Dot Africa gTLD: The Hope for Realising Africa's Digital Presence

Our request for the side event is to explain the process of dotAfrica gTLD and the political positons, agreement and resolutions that gave meaning to pursuing the application. This event will deal with in particular the OR Tambo and Abuja Declaration including the latest declaration by ICT Ministers meeting that took place in Addis Ababa in September
2015. The event will provide an opportunity to brief the identified delegates on the current status of the application and its importance to the global discussions on Internet Governance.

This session will shed light on the Ministers in charge of Communication and Information Technologies of the African Union meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, in November 2009. This meeting resulted in the “Oliver Tambo Declaration”, in which it was declared by the Ministers that Information and Communication Technologies are key to Africa’s development and economic competitiveness. The “Declaration”, expressed the hope that the use of, the new dotAfrica gTLD would bring financial, economic and social-cultural benefits to Africa.

This endorsement led the African Ministers in charge of Communications and Information Technologies, who met in Abuja, Nigeria, in August 2010, to re-affirming that Information and Communication Technologies are key to Africa’s development and economic competitiveness in the attainment of the African Union Vision. The Ministers further requested that the African Union Commission (AUC) set up the structure and modalities for the implementation of the DotAfrica project. A task force was subsequently set up by the AUC to implement the decisions reached by the Ministers in Abuja (the Abuja Declaration’).

The task force recommended that the AUC apply to ICANN for the operation of the dotAfrica gTLD during ICANN’s new gTLD Program. The recommendation included the initiation of a tender process for the selection of a body or organisation to launch and operate the dotAfrica gTLD on behalf of the African Union member states. Following an Expression of Interest process, the AUC invited interested parties to submit detailed proposals (Request for Proposal) for the registration and operation of the dotAfrica gTLD.

From the summary of the events and the declarations this side event is to explain how the namespace would benefit the ccTLD’s of the continent in supporting their growth and assisting in developing content. Notwithstanding this, dotAfrica is not just a domain name but a project for creating a digital identity for Africa. It has economic, cultural, social and technical value for the citizens of the continent and beyond. This is also a platform for participating of the continent in matters of Internet Governance from a practical point of view.
This side event is organised by Africa Union Commisision the sponsor of dotAfrica and ZACR the applicant of the gTLD.

The speaker at the event will be Moctar Yedalay Head Division of Infrastructure and Energy. Whereafter a question and answer session will take place to clarify further on the presentation.

The benefits of this event to the WSIS discussion are well documented in the objectives of the dotAfrica application which are still relevant today and captured below:

'To establish a world class domain name registry operation for the dotAfrica Top Level Domain (TLD) by engaging and utilising African technology, know-how and funding; for the benefit and pride of Africans; in partnership with Africans governments and other ICT stakeholder groups. Our mission is to establish the dotAfrica gTLD as a proud identifier of Africa’s online identity, fairly reflecting the continent’s rich cultural, social and economic diversity and potential.’ The application further stated that the new dotAfrica gTLD would be a gTLD ‘by Africa, for Africa’, benefiting both the African and Global Internet Communities through reinvestment in Africa, by way of the development of African ccTLDs, the African registrar market, and African online content. According to the application, support would also be given to socio-economic development projects and initiatives, and the building of a global brand with a focus on Africa. In claiming that Africa also presents an economic opportunity the application explained: The economies of the fastest growing African nations experienced growth significantly above the global average rates. Many international agencies are gaining increasing interest in investing in emerging African economies, especially as Africa continues to maintain high economic growth despite the current global economic recession. The rate of return on investment in Africa is currently the highest in the developing world.’

The Theme of the presentation will focus on the “digital identity opportunities that will be derived by the continent in the launch of dotAfrica.” This number 1-1234-89583 needs to be etched somewhere in the history of internet for Africa as it is the application reference number for gTLD dotAfrica.
Contact Information:
Lucky Masilela

Logistical Information

Date: Monday 14 December 2015
Time: 13:00 - 14:30
Location: UNHQ, Conference Room 7