The ZA Central Registry (ZACR) has overcome the first hurdle in its .africa bid after receiving no “early warnings” from ICANN’s Government Advisory Committee (GAC). This is an encouraging development and justification of the ZACR’s bid for .africa which is endorsed by the African Union Commission (AUC).
The ZACR is aware that the AUC and 16 African governments have registered their intention to object to the only other bid for the rights to administer the proposed .africa Top Level Domain (TLD) name system. Conversely, no governments have opposed the ZACR bid for .africa.
The governments that sent in their Early Warning letters with respect to the bid competing against the ZACR were as follows: Kenya, South Africa, Benin, Gabon, Senegal, Cameroon, Egypt, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Morocco, Mali, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania and Comoros.
Mohamed El Bashir, Chairperson of the ZACR .africa Steering Committee, confirmed that “no objections have been lodged against the ZACR bid”.
The Early Warnings are a mechanism used to raise an alarm to ICANN of applications that may raise public policy and interest issues. According to the Applicant Guide Book, the Early Warnings should be taken seriously as they may lead to GAC Advice being issued about a problematic application.
“Our deep technical expertise, commitment to specific initiatives designed to grow the African Internet and our consultative approach ensured that the ZACR bid was extremely compelling. This latest news is a vindication of an approach that aimed to include as many stakeholders as possible with Africa as the ultimate winner.
“ZACR has a record of running a successful registry and delivering technical training. It enjoys the backing of 40 governments as required by the Applicant Guidebook; this is important for internet and business growth in Africa,” added El Bashir.
The AUC, through lodging an Early Warning regarding the other competing bid, supports the legitimacy of the ZACR’s officially-endorsed bid for the .africa TLD. However, it must be understood that a number of phases, including a GAC Open Objection phase, still have to be completed.