Nigeria Ranks Second as Africa’s Domain Name Registrations Hit 4.33m

Emma Okonji

A recent report on Africa Domain Name Industry, commissioned by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in collaboration with PowerSoft Africa, has ranked Nigeria second place after South Africa in the African Domain Name Industry.

Similarly, African country code Top-level Domains Report shows 4.33 million registrations as at November 2023 and additional 1.4 million generic top level domain registrations from African entities.

Covering 54 countries in Africa, the ICANN Report released by the Coalition for Digital Africa at ICANN80 in Kigali, Rwanda, showed that high Internet access costs continue to limit widespread usage, with the average African spending about four per cent of their monthly income on 1GB of data, which is twice the global affordability target.

Also, the projected average annual overall growth in the number of domain names across the continent is 12.4 per cent, suggesting significant opportunities for local providers in individual country.

On infrastructure, the report indicates that over 1.1 million kilometres of terrestrial and submarine fibre cables interconnect the continent, enhancing cross-border communications and internet access, and a significant concentration of web content and domain hosting remains within only a few countries, underscoring the need for more localised internet service.

The report said: “As with South Africa and Kenya, Nigeria has multiple undersea cables. The ccTLD is well run as there are now six IXPs and multiple Data Centres.

“Nigeria’s biggest advantage is its huge population and large economy. Nigeria has the highest number of Internet users on the continent. Coming in just after Kenya on the number of ccTLD domains but ahead on gTLD domains, Nigeria also has a high score from its six IXPs.”

Speaking at the unveiling of the report, ICANN’s Interim President and CEO, Sally Costerton, said report had detailed information on the growth, challenges, and opportunities within the Domain Name System (DNS) across Africa.

“Building on the initial study conducted in 2016, the recent study provides critical insights into how the landscape has evolved and where it is headed. The study is an integral part of ICANN’s commitment to support the growth and development of the Internet’s infrastructure, namely the DNS infrastructure, in a highly dynamic region. It was also created in response to a request from the African community within the context of the implementation of the ICANN Africa Regional Plan for Fiscal Years 2021-2025,” Costerton said.

She added that the recommendations focused on key areas such as infrastructure development, regulatory adjustments, and capacity building, which are crucial for harnessing the full potential of the DNS industry in Africa.

According to recent NiRA report, the .ng domain name, Nigeria’s Internet country code top- level domain (ccTLD), has crossed 215,000 registrations.

Commenting on the report, Mr. Adesola Akinsanya, President of the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), expressed delight on Nigeria’s domain name growth trajectory.

According to him, the report is a reflection of NiRA and other stakeholders’ efforts, particularly, the registrars, towards deepening the country’s DNS industry.

“The study that was done regarding the DNS industry in Africa and I am privy to the first edition in which Nigeria was not even in the top three. Today, we are number two in Africa. It shows that the efforts of NiRA, both past and present EBoD and the secretariat staff, alongside the registrars, our efforts are making impacts. The study also shows the commitment of the registry in making sure that the best practices in the DNS industry are followed,” Akinsanya said.

CEO of Smartweb Nigeria Limited, one of the NiRA registrars, Murtala Abdullahi, said: “The report shows increased acceptability of the .NG brand. Nigeria is privileged to have huge population with a lot of individuals and businesses showing interest in the .NG domain name.”

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