The dotAfrica Reserved Names Policy is open for public comment from this week until 31 July.
The policy is one of the mechanisms being used to ensure an orderly and efficient launch of the new dotAfrica domain name once it is finally approved.

The Reserved Names Policy is intended to protect various categories of names associated with African governments. Governments will receive priority in registering certain categories of names, including the names of countries, regions, provinces, governments, government departments and so on.

Also included are other domain names that relate directly to official governmental initiatives, such as the promotion of trade or tourism.
The policy also spells out how to apply to have a name entered onto the register.

“We are expecting great demand for names in the dotAfrica domain when it completes the ICANN registration process,” says Octavia Kumalo, marketing and PR liaison for the ZACR’s dotAfrica project.

“In order to make the launch a success, we want the possible best Reserved Names Policy in place – so we urge all interested parties to download the policy and let us have their comments and suggestions for improvement before 24 July.”

The public comment period provides an opportunity for stakeholder involvement in shaping the development of the dot Africa initiative and to build a shared vision and recommendations, she says.

Establishing dotAfrica (.Africa) as a top-level domain name is the brainchild of African Internet Pioneers and most recently the African Union Commission, and dates back to 2002. Its intention is to establish a single domain name that can be used to promote the people, businesses and cultures of Africa on the Internet.

After cross-continental consultation, the plan was endorsed by African ICT ministers. Subsequently, ZACR was chosen as the official operator of the dotAfrica registry. ZACR is a non-profit organisation that runs the South African domain register, which is the largest on the continent.

The new domain name is currently nearing the end of a lengthy application process by ICANN. The dotAfrica Reserved Names Policy may be accessed on the site.