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DCA Trust and UniForum SA Have Both Applied for the Same 'Africa' Geographic Name String

The attention of DCA Trust has been drawn to a posted news item on the AfricaInOneSpace website titled: "ICANN Agrees ... There is only one applicant for .Africa" (See ICANN Agrees… There is Only One Applicant for...)

In order to guard against the insidious effect of any mass media manipulation that the 'AfricaInOneSpace' team might already be engaging in, we wish to issue the following clarification for the avoidance of doubt regarding the string DCA Trust applied for, and to reassure the supporters of DCA's new gTLD application.

DCA Trust applied for the same geographical string name for 'Africa', pronounced as 'DotAfrica', as shall be revealed soon by the ICANN Technical Evaluation. It is important to note that the initial evaluation process will also consider string similarity — and all strings applied for will be reviewed; and applications for the same or similar strings will end up in the same "String Contention Set". The prescriptions of the ICANN new gTLD Guidebook (Section 2.2.1.1) are quite clear in this regard.

Therefore, the understanding as presently clarified by this communication is that DCA Trust has applied for the same 'Africa' geographical name string as UniForum and this will be confirmed by the outcome of the Independent String Similarity Panel who will review "applied-for gTLD strings against other applied-for gTLD strings". During the geographic names review, it would also be shown that DCA Trust applied for the 'Africa' gTLD — an ASCII 6-character string. It is ridiculous for anyone to suggest that DCA Trust has applied for .dotAfrica as a geographic name without seeing the exact details of the underlying application which is yet to be evaluated by ICANN or considering the stipulations of the Guidebook regarding String Similarity Reviews and how String Contention Sets are arrived at.

However, since the AfricaInOneSpace news item has already mentioned DCA's application for DotAfrica gTLD, we believe it is important to highlight at this early stage that it would not be smooth sailing for UniForum; whose application for 'Africa' is already quite problematic, and will probably be disqualified by ICANN for lacking the necessary documents presented in the correct manner. For example, the purported letter of appointment from the AU addressed to UniForum's Neil Dundas references 'dotAfrica gTLD' (See UniForum's letter of appointment). Does this mean that UniForum got a letter of appointment from the AU to apply for 'dotAfrica gTLD' and applied instead for 'Africa'? Does this imply that UniForum has no letter of appointment from the AU for 'Africa' which it applied for?

Uniforum should really be worrying about the more serious problem it has on its hand, to wit: the agreement signed with the AU is with Uniforum SA/ZA Central Registry, but the putative registry operator/applicant for 'Africa' is UniForum SA trading as Registry.Africa. Where is UniForum SA trading as Registry.Africa's endorsement for 'Africa' gTLD? Is it the specious letter of appointment to apply for DotAfrica gTLD, or the purported agreement between the AU and Uniforum SA/ZA Central Registry? DCA Trust will be watching closely to see how UniForum will try to correct these documentation problems to ensure that no illegal acts are committed.

Given these very grave problems that have now been highlighted, it is possible UniForum will not be able to pass even the initial ICANN evaluation.

It is only one day since the ICANN 'Reveal', and it would be rather premature for anyone to draw any hasty conclusions whilst the Initial Evaluation by ICANN has not even commenced. We think that any self-congratulatory gestures at this time by AfricaInOnespace — a loose amalgam of an organization that has been hastily put together without any legality to hijack .africa (DotAfrica)' — would be both foolhardy and self-delusional.

About DotConnectAfrica

DotConnectAfrica

DotConnectAfrica a non-profit, non-partisan org registered in Mauritius, along with DCA Registry Services located in Nairobi, Kenya will sponsor, establish and operate a gTLD registry with global recognition and regional significance dedicated to the needs of Pan-African & African constituency. Learn More

Related topics: ICANN, Internet Governance, Policy & Regulation, Top-Level Domains

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