AU launches .africa domain name for continent

The outgoing chair of the African Union commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, expressed pride at the continent finally 'having a digital identity'.

In the beginning was .com, followed by a host of other .somethings, but on Friday, 32 years after the world’s first domain name was registered, the African Union (AU) launched .africa for the continent.

Africans who want to register a website will be able to apply for a .africa domain name in the coming months, which outgoing AU commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said would allow the continent’s people and businesses to better reach the world.

“With .africa, I would say Africa has finally got its digital identity,” said Dlamini-Zuma, who is on Tuesday due to hand over power to Chadian Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat after four years at the helm of the continental body

Sub-Saharan Africa has one of the lowest rates of internet penetration in the world, according to the World Bank, with only around 22% of people online compared to the global average of 44%.

The AU has vowed to increase broadband internet penetration by 10% by next year as part of its Agenda 2063 development proposal.

As the continent’s largest economy, South Africa dominates African presence online, holding 1.1-million of the 2-million website registrations on the continent, said Lucky Masilela, chief executive of ZA Central Registry, the South Africa-based company that will administer .africa. - Agence France-Presse


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