Report: Domain Registry Business Wide Open In Africa

Report: Domain Registry Business Wide Open In Africa

Despite technical training provided by various global internet service providers, the domain registry business remains relatively untapped in Africa, according to a report in ITworld.com.

One of the reasons there are few registrars on the continent is stringent requirements imposed by ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the report says. A company applying for accreditation must have a $70,000 bank guarantee and insurance – hard to get for many African companies given that Internet business is not well understood in the region, according to the report.

ICANN and the Internet Society, a global web policy organization, have been involved in technical training at various levels, but that has not resulted in more domain name system-based business in Africa, the report says. The growth of this business involves registry activities, hosting and other web services.

How to increase the number of technology businesses in the region was the theme of a recent Africa DNS Forum. This week, ICANN held a meeting in Durban. There are just six ICANN-accredited registrars in Africa, meaning most domain name business is transacted through registrars based outside Africa, the report says.

“As we grow the new generic top-level domains and grow the country-level top-level domains, we also need to grow the number registrars in the region,”  said Fadi Chehade, ICANN president and CEO.

Mouhamet Diop is CEO of Kheweul.com, the first ICANN accredited registrar to be operational in Africa. The requirements are stringent, he agrees, but if a company makes it, the rewards are high. In Senegal, most generic domain name registrations are channeled through Kheweul.com. “We could be the next Godaddy,” he said.

The best way to expand a domain name system business in Africa is not to lower requirements but to explore ways for businesses to get letters of credit from banks and insurance companies, Diop said.

Some participants at the ICANN meeting said that the domain name system business had the potential to create 100,000 African jobs in technical, legal and other support services. Others said expanding domain name system business was the best way for ICANN and the Internet Society to engage with Africa, according to the ITworld.com report.