It took a couple of years to wind its way through the courts, and the vanquished DotConnect Africa hasn’t given up yet, but ICANN has delegated the right to operate the .africa new gTLD and the ZA Central Registry has announced the launch dates.
The Sunrise period for .africa will commence on 4 April and close on 2 June for rights holders who have registered their trademarks with the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) or Mark Validation System (MVS). The MVS is an alternative way for trademark holders to register their domain names in the .africa new generic top level domain and also to monitor similar and infringing trademarks.
Following Sunrise will be an Early Access period, which will run from 5 June to 30 June 2017. The EAP will consist of four 5-day Landrush periods and will be available to everyone on a first-come, first-served basis.
Finally General Availability will commence on 4 July in 3 phases on a first-come, first-served basis. The first phase will run for 28 days, then on 2 August the second phase will commence with a price reduction. The second phase will run for 333 days and then on 1 July 2018 the final General Availability phase will commence with another price reduction.
The dotAfrica launch program is pending final approval from ICANN.