Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
16 November 2009
Egypt Signs up for 1st Arabic Domain Name on the Web

Minister of Communications Information Technology Dr. Tarek Kamel and Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Dr. Hani Helal announced today that Egypt had signed up to acquire the first Arabic domain name suffixed (.masr)

The announcement was made during a session on managing internet resources at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) meeting attended by Rod Beckstrom, CEO of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

ICANN opened today at the 4th annual IGF meeting held in Sharm El-Sheikh resort the registration of domain names in several languages including Arabic, Korean, Chinese and others in addition to Latin letters. ICANN declared the initiative in Egypt in recognition of the country's leading role in spreading the culture of internet usage nationwide.

Dr. Kamel stated that Egypt was the first Arab country to sign up in this system, which boost traffic on Arabic websites as well as open new investment horizons. Domain names ended by “.misr” will then be available on search engines for internet users to find.

National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) will be the entity in charge of finalizing the procedures for Egypt's registration.

Coordination is underway between the Egyptian Universities Network at the Supreme Council of Universities, which undertakes the registration of the websites of academic and governmental sector to be suffixed (.masr) in Arabic letters.

The registration of companies, non-governmental organizations and other civil organizations will be carried out through specialized Egyptian companies.
The sign up process is expected to include thousands followed by millions of Arabic domain names in the coming years.

Egypt has been actively involved in the process as a member of the Governmental Advisory Committee of ICANN through the participation of Eng. Manal Ismail from NTRA. Egypt is also an active member in the Arabic Domain Names Task Force.

Last October, the ICANN board approved during the annual meeting held in Seoul, Korea an executive plan to apply international domain names with non-Latin names. Egypt sees such a decision as a positive step toward multilingualism on the web, which supports the spread of the internet in different societies’ native languages.

The announcement followed a decision by the US-based ICANN to end the exclusive use of Latin characters for website addresses, allowing Internet users to write an entire website address in any of the world's language scripts.

IGF 2009 groups over 1,500 representatives of government, non-governmental organizations, advocacy groups and the private sector to discuss the future of the Internet.

Under the banner "Creating Opportunities for All", this year's forum will discuss increasing accessibility to the Network, the development of local content and the encouragement of cultural and language diversity, the promotion of safe use of the Internet, means of combating cybercrime and managing critical Internet resources.

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