ICANN Africa Region at its meeting in Johannesburg on 27 June announced the results of its mammoth study on Domain Names (DNS) in Africa.The study is intended to encourage more competition by setting up more DNS Registrars. The research, which took 16 months, has resulted in a 200+ page report covering 54 African countries, from the 3 smallest (with 75 domain names each) to the largest with nearly a million (South Africa). In total Africa has 5.1 million Domain Names worth an estimated $52m.
Research shows that the costlier the process of DNS registration the fewer are registered but that this has no impact on the number of users. Kenya, for example, has the highest penetration of internet users in Africa (most via smartphones) but as DNS registration is costly the number registered is far less that South Africa. However, factors other than cost also play a part: Many Nigerian companies opt for domain names that avoid the country’s .ni due to the stigma caused by the old Nigerian “419” email scams.
In Africa, the vast majority of names registered are for companies. Non-governmental organisations only represent 3% of registrations. A new DNS .africa is being launched in July this year with ICANN’s blessing.