Monday, 19 November 2012

Rwanda to run its own ccTLD

"Rwanda takes over management of '.rw'" is the headline of an interesting and informative note for World Trademark Review by David Taylor and Laetitia Arrault (Hogan Lovells LLP, Paris). As the authors explain:
"...

‘.rw’ had initially been delegated to a Switzerland-based company, NIC Congo - Interpoint SARL, behind which was an individual named Frédéric Grégoire. Grégoire had obtained the ‘.rw’ ccTLD back in 1996 when the internet was still in its early stages and had not really reached the African continent - and Rwanda was still recovering from the 1994 genocide. Around the same time, he also obtained various other African ccTLDs such as ‘.bi’ (Burundi). For such ccTLDs, Grégoire was listed as technical contact, and as such he had the responsibility to operate them. Interpoint also operated ‘.zr’, the ccTLD for Zaire, and when the country became the Democratic Republic of the Congo after the first Congo War, Interpoint approached ICANN and obtained the redelegation of the newly created ‘.cd’ ccTLD which was to replace ‘.zr’. However, since then the ‘.bi’ and ‘.cd’ ccTLDs have both been redelegated by ICANN to local organisations (in 2002 and 2011, respectively), and Rwanda is now the latest African country to have obtained the same.

It has however been a long and difficult road. It all started in 2002 when the Rwanda Information Technology Authority sent a formal letter to ICANN to obtain the redelegation of the ‘.rw’ ccTLD. Unfortunately, this first approach did not bear any fruit, notably because of ICANN's recommendation that the ccTLD had to be managed by a private institution. This resulted in the creation in 2005 of the Rwanda Information Communication and Technology Association (RICTA), a non-profit making organisation representing the Rwandan internet community, formed with the objective of managing the ‘.rw’ ccTLD. RICTA filed a first request for redelegation to ICANN in 2006, but this was finally closed because the discussions with NIC Congo - Interpoint SARL and the finalisation of the proposed action plan were not progressing. In January 2012 RICTA, supported by the Rwandan government and a number of private bodies, applied again for the redelegation of the ‘.rw’ ccTLD, and ICANN approved it in September.

...".
This note also provides further background and an upbeat message for African nations intent on taking responsibiity for the destiny of their own country-levels.

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