Digital News South Africa

Africa: less than 1 million country domain sites - survey

The latest revelation that Africa has less than 1 million country domain websites is a sign that the continent still favours priorities such as poverty eradication, land redistribution, basic health care, clean water and education, among others, ahead of developing its technological capacities. Vika Mpisane, GM of .ZADNA, made the revelation during the presentation of .za market research survey yesterday, Tuesday, 16 March 2010, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Rosebank, Johannesburg.

A country domain is an Internet ‘top level' code assigned to a country, for example .za (South Africa), .uk (United Kingdom), .de (Germany), .fr (France) and .zw (Zimbabwe). .ZADNA is the Department of Communications-funded agency in charge of managing SA's internet .za space.

Prefer to use .za

The .ZADNA report also found that most SA businesses and people (83%) prefer to use .za ahead of .com (15%).

More than half (535 711) of Africa's one million country domain websites registrations are in SA, according to the survey, which means 535 711 websites are registered under the .za code, 16 000 of which are websites.

“These 535 711 are what we call active websites because we do delete a couple of websites each month due to non-renewal,” Mpisane said.

There are roughly 90 000 websites registered in SA under the .com code.

Mpisane said: “The research results are very important as they provide answers to most of the questions we and our stakeholders had about improving the .za space. These answers clarify what interventions .ZADNA or its stakeholders need to make to improve our Internet space.”

Cost of registering

Registering one .za website costs about R50, and a .com website costs roughly US$7.

“When someone registers a country domain (.za) website, the money stays in SA, while a .com website registration fee leaves the country,” Mpisane said, pleading with South Africans to register country domain websites to support the .za space.

Furthermore, most businesses interviewed (58%) prefer registering their products and brand names across multiple domain names to counter the ever-increasing instances of trademark abuse, Mpisane revealed.

Internet name-tampering (‘squatting') has become a new trend and a lucrative business in the current Internet space, where the number of registered websites worldwide now stands at 192 million, 85 million of which are .com websites. Mpisane advised businesses to check time and time again with their Internet service providers (ISPs) if their domain name has been tampering with.


The survey also shows that .com still ranks better than the rest of other .za domains, such as and - a worrying reality for local Internet authorities. This is understandable because the rest of .za domains are more focused on a smaller communities and sectors, the report pointed out.

“The growth of will always be limited as Government and its organisations cannot be expected to grow in number as radically as business organisations, plus some government entities, such as parastatals and municipalities, which register their website names in and .com instead of,” Mpisane explained.

There are roughly 65.9 million of Internet users in Africa, compared to Asia's 704.2 million, Europe's 402.4 million and North America's 251.7 million.

About Issa Sikiti da Silva

Issa Sikiti da Silva is a winner of the 2010 SADC Media Awards (print category). He freelances for various media outlets, local and foreign, and has travelled extensively across Africa. His work has been published both in French and English. He used to contribute to as a senior news writer.

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