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".Africa" Signing Ceremony Held at ICANN 49

Why this matters

A symbolic signing for .Africa took place during our ICANN Public Meeting in Singapore. The signing of .Africa is significant because it is the first Registry Agreement signed between ICANN and an African gTLD registry operator. For more information on new gTLD program visit newgtlds.icann.org.

At ICANN 49 in Singapore today Akram Atallah, president of ICANN's Global Domains Division (GDD) and Lucky Masilela, CEO of ZA Central Registry (ZACR) participated in a symbolic signing ceremony that allows the new gTLD ".Africa" to proceed to delegation. This marks the first Registry Agreement signed between ICANN and an African gTLD registry operator. A contingency representing the African Union Commission, dotAfrica, and ZADNA (domain name authority of South Africa) were in attendance, as well as several ZACR and ICANN staff members.


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Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."