DotConnectAfrica speaks out on the .dotafrica in an Exclusive Interview

Recently DotConnectAfrica announced in their regular Press releases that ICANN had finally changed their application that had come as .dotAfrica to DotAfrica.  This particular errors are not uncommon but in this particular case it would have come out as the most expensive 185, 000 USD error.   These changes are among 29 other changes that ICANN effected including Fairwinds, Verisign whose changes affected an error in its Hebrew transliteration of .com and Kerry Trading Company’s misspelling of the word “logistics”.

I was able to reach the Officials from DotConnectAfrica in an exclusive interview  to find out how they felt about the changes and what it meant for their application in the coming days.

Ms. Bekele

DNA: What is the feeling at DCA Headquarters’ now that ICANN has effected the changes and was the wait too long ?

Ms. Bekele: Well editor, I must admit that we are extremely pleased and encouraged by the change from .dotafrica to “.africa”. Certainly our application went in as we intended .africa but we were a bit taken aback during the reveal date when it came out as .dotafrica triggering all sorts of articles and commentaries online. We were confident of ICANN’s intervention and just applied for the change using the normal procedure and waited and alas here we are.

DNA: What is the implication of the changes?

Ms. Bekele: Well as you can see, this puts us squarely in the application journey to the surprise of many, obviously now the record has been set straight at least so that our ardent supporters can be encouraged that we shall deliver and we believe that we shall competently run a .africa registry.  Few people who did not support us felt that the error was the last straw to our application and that one applicant who had already assumed to be the finalist had gone ahead and announced the win, yet we are still far from delegation.

DNA: Mr Buruchara, how is DCA handling the application process and what is your hunch for the future:

Mr. Buruchara

Mr. Buruchara: (laughing) Sic , about my hunch, I believe that we are the winning applicant and yes am confident more than ever that we shall deliver what Africa has for long awaited for.  Our application outlines a lot more deeper issues that focus on how to run the best modern registry in Africa and we have worked hard to ensure that every investment that we have put in including the partnerships that we have signed with competent companies and will give us the best solution for the African registry.   DCA Trust believes that by holding on to the cardinal principles of truth and justice, its application for the .Africa gTLD would be successfully approved by ICANN.

Our .Africa application contains robust financial, technical, operational and legal measures for forward-preparedness that have been included to provide ample protections against risk for users and registrants. In addition to the fairly sizable financial guarantees supplied to guard against registry business failure, the proposed standard domain name pricing for registrations and renewals have been set at a very affordable rate to ensure superb cost-benefits for all prospective users of the .Africa new gTLD.

DNA: What is in the offing with your registry partners

Mr. Buruchara: We are in corporation with CentralNic a world leader in registry systems whose  authoritative DNS technology already includes AnyCast instances in 40 locations around the globe including Nairobi, Kenya, Lagos, Nigeria and Johannesburg, South Africa, with this great geographic diversity ensuring 100% availability at all times for .africa domain names.   I will quote Crawford, the CEO who said “This visionary initiative by DCA will also make full use of CentralNic’s deep experience doing business in the English-speaking, Arabic and Francophone worlds, ensuring that in DCA’s even-handed and responsible care, the .africa TLD will serve all of Africa and the global African diaspora.”

Also in tow is Safaricom the home of M-pesa whose Datacenters is one of the largest in Africa. The beneficial access offered by the Data Centre operations of Safaricom would enable DCA Registry to provide a fully-redundant Internet registry system that features off-site fail-over and escrow so as to satisfy the most exacting high availability requirements  of a 21st century gTLD. I also envision M-pesa being the  most convenient of mobile payments for .africa customers, particularly in kenya.   However I understand M-pesa is also geared to go global.

DNA: How about the pricing I saw a thing or two about it, what is the standard price ?

Mr. Buruchara: Unlike our competitors we are sticking at 10 USD precisely the amount we set in our application, this is the best and most competitive price that will be a win win for Africa, it will encourage the customers to enjoy new upscale domain names at an absolutely affordable price.  We shall not give a range of plus or minus, we are definite about our 10USD.  Certainly we have put the interest of our registrants first.

DNA: Mr Buruchara,  are you ready with the endorsements ?

M. Buruchara: Well, first of all, allow me to say YES! and that we are confident with the endorsements.  Kenya is very much in support of DCA  and indeed we have compiled all our past support and definitely let ICANN in on them and we are continuing to gather support as we speak.  I believe with the optimism and support that we have received before, and more even now we are forecasting a successful cruise to delegation.

Ms. Bekele concludes by encouraging Africa to continue focusing on issue based matters and prepare for the delegation of the .Africa registry,  “I strongly believe that what we should be doing now more than ever is preparing and strategizing on tangible ways of ensuring that Africa advances technically.  Its clear that the private sector is leading most of the technological efforts, and I believe that when we have more and more synergy we can craft a workable formula for a digitally connected Africa with all stakeholders in the internet ecosystem”.

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