The African Registry Consortium (ARC), a pan-African consortium that aims to administer the .AFRICA domain by Africans and for Africans, was publicising its case saying several of the players involved in ARC are also involved in the administration of the co.za domain name space in South Africa, which is currently under the administration of UniForum SA.
Meanwhile Njeri Rionge, one of Kenya’s most successful and revered serial entrepreneurs and also adviser to another contender for .AFRICA, DotConnectAfrica, was described as Africa’s most successful women by Forbes magazine.
“We see .AFRICA as the ideal opportunity to highlight African know-how and expertise”, said ARC Spokesman and founding member, Koffi Fabrice Djossou.
“One only has to look at how the co.za domain funds are applied by UniForum SA, to see the benefits of having the .AFRICA domain administered by an African organization,” said the ARC.
“UniForum`s co.za social responsibility initiative, for instance, launches at least two new computer labs at previously disadvantaged schools every single month, with more than 200 labs having already been completed.”
“This new domain will give the continent a truly African identity for the first time and will allow companies and organisations operating here to proudly highlight their African operations and identity,” says Djossou. However having a truly African identity online is the same goal as the DotConnectAfrica consortium.
According to ARC the goal is to promote an African identity for the continent while at the same time improving the security aspects around such a domain.
“ARC is seeking the backing of the African Union, as the AU has also recognised the commercial and social benefits that the .AFRICA domain may present,” he says.
At present, continues Djossou, ARC includes representatives from Senegal, Kenya, Benin and South Africa, and the door remains open to other African nations that may express interest in getting involved with ARC.
Both parties will be aiming to submit bids for .AFRICA when ICANN begins taking applications in its three months application window that commences on 12 January 2012. However it would be anticipated that due to costs, the bids would be able to work out a way forward together.
It is anticipated the winning consortium, or a collaboration, would have .AFRICA up and running in 2013 and that internationalised domains in French and Arabic would also be available some time in the future.