New ICANN deals inked

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The first group of Internet Registries and Registrars has signed new agreements with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN,, taking new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) into the final stretch of going live online.

"This is a huge accomplishment," said Fadi Chehad'e, ICANN president and CEO. "We can see the last mile before the first new TLD is activated in the Internet's root." Chehad'e made the comments during a ceremonial signing at the opening session of ICANN's 47th public meeting in Durban.

Three companies signed the Registry Agreement while five others signed the Registrar Accreditation Agreement, including registrars from Senegal, Australia, France and the US. Registries operate top-level domains, while registrars are the entities through which domain names are registered.

The three registries applied for top-level domain names using language characters in Arabic, Chinese and Cyrillic. Elham Ibrahim, the African Union's commissioner for infrastructure and energy, told the attendees: "The Internet is one of the greatest public gifts of the 20th century."

Meanwhile, ICANN ruled the ZA Central Registry bid for dotAfrica has passed 'initial evaluation', which was announced late on Friday. The application now proceeds to the next step in the evaluation.

"The news is especially exciting coming as it did on the eve of the 47th ICANN International meeting that is now currently taking place in Durban with virtually the entire world Internet community represented," said dotAfrica steering committee chairman Mohammed El Bashir.

The dotAfrica steering commitee is a precursor to the establishment of a multi-stakeholder pan-African dotAFRICA Foundation, which will drive the execution of the key developmental deliverables in cooperation with the African Union Commission.

ICANN's Durban meeting will continue until Thursday and more than 1 800 delegates are attending.

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