the brief history and if there is another part of it that I
am getting wrong, please correct me.

Here it is....

History of dot Africa

At the beginning of the second round of the new Generic Top Level Domain
(gTLD) application in 2000, an entrepreneur from a western country had the
idea of running dot Africa.

The entrepreneur approached Nii Quaynor and Pierre Danjinou, Africa's well
known technology ambassadors to organize support for the redelegation and
operation of the geographic domain.

By the time ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers)
held its first meeting in Africa in Accra in 2002, the idea of redelegation
of dot Africa was floated to other experts and the feeling was that at that
time, Africa had other more challenging problems like redelegation of
country code Top Level Domains, connectivity infrastructure issues, and
policy development among other challenges.

It was largely agreed that the best approach was to tackle the elementary
problems such as connectivity and redelegation of ccTLDs before dealing
with dot Africa, but the debate continued.

Some of the elementary problems were: connecting the Eastern Africa region
with the fiber optic cable to reduce its reliance on satellite
connectivity, increasing the number of fiber optic cables in west Africa to
further reduce connectivity costs, boosting network infrastructure to
interconnect different countries and exchange content locally and
developing registry operations to support growth of country code Top Level
Domains, among other challenges.

The policy and infrastructure discussions started an investment wave that
saw several investors coming together to initiate several fiber optic
cables in such-EASSY, TEAMS, and SEACOM among others. These investment
vehicles were both private and public-private partnerships.

By 2006, it was clear that the connectivity hurdle was going to be cleared
and the debate focused back to dot Africa. In the meantime, European
countries had rallied behind dot EU and Asian countries were galvanizing
support for dot Asia.

In Africa, the debate was centered around the shape and form of dot Africa
organization, and the role governments and private sector would play in
promoting dot Africa, and how the organization would contribute to training
and infrastructure development.

Between 2007 and 2008, a private sector initiative emerged, promising to
run dot Africa with the support of the African Union but it was marred by
controversy because the African Union Commission only expressed its
intention to rally African countries behind dot Africa in 2009 and in 2010,
Africa TLD organization (AfTLD) which brings together ccTLDs in the region,
rendered its support to the AUC in sponsoring and selecting the right
organization to run dot Africa TLD.

In 2011, the AU invited interested companies based in Africa to express
interest in running dot Africa, clearly showing their registry operational
experience, stating where the registry operations will be based, how the
operation will benefit African countries and a methodology of how these
benefits will trickle down.

After deliberations on the technical, financial ability and benefits to
Africa tech community, UNIFORUM was selected by the AUC as the organization
to establish and run dot Africa.

Best regards,


254 720318925


twitter; wanjiku
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