African Union Wants Open Selection For .AFRICA Registry

The African Union Commission has stated categorically it is not supporting any application for the generic Top Level Domain .AFRICA despite claims from a potential applicant it has their support.

The organisation was forced to release a statement stating they are “categorically … not supporting any one individual or organisation” in their bid.

For now, the AU Commission is supporting the idea of .AFRICA, however they will require an open and transparent procedure for the selection of a registry to operate the TLD and that any party interested in operating the registry are advised to apply to the AU Commission for an Expression of Interest. This will be the sole mechanism for selecting and endorsing any operator. The deadline for the submission of applications is 3 June. The AU Commission will then select a shortlist of potential registry operators.

However the EOI procedure has been described as “unjustifiable” by one of the two prominent potential applicants to operate .AFRICA. The yes2DotAfrica Campaign is currently running a campaign themselves to say no to this process.

The yes2DotAfrica Campaign is being run by DotConnectAfrica who now feel they have been deceived, believing they had the support of the AU Commission in 2006 and then again in 2008. Then in 2009 they claim the AU Commission issued DCA with an official endorsement of their proposal.

The other applicant, the Dot Africa Project, has not yet released a statement on the AU Commission’s proposal.

The current state of the new gTLD process is up in the air, but ICANN hopes to have finalised and approved the Draft Applicant Guidebook at its upcoming meeting in June, despite the intentions of trademark lobbyists to delay the process indefinitely.