The Africa DNS Market Study

Initiative: The Africa Domain Name System (DNS) Market study will leverage the methodology and results of the 2016 Africa DNS Study to examine the current realities of the African DNS landscape in Africa and present a comprehensive report. The outcomes will help inform the Coalition for Digital Africa of future growth opportunities and development, both locally and regionally, in line with the Coalition’s guiding principles.

Goals Of The Initiative

  • To identify and define the strengths and weaknesses in Africa’s DNS industry ecosystem.

  • To develop recommendations to advance the industry and bring it closer to realizing its full potential.

  • To document relevant data and provide further analytical findings that will enable ICANN and other parties involved in the Africa namespace to develop a roadmap on the scope of needs and priorities for the development and growth of both country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) and generic top-level domains (gTLDs) in Africa.

  • To leverage the methodology and results of the 2016 Africa DNS Study, ultimately leading to the establishment of a pilot observatory—a platform and software—to continuously monitor the growth, development, and emerging needs of the DNS industry in Africa. This data will help build a continental database on the DNS management, market, and security in Africa.

What Will This Initiative Achieve?

This study will result in an assessment of the evolving DNS market and economic trends in Africa that describes and quantifies the overall potential of the domain name industry in the region, including:

  • A considered study of areas of importance to the DNS marketplace, including governance and registry models, and the readiness of Universal Acceptance, Email Address Internationalization (EAI), and DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC).
  • A regional or country-based breakdown of domain name registrations, including but not limited to ccTLD versus gTLD registrations; registrations by business, governments, non-government agencies, research and academic institutions, and individuals; percentage of active domains; and percentage of domains that use private (proxy) WHOIS.
  • A description of the type of content hosted by these domains (e.g.,commercial, governmental, educational) and percentage of the commercial sites that offer e-commerce services, including whether the content is hosted in-country or out of country.
  • An assessment of the growth rate of domain name registrations for ccTLDs and gTLDs over the past five years (2016-2021), including Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), as well as the current markets of local and global ccTLD and gTLD registrars and resellers, to gain insight into registrant behavior.
  • A better understanding of:
    • The user experience at local registrars and resellers (e.g., support for local language, payment gateway, IDN support – level of automation).
    • Factors that are holding back adoption of domain names (e.g., awareness, infrastructure, policy and/or regulation, payment gateway).
    • Current perceptions of Premium Domain Names and how to develop the DNS landscape.
  • Validation of the economic potential for domain names sales (gTLDs and ccTLDs) in the next three to five years.
  • Definition of the best practices that have made an impact on the growth of the domain name industry, including those related to business models, regulatory and governance mechanisms, and consumer awareness, among others.
  • An assessment of the feasibility of establishing a DNS observatory, leading to a proposal for a consequent mechanism and implementation of a trial observatory for the DNS marketplace in Africa.

The DNS Africa Study will be conducted by PowerSoft Africa, with funding provided by ICANN.


19 January 2023

Inception report and methodology review

28 April 2023

Draft final report of the study

04 July 2023

Final report of the study