Africa becomes the last in the number of new gTLD’s that have been applied for in the current new gTLD application. Africa has applied for 15 new gTLD’s , Africa closely trails the Latin America that has applied for 22 new gTLD’s .
The total number of new gTLD’s that have been listed by ICANN as entries for the current application round falls to 1930, though Africa as well as the counterpart in the five RIR’s have the lowest number of applications, it would be regarded as a very small percentage, many would argue that, though Africa has attracted enough interest particularly for one gTLD that has been at the center of all discussions easily ranks as the most favorite TLD.
However, apart from this new TLD which is continental which has two applications representing the same TLD(DotAfrica/.africa) , and certainly I would be ridiculous to say .dotafrica (dotdotafrica) is a geographic name said, DCA in its Press Briefing, to mitigate misrepresentation by media clarified its dotafrica (.africa) application, (that certainly generated many humorous headlines for sure), three other domains are geographic , and represent .capetown for Cape Town ,.Durban for Durban and .Johannesburg for joBurg. Interestingly however only one came for community(.Arab) this can however be said to be covered under dotafriqya, a string that was center of contention after some representatives suggested to ICANN to include it in the list of reserved names.
Other names that received huge media coverage but didn’t make it for application includes .ZULU, favorable suggestions that should have featured include .swahili ,Among the Cities however, Africa seems to have lost a huge opportunity include geographic names for the top cities of Africa including Nairobi ,Kigali ,Lagos ,Dakar among others.
The most intriguing fact however can be hugely attributed to the kind of bureaurocracy that has existed within the governing bodies that are PanAfrican, these include regional blocks, and some of these can be blamed on non starter characteristics and foundations only good on paper.
Indeed Africa can be ranked among the highest growing infrastructuraly, economically and ranks as the region with the highest resource that is untapped, both materially and intellectually and as Vint Cerf told Africa, the Key factor is content, this is driven by availing enough channels for promoting content.
The increasing number of undersea cables that is expected to bring down the cost of internet access as well as the use of mobile phones will ensure content, these developments though must be promoted by increasing the number of the African gTLD’s. Cost has been taken as a major impediment to application, though many will be blamed for not taking advantage of the $47,000 fee reduction from the standard $185,000.
Another factor could be that most African Governments are not interested in developing the internet infrastructure beyond the small local area networks that give them access to email and have relegated these responsibilities that unfortunately cost billions to the private sector which I must admit has outdone itself thus far.
Talking of the private organizations sector only 9 Brands applied for their TLD’s, these include .multichoice ,.supersport , .kyknet , .mnet , .gotv , .africamagic , .dstv , .mzansimagic all that belong to the MNET media group and .naspers , yet we have thousands of successful African Brands in the commercial , Tourism and academic institutions.
This Application round should be taken as an eye opener for African institutions now that .Africa is among the 50 top favorite gTLD’s, Africa cannot remain as the spectator and its leaders must appear to be in charge , It’s the only way that Africa can truly achieve the millennium development goals, come 2013, we hope that Africa will have achieved the first batch of the new gTLD’s and prepare enough to be among the leading applicants in the next round of applications.