The New Times (Kigali)

12 September 2012

Rwanda: Nation's Top Web Domain Handed Over

After a seven-year long process of transferring Rwanda's Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD), ".rw"- from Belgium, finally Rwandans can now manage their national identity.

Rwanda Information Communication Technology Association (RICTA) has gained all the rights Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) 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 different ICT institutions and individuals.

It was formed in 2005 with the objective of managing the country code top level domains, among other purposes.

The government's top level domain, formerly managed in Belgium by Frederic Gregoire, a Belgian entrepreneur, under his Swiss-based company NIC Congo - Interpoint, is now under RICTA's management after ICANN Board of Directors last week passed a resolution supporting the re-delegation of .rw domain back to Rwanda.

Gregoire has held registration rights for the domain since 1995 after registering it through the ICANN-the organisation charged with coordinating the internet's domain names-during that time Rwanda's internet compliance was very minimal the country was also recovering from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Addressing a news conference yesterday, Geoffrey Kayonga, CEO of RICTA said: "I am glad to announce that last week ICANN passed a resolution to re-delegate the national web domain back to Rwanda under the management of RICTA and we are ready in position to offer the services."

"With the help of the government though Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA), we have been trying all things possible to have ccTLD re-delegated to our country. Today we recognize the fruits of the effort."

Kayonga stated that, RICTA is fully equipped to manage the .rw domain as it has been perfectly managing the ccSLD.

"Gregoire accepted to re-delegate .rw domain on amicable terms, basically the process went on well despite the fact it took long."

RICTA CEO stated that, people who want to register web domain names will pay an affordable fee to RICTA and those who did not pay when the domain was still hosted in Belgium will be given a timeframe to pay.

"We are not a profit oriented organisation, the money charged will be used to sustain the operation of our institution and registering a web domain will take a maximum of six hours," he explained.

Kayonga said that Rwanda is very proud to manage its national identity and it gives the country the capability and confidence to technically manage its web domains.

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.

RICTA provides registry services such as registrar management, domain name registration, renewal, dispute settlement services and maintains the entire .rw register system. ccTLD are owned by almost each country in the world. It promotes creation of local content, enhances cyber security and efficiently ranks a given country's web content on to search engines.

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