The .Africa domain is the new top level domain for the whole African continent.
The 90′s saw the .com era; the 2010′s may see the .Africa era. Earlier this year, the dotAfrica project suggested this domain as the new generic top level domain (gTLD) for all African business, culture, and social-related websites.
According to the Project’s website, the African Union backs the domain as an effective means to create a Pan-African internet community, helping otherwise little-known country domains gain better exposure through a combined continent-wide effort. For example, country-specific domains such as .ke or .gh have been shown to get lost in the internet traffic. With the new domain comes increased hope for better global African exposure.
After a series of prolonged discussions since last June, the flood gates opened today, and pre-registration requests for .Africa names are now being accepted. The registration process is so fresh that the .Africa domain price is still uknown, while most domain websites currently estimate registration to take place later next year. A Sunrise period will precede general registration, allowing companies with special rights such as trademarks and company names the initial leeway. United Domains currently allows participants the option to pre-register for free, and as of today, more than 6,000 pre-registrations have taken place.
Two African domain registration sites, UniForum, based in South Africa, and DotConnectAfrica, a Mauritian company, submitted bids earlier this year to the Internet Corporation for Names and Numbers (ICANN) for management of similar African gTLDs. With the African Union’s backing, Uniforum proposed using the “.Africa” domain while DotConnectAfrica suggested “.dotAfrica.” With the new domain in pre-registration status, .Africa is now the third continental gTLD alongside .eu and .asia.