FRANK KANYESIGYE, New Times
MARCH 12, 2013
Within a period of four months since Rwanda's Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD), ".rw" was formally re-delegated from Belgium, more companies/individuals have started registering their websites under the '.rw' domain.
Previously Rwandans had opted for .com, .org, .uk, because ".rw" was managed from Belgium and Rwandans were not aware of the procedures involved to access it.
But after a seven-year long process of transferring ccTLD, last year in September, Rwanda Information Communication Technology Association (RICTA) gained all the rights from Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to manage the government's web domain after using formal procedures to apply for its repatriation.
Speaking to The New Times on Monday, Ghislain Nkeramugaba, the CEO of RICTA, said that web domain has received huge public response and many companies and individuals are using it for their websites.
"Since September, we have registered over 160 web domain names both companies and individuals directly under .rw, which is really encouraging. This promotes our national top level internet identity," he said.
Registering a web domain takes a maximum of six hours
"Some people have become aware of the domain's management presence in Rwanda and we are going to start awareness campaigns to enable the general public understand the procedures involved in accessing '.rw'," the RICTA CEO said, adding that they are planning to launch second level domains among others, .co.rw, .org.rw, .net.rw, and ac.rw.
"Utilising our country's internet domain name promotes creation of local content, enhances cyber security and efficiently ranks Rwanda's web content on to search engines."
RICTA is a non-profit making organisation representing the Rwandan Internet community. It comprises of different ICT institutions and individuals.
It was formed in 2005 with the objective of managing the country code top level domains, among other purposes.
.rw, was formerly managed in Belgium by Frederic Gregoire, a Belgian entrepreneur, under his Swiss-based company NIC Congo - Interpoint.
Gregoire had held registration rights for the domain since 1995 after registering it through the ICANN, the organisation charged with coordinating the internet's domain names-during that time Rwanda's internet compliance was very minimal since the country was still recovering from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
According to Didier Rutayomba, who recently registered his company under .rw, the web domain works well and it's easy to register than it was when in Belgium.
Rutayomba is hosting several company websites under his company 'ipromo.rw'.
RICTA provides registry services such as registrar management, domain name registration, renewal, dispute settlement services and maintains the entire .rw register system.