June 21, 2017

Tussle for control over .AFRICA TLD to possibly delay domain launch

Despite being scheduled for general availability next month, legal rights to operate the domain are yet to be settled.

There is uncertainty brewing about .AFRICA’s scheduled launch next month as its current operator continues to be embroiled in a legal dispute with a competitor, who are actively challenging the registrar’s right to the role.

Governance of .AFRICA has been hotly contested between ZA Registry and DotConnectAfrica, until a ruling passed by ICAAN in March declaring ZA as the rightful operator seemed to bring an end to the discord.

However, given the fact that control over the domain grants the incumbent a powerful position with a potentially lucrative internet name space, DotConnectAfrica is determined not to go down without a fight.

Having steadfastly refused to give up its bid on the domain, DotConnectAfrica is still propagating online campaigns which claim the .AFRICA name for themselves. The company publicly stress that .AFRICA has deep cultural significance, making it crucial to the continent’s identity and history.

According to their official Twitter page:

.AFRICA is an internet name space pioneered by the African based DotConnectAfrica to the benefit of the African people

Sophia Bekele, CEO of DotConnectAfrica, remains tenacious in her approach to the matter, saying:

I profoundly believe in the Rule of Law, Equity and Natural Justice, and I remain optimistic that this wrongful delegation that has been made by ICANN to ZACR will be overturned at the end, and the .AFRICA string re-delegated to DCA Trust (DotConnectAfrica).

This drawn out battle for control over the gTLD between the two registrars began over four years ago. With the domain having already gone through its sunrise phase, DotConnectAfrica will be hoping ICAAN’s verdict will be reversed before July, when the domain is scheduled for general availability.

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