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


dotAfrica (.africa) is the proposed new generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) for the African continent. It is an opportunity to forge a unique online identity which will associate your products, services and/or information with the continent and people of Africa.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organisation responsible for the coordination of the global Internet's systems of unique identifiers, launched a new top level domain application process in 2012. The outcome of this process will ultimately alter the digital landscape on the internet forever.

The Applicant for the dotAfrica gTLD is the ZA Central Registry, a non-profit company based in Johannesburg, South Africa and currently responsible for the registry functions of the .ZA namespace. The dotAfrica application has been submitted with the endorsement and support of the African Union Commission (AUC) and individual African governments and regional governmental agencies and organisations. The dotAfrica project enjoys widespread support from the African community, including AfriNIC, AfTLD, ITU, UNECA and Nepad.

The dotAfrica gTLD will bring the continent together as an internet community under one umbrella allowing e-commerce, technology and infrastructure to flourish. A truly African initiative established by Africans for Africa and the World.


The African Internet landscape is about to get a dramatic makeover!







  1. Africa will receive a pan-African domain name once the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has evaluated bids to administer the new dotAfrica top level domain (TLD) from different Registry Operators. The dotAfrica TLD means added visibility and identity to African operations.
  2. Any domain name registry can apply to run dotAfrica. However, only UniForum SA, trading as the ZA Central Registry (ZACR), has been selected by the African Union (AU) as the continent’s official bidding Registry Operator. This was after the African Union Commission (AUC) published a request for proposals from African operators.
  3. Transparency, reliability, technical ability, financial stability and continental representation were all key considerations when the AU endorses the bid by the non-profit ZACR which has over 17 years’ experience administering .co.za.
  4. African government ministers attending the Innovation Africa Digital (IAD) Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in early 2012 also pledged their support for the ZACR bid.
  5. The ZACR bid for the right and privilege to administer the dotAfrica TLD was formally submitted to ICANN in April 2012. This was after consultation with the AUC and the African domain name community.
  6. ICANN is currently processing over five hundred applications for different TLDs. This means a decision on dotAfrica is only likely in the first quarter of 2013.
  7. The successful applicant is required to release details on how individuals and organisations can go about registering their own dotAfrica domain name. A trademark sunrise process, auction period and normal registration process are all likely to be part of the dotAfrica allocation process.
  8. Four main focus areas have been identified by Steercom: the development of African ccTLDs, the expansion of the African registrar market, bolstering local & regional content development and a strong focus on ICT socio-economic development.
  9. Steercom members are based in several African countries to ensure transparency and oversight. These include: Sudan, Burundi, Cote D’Ivoire, Morocco, Senegal, Kenya, Tunisia, Mali and South Africa. Steercom will also administer a “dotAfrica Foundation” to further boost African Internet development.


African support for dotAfrica

Some 75% of African countries have endorsed the ZACR bid for .africa, well above the ICANN requirement of 60% support needed. In addition, the ZACR bid is endorsed by the African Union Commission (AUC).

View the African Regional support for dotAfrica here.


Organisations supporting dotAfrica


International organization founded as the Organization of African Unity to promote cooperation among the independent nations of Africa.



The International Telecommunication Union, originally founded as the International Telegraph Union, is a specialized agency of the United Nations which is responsible for information and communication technologies.



Established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN) in 1958 as one of the UN's five regional commissions, ECA's mandate is to promote the economic and social development of its member States, foster intra-regional integration, and promote international cooperation for Africa's development. Made up of 54 member States, and playing a dual role as a regional arm of the UN and as a key component of the African institutional landscape, ECA is well positioned to make unique contributions to address the Continent’s development challenges.



AfTLD is recognized by ICANN as the representative of country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) managers from Africa. It is an active participant in the ICANN ccNSO, and also actively participates in various Internet governance fora, including the IGF, where it has run a number of workshops. AfTLD works in collaboration and partnerships with other Regional Top Level Domain Organizations (RTLDOs), these being APTLD, CENTR and LACTLD. AfTLD also serves as an observer to the European ccTLD association (CENTR). It regularly works in partnership with other common interest organizations, including ICANN, ISOC and NSRC. AfTLD is recognized by many African governments, and this is shown in the kind of support it receives from them when it organizes its events.

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.