Namibia endorses ZACR bid for .africa

Digital Content

Namibia has become the fortieth African country to formally endorse the ZA Central Registry (ZACR) bid for the rights to administer the proposed .africa generic Top Level Domain (gTLD).

South Africa’s Uniforum SA, trading as the ZA Central Registry, and Kenya’s Dot Connect Africa (DCA) have applied to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to manage the .africa internet domain name.

Applications alone cost $185,000 each, while successful bidders could start managing the new gTLDs from 2013.

Because .africa is regarded as a geographical domain name, it requires the support of 60% of the continent’s governments according to ICANN guidelines.

Namibia's formal letter of support for South Africa’s ZACR follows a Southern African Development Community (SADC) ICT ministers meeting held in Mauritius in November 2012, says ZACR.

"Some 75% of African countries have now endorsed the ZACR bid for .africa, well above the ICANN requirement of 60% support needed,” said ZACR Africa liaison, Koffi Fabrice Djossou.

Currently, ICANN is at the stage of evaluating governments’ objections to bidder’s applications.

These objections have been lodged with ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GCA’s) early warning system. The GCA provides advice to ICANN on issues of public policy, and especially where there may be an interaction between ICANN's activities or policies and national laws or international agreements.

The first objections to DCA’s application have arisen from the African Union and countries including the Comoros, Kenya, Cameroon, the DRC, Benin, Egypt, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Morocco, Mali, Uganda, Senegal, South Africa, Nigeria and Tanzania.

The AUC and the other above-mentioned African nations says that DCA has not met the requirements of the geographic status attributed with the .africa name, as applicants for this gLTD need the support of 60% of African governments.

It is unclear as to whether more bodies could object either DCA or Uniforum ZA’s applications.

Also, an objection does not lead to an immediate withdrawal of an application.

“The GAC Early Warning is a notice only. It is not a formal objection, nor does it directly lead to a process that can result in rejection of the application,” says a note on the GAC objection letters.

“However, a GAC Early Warning should be taken seriously as it raises the likelihood that the application could be the subject of GAC Advice on New gTLDs or of a formal objection at a later stage in the process.”