Rwanda looks set to gain control over its own web domain, ".rw" (ccTLD) after a seven-year long process of transferring it from Belgium.
Rwanda Information Communication Technology Association (RICTA) is set to manage the government's web domain after using formal procedures to apply for its repatriation.
RICTA is a non-profit making organisation representing the Rwanda Internet community. It comprises of various ICT institutions and individuals.
It was formed in 2005 with the objective of managing the country code top level domain, and act as well as a discussion forum for issues pertaining to the Rwandan Internet community.
The domain is currently managed in Belgium by Frederic Gregoire a Belgian entrepreneur under his Swiss-based company NIC Congo - Interpoint.
Gregoire has held registration rights for the web domain since 1995 after registering it through the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organisation charged with coordinating the internet's domain names.
However last week, ICANN Board of Directors passed a resolution supporting the redelegation of .rw domain back to Rwanda.
The process of obtaining control of .rw began in 2005 when the government approached ICANN to discuss the transfer of the domain name into the country's control. ICANN recommended that private institutions should manage domain names.
Geoffrey Kayonga, Chief Executive Officer of RICTA, said it's a big step in the redelegation process and a number of stakeholders have been involved, including the Rwanda Development Board that provided the hosting and office space and Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency that provided the budget support through Universal Access Fund.
"We look forward to having it soon so that we can be able to maximize the use of our national identity on the internet domain," he said.
In an interview with The New Times, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Minister of ICT and Youth said: "The person who acquired our country's top level domain is actually not going to do this on a friendly basis, it's the resolution of ICAAN board which is going to oblige him to redelegate the domain back to Rwanda.
Nsengimana stated that the government went through formal procedures to bring it back to Rwanda.
Once repatriated, Rwanda will be among the last countries in the world to gain control over their own web domains.