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Nigeria rises to second in African domain name ranking

Bosun Tijani Kashifu Inuwa and Adesola Akinsanya

Nigeria now ranks second place in the latest African domain name ranking. This was revealed in a study commissioned by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in collaboration with PowerSoft Africa.

Similarly, the African country-code Top-level Domains report shows that 4.33 million registrations have been carried out on the continent as of November 2023 and an 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, shows that high Internet access costs continue to limit widespread usage, with the average African spending about 4% of their monthly income on 1GB of data – twice the global affordability target.

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

According to a recent Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA) report, the .ng domain name, Nigeria’s Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD), has crossed 215,000 registrations. The rising number is probably due to the Association slashing the cost of registration by an outstanding 40 per cent.

According to the report, Google indexes a total of 44.3 million web pages under the .NG domain in the year under review, significantly up from 16 million in the previous year.

African country code top level domains

Commenting on the report, the President of NiRA, Mr Adesola Akinsanya, expressed delight in 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 an impact,” he said.

He also pointed out that the study also shows the commitment of the registry to making sure that the best practices in the DNS industry are followed.

Secondly, this is a continental rating; we are not the ones praising ourselves. The message we (NiRA) have for the DNS community in Nigeria is that we do not have any other country. So, .NG is our collective passport in the digital space. From businesses, web developer communities, registrars, businesses and individuals adopting .NG, we salute your efforts. We can do more, because we are not the first yet. There are lots of grounds to cover. So, let’s push for more adoption of the .NG while we tackle all necessary challenges on the way”, Akinsanya said.

On his part, Murtala Abdullahi, the CEO of Smartweb Nigeria Limited, one of the NiRA registrars, said the report shows increased acceptability of the .NG brand.

He added that the country is privileged to have a huge population with a lot of individuals and businesses showing interest in the .NG domain name.

Two years back, we had people adopting more of .com.ng, but today they are converting to .NG. We register more of the .ng than even the .com. So, people are now beginning to understand the value of the .ng in terms of optimization, SEO and other things. And another factor is the exchange rate. So, it helps to boost the adoption of .ng, because in terms of price competitiveness, .com is around N20,000 while .ng is below N15,000,” he said.

African domain name and African internet infrastructure

On infrastructure, the ICANN 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 localized Internet service.

Right of Way and Fibre Optic Cable installation

For Nigeria, the report shows that 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.

The study also noted that Nigeria’s biggest advantage is its huge population and large economy. The country 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, Sally Costerton, ICANN’s Interim President & CEO, said that the report sheds light on the growth, challenges, and opportunities within the Domain Name System (DNS) across Africa.

Building on the initial study conducted in 2016, this 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 also said that the recommendations focus 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.

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