Africa can soon look forward to having its own online space, with plans firmly afoot to introduce a continental .africageneric Top Level Doman by 2013.
As reliably gathered,this is according to the African Registry Consortium (ARC), a pan-African consortium that aims to administer the .africa domain by Africa and for Africa. Regions like Asia and Europe already making use of similar domain names. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers(ICANN)will have the final say in who administers the domain.
Several of the players involved in ARC are also involved in the administration of the co.za domain name space in South Africa, which is currently under the administration of UniForum SA.The same EPP technology currently being implemented for co.za and other .za second level domains,will be utilised for the .africa domain idf ARC has its way. “We see .africa as the ideal opportunity to highlight African know-how and expertise”, said ARC Spokesman and founding member, Koffi Fabrice Djossou.
One only has to look at how the co.za domain funds are applied by UniForum
SA, to see the benefits of having the .africa domain administered by an
African organisation. UniForum`sco.za social responsibility initiative, for
instance, launches at least two new computer labs at previously
disadvantaged schools every single month, with more than 200 labs having
already been completed.
“This new domain will give the continent a truly African identity for the
first time and will allow companies and organisations operating here to
proudly highlight their African operations and identity,”says Djossou.
The goal is to promote an African identity for the continent while at the
same time improving the security aspects around such a domain.
“ARC is seeking the backing of the African Union, as the AU has also
recognised the commercial and social benefits that the .africa domain may
present.. For example, there is always a concern regarding what happens to
the fees paid for domains. In this regard, ARC is building a
multi-stakeholder model for Africa and funds will go to the pan-African
Internet organisations where it will be used to promote ICT, and in
particialr DNS, development and education,” he says.
At present, continues Djossou, ARC includes representatives from Senegal,
Kenya, Benin and South Africa, and the door remains open to other African
nations that may express interest in getting involved with ARC. ARC is also
keenly interested in developing the African gTLD registrar community and in
doing so to encourage ICT enterprise development on the continent.
“ARC sees its role as being one of assisting to promote African ICT
development, to create additional value for Africa, and to impact on the
social and economic development within the continent. This can only be
achieved with an African-based administrator, who understands these
important considerations and the african domain name environment. After all,when an organisation purchases a .com domain, the
money doesn’t remain in Africa; ARC wants to ensure that when it comes to the .africa domain, the same thing does not happen.”
“ARC aims to bring this same mentality to the task of delivering similar
types of benefits to the continent, focusing on those areas where there is a
desperate need to improve ICT services and training.”
He says that when the .africa domains begin appearing – around the start of
2013, according to ICANN – it will truly revolutionise the domain name space
within Africa, enabling the continent toproudly identify itself.
Furthermore, says Djossou, a little further down the line the domain will
begin appearing in other languages, such as French and Arabic.
“ARC aims to continue to seek additional support from the various African
communities and to make Africa more aware of the benefits of having the
.africa domain. ARC is not only run by Africans, for Africans, but it
utilises African technology and know-how to do so. We believe it is time for
Africans to innovate, rather than simply copying others. ARC’s goal is to
drive African innovation and help Africans to rely on their own resources,
rather than always looking to other parts of the world for answers,”