Shortly after reading that ICANN seeks improved domain and website access across Africa – largely due to high start up costs associated with government intermediaries – the vision for afrika.space was born.
The article cited several reasons for Africa’s slow uptake of the internet: expensive domains and website development costs due to their systematic control by one-term governments, a lack of ICANN resources to improve local IT infrastructure, and better access to cheaper country domains.
With my brain in the middle of an hypercharged, idea-creation phase, I quickly saw how we could offer low cost domains, site building tools and e-commerce capabilities to communities and businesses in Africa.
A domain name can inspire and further a vision
But first, we needed a brilliant, suitable name.
afrika.space was the first domain idea that popped in my head, with .space recently coming available. “Afrika” is locally spelled with a K, and “space” is clear. It was available, so I checked “africa.space” – listed as a premium domain for $ – and the final step was another perusal of the list of available new gTLDs for a possibly better combination.
I found nothing quite as striking as the original brainwave, and afrika.space was born.
Within minutes I had set up the basics – a web hosting account, Google Analytics, and a basic splash page.
With WordPress’ MultiSite feature, we can easily set up WordPress sites on each subdomain, and we can register a cheap wildcard SSL certificate that ensures free SSL for every website hosted on the afrika.space network. Eventually we’ll find a dedicated web host in, or closer to, Africa, to ensure quicker load times and access.
All of this is relatively inexpensive and ensures we can keep prices accessible to everybody.
This will take considerable in-depth planning, and a lot of research on the ground when I visit South Africa in May. The goal will be to liaise with established local groups, and build the impetus of a community that represents a diverse range of knowledge, experience and passions in the digital African world.
I have a lot to learn, and look forward to it.
Check back at www.afrika.space around the middle of 2015, or drop us a line if you want to get involved.