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The African Union hopes .africa will create a unique online identity for the continent / Photo: IFII

Africa gets its own Internet domain

Africa now has its own Internet domain 25 years after the World Wide Web launched and more than three decades after the first domain name was registered.

Africa now has the unique web address .africa, equivalent to the more familiar .com, following its official launch by the African Union (AU).

The outgoing AU chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, said the .africa domain will assist various businesses, institutions and individuals to network.

“The initiative will bring the continent together as an internet community under one umbrella, allowing e-commerce, technology and infrastructure to flourish,” the AU said in a statement.

Addresses using .africa domain can now reflect an organization’s interest in the whole of Africa.

Icann, the body that establishes domain addresses known as generic Top-Level Domains, approved the move, after lobbying by the AU.

The domain will be rolled out by a South African company, ZA Central Registry. ZACR’s boss Lucky Masilela said that .africa addresses could cost as little as $18, AFP news agency quotes him as saying.

Registering a domain has been expensive in Africa. The cost is as high as $250 in some countries, deterring many from registering domains.

General availability for domain registration for .africa is expected to begin on 4 July, although an earlier 4 April date is tentatively set for some specific applicant groups.

Kola Tella

LEBARA

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