The .africa top-level domain may well be unique — the only geographic gTLD to be contested.
DotConnectAfrica, which has been campaigning for .africa for years, has confirmed that it has applied for the string, despite the fact that another bidder has support of the African Union.
DCA chief Sophia Bekele blogged:
because of the history of the DotAfrica gTLD and our experience during the ‘Yes2DotAfrica’ promotional campaign, we anticipate a prolonged process
The AU in February announced that it was providing its support to a .africa application from UniForum, the South African ccTLD registry.
DCA had previously secured what appeared to be a letter of support from an AU official, but it has since been withdrawn.
According to ICANN’s Applicant Guidebook, if you want to run a geographic gTLD representing multiple countries, you need the express support or non-objection of 60% of those countries.
I’m pretty certain DCA doesn’t have this support, but the AU’s membership does include more than 60% of the nations in Africa.
Is DCA applying in order to get a pay-off from the Uniforum bid? It’s possible, but without the required government support its negotiating position appears to be pretty weak.