Africa: Becoming an ICANN Accredited Registrar

There are only 5 ICANN Accredited Registrars in Africa

 There are only 5 ICANN Accredited registrars in Africa out of over 995 ICANN Accredited registrars globally. Africa and Latin America are the regions least served by ICANN Accredited Registrars. This means the continent is ill equipped in terms of the profit advantages, marketing support and capabilities, clout, trust, stability and technical capability that ICANN Accredited registrars are always associated with.

It’s therefore no surprise that the Registrars Stakeholder Group (RrSG) at ICANN, a body that looks after the interests of registrars and registrants at ICANN has only representatives from North America, Asia Pacific and Europe. African registrars are not represented because their share of the global registrar/reseller business is almost negligible. It’s however important for African ICANN accredited registrars and others to participate in the RrSG at ICANN for networking, business, technology transfer and industry best practice.

The first ICANN accredited Registrar in Africa was Senegal’s Kheweul. Other ICANN Accredited Registrars in Africa include AfriRegister from Burundi,, Internet Solutions from South Africa and Genious Communications from Morocco. The first ICANN Accredited Registrar in Latin America was Brazil’s Nommer. You will need $70,000(working capital) in cash to set up an ICANN Accredited Registrar. For more details on the discussions on becoming an ICANN Accredited Registrar, download the presentations here.

Here is summary of what it takes for your registrar to have the envied “ICANN Accredited Registrar” mark:
-Business Requirements: Corporate structure, ability to run registrar
-Financial Capabilities: Evidence of financial stability
-Commercial General Liability: Insurance requirements by ICANN and registries.

Governing Agreements and Policies
-Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA): Contract between ICANN and Registrar
-Registry-Registrar Agreement (RRA) : Contract between registrar and each of the gTLD registries
-Registrar-Registrant Agreement: Contract between registrar and registrar’s customers
-Reseller Agreement (if applicable) :  Agreement if you plan to do business with resellers
-Consensus Policy: Dispute resolutions and inter-registrar transfers
-Data Escrow Agreement: Agreements to escrow data: To reconstruct data and protect registrants when registrar goes out of business.

Fees (as of 26 October 2011)

-Application fee (1 time USD 3,500): One time application fee
-Yearly accreditation fee (USD 4,000): Annual accreditation fee. First year paid uofront,opt to pay quarterly in subsequent years.
-Quarterly variable fee (approximately USD 1,100 per quarter). Possibility of 2/3 reduction for smaller registrars (see budget) : Spread across registrars. For small registrars, there is 2/3 reduction=$300-$400
-Transaction fee (USD 0.18 per one year increments for new registrations, transfers or renewals):
-Fees paid to the Registries: For example VeriSign charges $7.34 per .com domain

Application Process
-The applicant submits the completed application and pays the application fee.
-ICANN reviews the application for approval – Follow-up conducted with the applicant for further information or to clarify application answers.
-Once the application is approved, ICANN sends the RAA along with an invoice for the first year accreditation fee to the applicant.
-Applicant must then return the signed RAA and the payment of the first year fee and satisfy any outstanding requirements. 
-ICANN signs the contract and announces the new registrar’s accreditation to the registries.

After Accreditation, you can join the Registry Stakeholder Group which has several advantages including opportunities to:
-Participate in industry policy formation
-Make a direct impact on rules and regulations that directly affect your business
-Network with and learn from the exclusive set of Registrar businesses from around the world

Read more on becoming an ICANN Accredited Registrar