Applications opened for new gTLD "dotAfrica" for business in Africa

The new generic top-level domain name dotAfrica has been validated by ICANN and the application process has started. Businesses having rights attached to a trademark have until 02 June 2017 to apply in order to get priority rights on the allocation of the corresponding domain name. This is a critical phase for businesses operating in Africa.

In 2012, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), launched the new top level domain application process. The dotAfrica project has been supported by individual African governments as well as organisations such as the African Union, ITU or the AfTLD (the representative of country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) managers from Africa). The dotAfrica gTLD aims at bringing the African Internet community under one umbrella facilitating e-commerce, technology and infrastructure.

Schedule:

Together the Sunrise period and the Landrush period form the launch phase. 

  • Sunrise period: 04 April 2017 - 02 June 2017

This is a priority-registration period for trademark owners to safeguard the domain name that matches their trademark. As a business having any rights to a name, you may apply for registration of the corresponding domain name during this period. 

Please note that prior to the application for registration of such domain name, the mark must have been validated via either the TMCH (Trademark Clearinghouse) mechanism or the MVS mechanism (Mark Validation System).

Applications for registration must be made via an accredited registrar.

At the end of the Sunrise period, applications will be processed and domain names will be registered to the successful applicants.

  • Landrush period: 05 June 2017 - 30 June 2017

This is the “Early Access Phase”. During this period, applicants are not required to show any right to the domain name applied for, but a higher registration fee will be payable for registering the domain name.

  • General Availability: from 04 July 2017

This is the phase corresponding to the normal operation of the dotAfrica TLD. Domains will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

We remain at your disposal may you require any assistance with application processes or any matter in relation to the new dotAfrica gTLD. 

This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.