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Latest update: Apply for your .africa domain name during Landrush with these Domain Registrars (Open to anyone)

The African Union (AU) strongly believes that the introduction of the dotAfrica TLD will create an attractive regional home for the Pan-African Internet community. As the first sponsored registry to be operating from Africa and, therefore, serving the specific needs of its communities, dotAfrica will echo ongoing operation and the successes of other sister community TLDs such as dotEu (dotEuropa) and dotAsia that have created a new Internet identity for their users and businesses which seek more regional presence without being confined within the limits of one country.

In view of the needs expressed by the African community at large, and in order to fast track the launch and operation of dotAfrica, the Extraordinary Session of the African Union Conference of Ministers in charge of Communications and Information Technologies (CITMC) held in Johannesburg acknowledged the benefits of the dotAfrica domain name to Africa and adopted a resolution (The Oliver Tambo Declaration) to "Establish dotAfrica as a continental Top-Level Domain for use by organizations, businesses and individuals with guidance from African Internet agencies".

Following the endorsement of The Olivier Tambo Declaration by the Head of States and Governments Summit in January 2010, the African Ministers in charge of Communication and Information Technologies who met at the Third Ordinary Session of the African Union Conference of Ministers in charge of Communication and Information Technologies in Abuja (The Abuja Declaration), Federal Republic of Nigeria, from 6 - 7 August 2010, requested the AU to "Set up the structure and modalities for the Implementation of the DotAfrica project."

 

The AU's Open Process for the establishment of dotAfrica

To implement the decision of the African Ministers in charge of Communication and Information Technologies, the AU set up a task force composed of eminent African experts in the domain.

Following the recommendation of the task force, the AU opted to adopt an open process through which;

i) the AU applied for the operation of dotAfrica during the next round of the new GTLds through ICANN in June 2011,

ii) Launched a call for tender through which an entity was to be selected to operate the dotAfrica domain on behalf of member states.

In giving effect to this request the AU, through an open and transparent tender process, has appointed UniForum SA (the .ZA Central Registry) to be the registry provider for the dotAfrica TLD.

 

Read an official Communique on the African Union website

http://www.au.int/en/dotAfrica%20gTLD

Frequently Asked Questions

Ask your Domain Registrar or ISP about dotAfrica domain registrations. You may wish to participate in Sunrise if you have any rights to the name. Find a dotAfrica Domain Registrar here.

For the latest status updates, please visit dotafrica.org.

The .africa TLD will be launched in two phases, namely:

  • Sunrise and Landrush. For the Sunrise phase, trademark & brand names will be the priority. Landrush applications are usually for premium or sought-after domain names.
  • General Availability: This is the general open registration and continuous operations phase.

If you are a trademark holder ICANN prescribes a process, which we as the Registry Operator need to follow to ensure that genuine trademarks are protected and sold to the valid entity. The trademark holder will need to register their trademarks with the ICANN Trademark Clearing House or the Mark Validation System.

This will depend on individual Registrar pricing, in which launch phase you register the domain and if the domain is a premium name or not.

There are various protection mechanisms and policies, which the Registry Operator needs to adhere to and we are also bound by ICANN to make these policies part of our operations.

The various policies include:

  • Rights Protection Policies
  • Dispute Resolutions
  • Sunrise Policy
  • Landrush Policies, etc

See the Policy menu item above for more information.

Pre-registration .africa domain names will not be possible. Any application submitted during the dotAfrica Sunrise phase must have a corresponding validation token (SMD) in order to obtain the highest possible priority allocation.

If an applicant wants to secure the best possible claim to a domain name application during the launch, it must be associated with a pre-validated trade mark in either the TMCH or MVS. Without this a claim to the corresponding domain name is relegated to lesser priority status. The official way in which you can best secure your rights to a name in the new .africa namespace would be through the pre-validation of a registered mark.

See the MVS at www.markvalidation.com for more information.

For more detailed information on the launch program with the anticipated timelines, click here. If you have any rights to the .africa domain/s name you want, you should apply during Sunrise.

dotAfrica is the new Top Level Domain (TLD) for the African continent: It is an African initiative created by Africans for Africans and the worldwide audience of companies, organisations and individuals interested in, associated with and connected with the African community and markets.

The dotAfrica initiative is fully endorsed by the African Union (AU) and has widespread support across the continent - from African governments, the business sector, civil society and the technical community. dotAfrica is led by a multi-stakeholder Steering Committee from across the continent.

Benefits of a dotAfrica TLD

  • Identify with the continent.
  • Showcase your brand and commitment to Africa's growth and development.
  • Expand your footprint and influence in the region.
  • Establish a home for Africa-specific services, products and information.
  • Acquire valuable online reale-state in a fast-growing high potential market.
  • Secure and protect your Intellectual Proerty Rights (IP).
  • Participate in Africa's online renaissance.