Africa now has its domain name, despite Sub-Saharan Africa having the lowest rates if internet penetration in the world
The unique web address, .Africa domain, was launched by the African Union.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the African Union Commission chairperson, hailed the creation of the domain as the moment when Africa “got its digital identity.”
According to the African Union, the domain will “bring the continent together as an internet community.”
The importance of .Africa domain
Addresses can now reflect an organization’s interests in the whole of Africa. For instance, a mobile applications company could create a mobile.Africa domain to reflect its Africa-wide presence, while a food company could set up a food.africa domain.
The project failed to launch in 2014; the web address has come to be almost five years after the African Union submitted the domain name to the governing body that establishes generic top-level domains.
Given first rights
The continent has been applying to register this, .Africa domain names on a reserve list, on the understanding that they would have first rights to it.
The earlier planned launch date was March 1, 2014, but it did not come to fruition.
To arrive at the domain address, the African Union put out requests for proposals from African registry operators.
ZA Central Registry, a Johannesburg-based non-profit organization, was then selected as the continent’s official bidding registry operator. The company was endorsed by the African Union Commission, individual African countries, agencies, and organizations.
The road to Africa’s domain name
The .africa domain was then formally submitted in April 2012 to ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
Then in 2013, the internet governing authority ruled that the ZA Central Registry bid for .africa had passed the initial evaluation.
South Africa is the continent’s largest economy and dominates African online presence with 1.1 million of the 2 million website registrations in the continent.
In some African countries, fees as high as $250 have discouraged many people from registering a domain. The dot Africa addresses will cost $18 for anyone on the continent.
The African Union plans to use the proceeds from the domain registrations to help cover for some of its administrative costs, and also fund the A.U commission.
In other news, South African taxi drivers blocked to Johannesburg’s airport on Friday, in the latest protest against taxicab app Uber.
Hundreds of drivers blocked the main highway to the O.R Tambo International Airport, Africa’s busiest airport.
Thousands of travelers were held up by the demonstrations, which also caused massive traffic jams.
“Uber is illegal,” said Reuben Mzayiya, a spokesperson for the metered taxi business in Gauteng Province.
Mzayiya added that Uber hasn’t registered with the department of transport, a requirement for people or organizations who want to operate taxicab businesses in the country.
“It (Uber) does not do all those things. It just operates a parallel structure with a fraction of what we are charging,” the spokesperson added.
The protests have forced the ACSA, the South African airports operator, to initiate talks with airlines about possible flight delays.
Since its launch in 2013, Uber has attracted more than 500,000 users and 4000 drivers across South Africa.