The African continent top level DNS address space consists of 54 top level country code ccTLDs, (of which one, Southern Sudan (SS) isn’t yet delegated) plus five Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs): Egypt (مصر ), Algeria (الجزائر ), Tunisia (تونس ), Sudan (سودان ) and Morocco (المغرب ) as well as three city codes (.CAPETOWN, .DURBAN and .JOBURG). ICANN recently delegated the .AFRICA domain to the South African administrator, the ZA Central Registry (ZACR), and registrations are going to be fully open in July, 2017. Note that according to responses to the survey, the use of IDNs is reasonably widespread. Analysis of the responses shows that a minimum of 46% of Registries offer non-Latin scripts and quite a 3rd of Registrars (34%) do.
Data from May 2017 indicates that a complete of just over 3.5 million domains are active under the African ccTLDs10. There are about 1.4 million registrations within the gTLDs by African entities. Key findings of the research are summarised below.
• Approximately 1% of gTLD domains are registered by Africans.
• Over the last six months (November 2016 – May 2017), African ccTLD domains have increased by 21. However, most (93%) of this increase was actually within the four Freenom ‘domain hack’ countries12. Nevertheless, the statistics quoted in the remainder of this Report are based on the November 2016 figure of 2.9 million ccTLD domain names.
• Registrations by Africans of gTLD domains total approximately 1.4 million, the majority of which is ~1.2 million .COM domains.
• The research indicates that prime access costs, the shortage of infrastructure and therefore the incontrovertible fact that African Internet access is primarily via mobile devices leads to a lower demand for domain names than elsewhere. This was confirmed by responses to the survey, with respondents citing high prices because the biggest barrier to the event of the DNS market in most African countries followed by lack of infrastructure.
• Other broader issues identified as high barriers by respondents include poor dependability of Internet connections and unclear or restrictive policy and regulatory environments. In addition, the research analysed the connection , if any, between a country’s ranking in reference to levels of freedom (using rankings by Freedom House and IIAG) and therefore the number of domains registered. According to this, citizens of “free” countries in Africa register some 22 times as many domains as citizens in countries ranked “not free”.
• name registration by African entities takes place mainly in countries where the local hosting industry and web development sector has developed sufficiently to make demand for local domains, i.e. mostly in South Africa , Egypt, Mauritius, Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Tunisia and Morocco. The research also confirmed zero or low levels of local hosting during a significant majority of nations within the region: 41 countries hosted over 95% of their gTLD domains outside Africa.
• The research found 51 functioning ccTLD Registries, with South Sudan (SS) not yet delegated and Eritrea (ER) and the Comoros (KM), which each have just over 100 domains, but have no apparent method of registering new domains via the web , also non-functional.
• Compared to other regions, Africa features a very small number of ICANN accredited Registrars. In total, there are only 11 ICANN accredited registrars within the region13 – four in South Africa , two in Morocco and one each in Burundi, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia out of a global total of 2,143. However, there are more Registrars than this actually active in Africa, with 450 Registrars accredited by the ZACR alone, for instance . Unless specified otherwise, the term “accredited Registrar” means a Registrar accredited by the relevant ccTLD Registry in the remainder of this report.
In reality, 26 countries have just one Registrar (typically the Registry itself), whereas 13 countries are fully competitive, use EPP and have multiple Registrars, with the remaining 14 being partly competitive and Southern Sudan not yet delegated. This was an element within the number of ccTLD domains sold, although it’s also true that successful markets attract more Registrars.
A “Country DNS Success Index” was developed by the researchers to rank countries in relation to the health of their DNS markets. The index used a range of factors to “score” countries including the number of domains registered under the ccTLD; the number of gTLD domains identified as having an African Registrant; the number of web pages indexed by Google; price of registration;
This is calculated by multiplying the total number of domains registered in each country by the minimum registration fee for domains in each African ccTLD and includes the gTLD domain names registered by Africans.