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Move aside .com: Africa will soon have its own top-level domain

Africa will soon have its very own top-level domain on the internet.

ICANN, a non-profit better known as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers, has this week finalised dates and the launch schedule for the newly-approved .africa (or dotAfrica) domain.

.africa will be a brand new top-level domain for the entire continent, and will aim to “forge a unique online identity which will associate your products, services and/or information with the continent and people of Africa“, a press release reads.

This is great news for the likes of startups, the African Union (who also endorses the move), and other African organisations who wish to meld their online identities with their heritage.

A number of African countries have endorsed the move, including South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya — the continent’s four internet heavyweights. The African Union has also given the domain its blessing.

ICANN notes that the domain will be dished out on a first-come, first-serve basis from 4 July 2017. That applies to those who register for trademarks from 4 April 2017.

It’s not often that new top-level domains appear on the internet, but it isn’t an everyday occurrence either. Perhaps the most notable of the past decade was the .xxx domain, approved in 2011.

But while the latter has a very specific use case, the .africa domain will celebrate what’s great about this continent: its bountiful diversity.