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Latest update: dotAfrica Launch Plan approved, Sunrise Phase commences on 4 April, 2017

With the support of AFRINIC, Africa's Regional Registry for Internet Number Resources, ICANN and leading members of its community announced an initiative (in June 2012) aimed at increasing African participation and influence within ICANN.

This initiative is the result of a meeting involving Steve Crocker, Chairman of ICANN's Board of Directors, ICANN's CEO-Designate Fadi Chehadé and its Interim CEO Akram Atallah with African community members at ICANN's 44th Public Meeting, in Prague, Czech Republic.

The goal is to develop a framework for ICANN's Africa strategy and to announce an initial plan at the October 2012 Public Meeting in Toronto, Canada. The strategy will aim both to support a stronger presence for ICANN in Africa and to increase African participation in ICANN. It will also foster the promotion of the multi-stakeholder model in Africa at the government, civil society and private sector levels.

This effort is a step toward stronger global engagement for ICANN, with a special focus on developing countries.

To contribute to the development of the new strategy, a working group was created and endorsed by the African community members meeting in Prague, including key players in Internet governance from different regions in Africa. The working group has selected Nii Quaynor of Ghana, a well-respected Internet leader in Africa, to lead its efforts.

ICANN has appointed Tarek Kamel of Egypt to serve as a Senior Advisor to its President and CEO on global issues, and to work with the group to develop the initial strategic plan that will be announced in Toronto. The working group unanimously endorsed this choice. Tarek is well known for his long record of achievements in promoting the Internet and its multi-stakeholder model in developing countries.

For further information or to submit ideas, please contact ICANN-ASWG@Afrinic.net.

Journalists should contact Brad White, ICANN's Director of Global Media Affairs, at brad.white@icann.org.

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.