African Union endorses the domain name “.Africa” to DotConnectAfrica Organization

The 14th Ordinary Summit of the African Union heads of state and Government that took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the theme Information Communication Technology from 25 Jan to 2 Feb 2010 gave endorsement to the “.Africa” domain name.
By: DotConnectAfrica
Feb. 18, 2010 - PRLog -- Addis Ababa - The current endorsement by African Heads of State and Government built upon the 2-5 November 2009 Ministerial Conference held in Johannesburg, South Africa, where the Council of African Internet Communication Technology (ICT) Ministers gathered, discussed and  acknowledged the benefit of the .africa domain name to Africa.  

The report of experts session of the above extraordinary Ministerial conference of the African Union Ministers in charge of ICT, under section “Africa in the Economics of the Internet" adapted a resolution to "Establish dot Africa as a continental Top-Level Domain for use by organizations, businesses and individuals with guidance from African Internet agencies".

DotConnectAfrica (DCA) whose mandate is organized specifically to initiate and launch the .Africa domain, has been given the full endorsement to be the Sponsoring Organization and Registry Operator for the “.Africa” Sponsored Generic Top Level Domain name from the only Continental organization of Africa, the African Union (AU) Commission, based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The AU  Mission based in Washington DC, USA, headed by H.E Amina Salima representing the Diaspora Africans endorsed DCA the same.  Her Excellency wrote to DCA', "one of the objectives of the African Union mission in the USA is to mobilize the African Diaspora efforts. Towards this end, the AU mission would like to express support for the .africa initiative".

Other key African regional organizations who gave endorsement to DCA's efforts and proposal include the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), which coordinates the economic affairs of governments in Africa.  Speaking at the opening of the AU Executive Council, H.E. Abdoulie Janneh, the UN under-secretary-general and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission of Africa, said ICTs can improve performance of businesses and the efficiency of markets.  He also said ICTs can empower citizens and communities by increasing their access to knowledge.  The Executive Secretary said in his letter of endorsement to DCA, " I write to Express my support on behalf of ECA.  This is a worthwhile initiative that will contribute substantially to helping Africa bridge the digital divide.  It will certainly help the continent to derive similar benefits from the successful experience from the European Union which has the ".eu" domain and that of Asia with its ".asia" domain".  

Similar discussions are underway with the key regional partner institutions, the African Development Bank (ADB), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the World Bank have all welcomed the DCA's project proposals.  ADB wrote "the project you are working on is prima facie interest and relevance to ADB" and World Bank wrote " this is one of forward thinking project proposal for Africa". Prior to the above endorsements, over 20% of the AU member states of governments have independently of AU directly endorsed in writing to the efforts and project proposal presented by DCA, this,  to include Ethiopia and South Africa.

H.E. Minister Deriba Kuma representing Ethiopia's Transport & Telecom Ministry (MOTAC) wrote in his letter of endorsement to DCA, "MOTAC is very delighted to see the ".africa" initiative  fully implemented, deployed, and operate a technically advanced registry for the Pan African community under the DotConnectAfrica organization".  South Africa conceded the same in writing to DCA " We express support for your organization's initiative, which is applying for the domain ".africa" from ICANN. This is a formidable initiative that would support the enablement of the African continent".

In her written statement and after a yearlong due diligence on DCA's proposal, the AU Commissioner for Infrastructure H. E. Mrs. Elham Mahmoud Ahmed IBRAHIM, whose organization has the mandate over domain name as an Infrastructure Resource  wrote “we welcome your initiative”  and so followed the office of the Chairman of AU, which represents the African Heads of State and Government; giving DCA its full enforcement in writing stating “The African Union considers introducing the “.africa” domain as a valuable attribute for entities, professionals and corporations active in Africa, empowering those stakeholders who see value in a regional online identity.  The AU would like to express support for the "dotafrica" initiative through which your organization is applying for the delegation of a regional identifier TLD ".africa from ICANN and make it available for the Pan-African and African community.  Furthermore H. E. Dr. Jean PING Chairman of the union wrote “In this regard, should your initiative require it, the African Union is willing to offer assistance in the coordination of your initiative with African Ministers and Governments” .

Sending a message to the African leadership "at this historic summit on ICT, the first for the AU"  said Ms. Sophia Bekele who is leading the initiative; a former elected advisor to the policy organ for the Domain name issuing organization Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers  (ICANN), also a former elected adviser to United Nation Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to build the first African Information Society Initiative (AISI), "African leaders came together again for a common cause; to include Africa in the digital map, and we as African diaspora and our urgent call to our ideas were heard, our efforts were recognized and our proposals accepted.  This is what public service is about, simply and absolutely advancing the interest of the African public. We are very proud and also honored".  

"This is an open group", said Ms. Sophia Bekele known for advocating a common position in her work in Africa, as she spoke at the Paris ICANN public meeting, pushing for a single ".Africa" initiative.  "Most of the loose-knit "African Internet agencies" do not have the mandate to implement the ".Africa" domain, in fact it is a direct conflict of interest with their established mandates.  So there is no need to complicate the equation".  Agreeing with AU's position,  Ms. Bekele said, "we will welcome guidance from all African Internet agencies in our organized effort; as well as the same from our international partners.  While an African project, the ".Africa" domain is an international contract that requires a globally shared experience.  Africa is directly affected by decisions made on global internet policies. The narrowly defined "internet community" when ICANN was established over a decade ago is no longer inclusive.  Internet use has exploded globally more than 300% since 2000.  In this light, DCA's stakeholders are much broader,  therefore, the use of the internet or domain names like any system to be built, should be defined by the end-users and not internet technologist. Let me add that we, the African Diaspora are a big part of the stakeholder ship.  We are the 6th region in the African Union".

About DotConnectAfrica (DCA)
The governance structure for DotConnectAfrica is to be made up of different sponsor organizations and co-sponsor members, businesses, non-profit - NGOs and other relevant African organizations and individuals in the region.  Driven via a multi-stakeholder input and augmented by regional and international expertise, the organization is to include the direct and close involvement of many Governments, Businesses, NGO’s and individuals to ensure a wealth of knowledge and expertise is represented.  The governance model is to be adapted from Africa’s development policy model augmented with other geo-TLD models. Public Policy consideration will include direct input from African policy makers, including the AU/ECA/ADB on policy matters.

DCA expects to reinvest surpluses in socio-technological advancement initiatives relevant to the Pan-African and African community.
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DotConnectAfrica is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization incorporated in Africa and will sponsor, establish and operate the “.Africa” Sponsored Generic Top Level Domain name with global recognition and regional significance dedicated to the needs of the Pan-African and African community.
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Page Updated Last on: Feb 18, 2010
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