The African Forum on Best Practices in ICT, a pan-African conference hosted by the Government of Burkina Faso and supported by the International Telecommunications Union, has issued a declaration in support of the dotAfrica initiative.

The Ouagadougou Declaration expresses its support for the creation of a generic top-level (gTLD) domain for Africa (dotAfrica or .Africa) and the African Union Commission’s choice of the ZA Central Registry (ZACR) to oversee its launch and management.

The Declaration makes it clear that the dotAfrica domain has the potential to benefit the African Internet community and calls on all members of the African Union to support it.

The Declaration follows a conference held in Burkina Faso in mid-October. It was under the patronage of the country’s president, Blaise Compaore, and was attended by a large number of delegates from the public and private sectors globally. It also included a one-day cyber-security conference organised by the International Telecommunications Union and the International Multilateral Partnership against Cyberthreat.

“The Ouagadougou Declaration is just another example of the tremendous support the dotAfrica initiative enjoys, and the growing excitement that is building as we approach the launch of this exciting new domain,” says Koffi Fabrice Djossou, Africa Liaison for the dotAfrica project at ZACR.

In addition, the ITU is ready to partner with the ZACR in order to help governments build the necessary capacity and make better use of gTLDs under the dotAfrica TLD.

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 extensive cross-continental consultation, the plan was endorsed by African ICT ministers. Subsequently, following a rigorous and transparent process, the ZACR was chosen as the official operator of the dotAfrica registry. ZACR is a non-profit organisation that currently administers – the largest domain name space on the continent.