10/18/2007 - .AFRICA position over fast-tracking of IDN ccTLDs

From the point of view of the dot Africa initiative for African countries, it would seem a negative move for some advanced countries to go ahead and fast-track the launch of IDN ccTLDs at logically some expense to the others.

In particular, if the selection of IDN names of the country-code extensions were not done simultaneously, by necessity, some restrictions will happen to the namespace for the countries that select names after the fast-track is done.

In the case of African countries, we would be particularly on the last train, considering that many of our languages are not in Unicode yet. This will be another situation where we might just get "what's left". While there is a clear need for IDNs in Africa, although relatively small now, for African countries to join fast-track countries to deploy will be mostly impossible, since many of the Asian countries have been experimenting or already been deploying in private for a while.

In this regard, the only thing that can conceivably be done is to ensure that the African IDN equivalent country names are reserved now. That is, all countries should get to select their IDN equivalent, including African - not just fast-track ones – now before any IDN cctld launch, be it fast -track or not.