The 47th ICANN conference kicked off in earnest today in Durban with an address by chairman of the board of ICANN Dr Stephen Crocker. On the cards was talk of the new Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) which include dotJoburg, dot CapeTown and dotAfrica. Recently ICANN has moved away from its role as being a regulator of registrars and domain registers to being an organisation that actively takes part in multi-stakeholder talks aimed at shaping the future of the internet and how it is used.

President and CEO, Fadi Chehadé spoke of how the world was looking towards Africa to provide the growth for the future. Africa is the fastest growing economy as a continent by GDP, has the fastest growing population and has had the fastest growing real income per capita in the world in the last few years Chehadé said to back up his claims. He also took the opportunity to announce that the domain register and registrar agreements had been finalised at which point he called up representatives from the likes of GoDaddy and Momentous to sign the contracts initiating the next step in the birth of the new gTLDs. Chehadé said “We can see the last mile before the new TLD is activated in the Internet’s root”. The most noteworthy inclusion was that of kheweul.com as the only African registrar on the list and the one who will most likely be the first in issuing dotAfrica domains when they launch.