More than three decades after the first domain name was registered and over a quarter-century since launch of the World Wide Web, Africa finally has its own ‘.africa’ domain.
Launching the new top-level domain (TLD), the outgoing African Union chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said, “The initiative will bring the continent together as an internet community under one umbrella, allowing e-commerce, technology and infrastructure to flourish.”
The domain will be rolled out by a South African company, ZA Central Registry.
According to the International Telecommunication Union, with only 10.7 percent of households on the continent connected to the internet, there is plenty of scope for expanding penetration.
One reason for the relatively low rate of internet domain uptake in Africa has been the exorbitant costs associated with registration. In some countries registering a domain can be as high as US$250. However, price of registering on ‘.africa’ has been fixed at $18 for anyone on the continent.
Registration of ‘.africa’ domain is expected to begin on 4 July for the general public, although an earlier 4 April date is tentatively available for some specific applicant groups.
The AU is hoping proceeds from the domain registrations will help cover some of its administrative costs and fund the AU commission.