ICANN 55 is ramping up here in Marrakech. Yesterday the ICANN Board met and gave the ZACR bid for .africa the green light.
Resolved (2016.03.03.01), the Board authorizes the President and CEO, or his designee(s), to proceed with the delegation of .AFRICA to be operated by ZACR pursuant to the Registry Agreement that ZACR has entered with ICANN.
The .africa saga has been long and messy. Kevin over on DomainIncite has documented pretty much all of it blow by blow.
The Board resolution includes a short version of the battle over the .africa domain extension and it’s nice to see it hopefully draw to a close during the ICANN meeting in Africa:
Whereas, in its 11 April 2013 Beijing Communiqué, the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) provided consensus advice pursuant to the Applicant Guidebook that DotConnectAfrica Trust’s (DCA)’s application for .AFRICA should not proceed.
Whereas, on 4 June 2013, the New gTLD Program Committee (NGPC) adopted the “NGPC Scorecard of 1As Regarding Non-Safeguard Advice in the GAC Beijing Communiqué,” which included acceptance of the GAC’s advice related to DCA’s application for .AFRICA. (See https://www.icann.org/resources/board-material/resolutions-new-gtld-2013-06-04-en#1.a)
Whereas, staff informed DCA of and published the “Incomplete” Initial Evaluation result and halted evaluation of DCA’s application for .AFRICA on 3 July 2013 based on the NGPC resolution of 4 June 2013.
Whereas, on 25 November 2013, DCA initiated an Independent Review Process (IRP) regarding the 4 June 2013 resolution, but did not at that time seek to stay ICANN from moving forward the ZA Central Registry NPC trading as Registry.Africa’s (ZACR) application.
Whereas, on 24 March 2014, ZACR executed a Registry Agreement (RA) for .AFRICA.
Whereas, on 13 May 2014 ICANN halted further progress with respect to ZACR’s RA for .AFRICA following the IRP Panel’s interim declaration that ICANN should stop proceeding with ZACR’s application for .AFRICA during the pendency of the IRP that DCA had initiated.
Whereas, on 9 July 2015, the IRP Panel issued its Final Declaration and recommended that ICANN continue to refrain from delegating the .AFRICA gTLD in order to permit DCA’s application to proceed through the remainder of the new gTLD application process. (See https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/final-declaration-2-redacted-09jul15-en.pdf [PDF, 1.04 MB])
Whereas, on 16 July 2015, the Board directed the President and CEO, or his designee(s), to continue to refrain from delegating the .AFRICA gTLD and to take all steps necessary to resume the evaluation of DCA’s application for .AFRICA in accordance with the established process(es). (See https://www.icann.org/resources/board-material/resolutions-2015-07-16-en#1.a)
Whereas, on 1 September 2015, evaluation of DCA’s application for .AFRICA resumed.
Whereas, on 13 October 2015, the Initial Evaluation report based on the Geographic Names Panel’s review of DCA’s application was posted and indicated that DCA’s application did not pass Initial Evaluation, but that DCA was therefore eligible for Extended Evaluation; DCA chose to proceed through Extended Evaluation.
Whereas, on 17 February 2016, an Extended Evaluation report was posted and indicated that the resumed evaluation of DCA’s application for .AFRICA had concluded, and that DCA had failed to submit information and documentation sufficient to meet the criteria described in AGB Section 188.8.131.52.3, rendering it ineligible for further review or evaluation.
It’s pretty clear that ZACR will want to get .africa live as quickly as possible, though an actual timeline won’t be available immediately.