Technology industry captains are faced with an uphill task of getting more companies and organisations, including those affiliated with the government, to take up the .rw country domain.
Although there have been efforts to push for adoption of the .rw domain over the years, not much has been achieved, prompting the government and the Rwanda Internet Community and Technology Alliance (Ricta) to launch a campaign dubbed Nahisemo.rw.
“We are targeting Rwandan companies that are still on .com,” said Grace Ingabire, acting chief executive of Ricta.
Also targeted are corporates like KCB, and Equity Bank. Companies such as Rwandair, Ngali energy, Africa Improved Foods, Urwibutso and Radisson Blu Rwanda are still on the .com domain.
“We have more than 15,000 entities, among them schools, which are not yet online. This campaign is partly intended to bring them online,” she noted.
The promotion of the local domain goes in tandem with ongoing campaign to promote manufacturing and consumption of locally made products in the “made in Rwanda” agenda.
Until now, there are only 4,000 locally registered domain names. The team behind the drive to adopt .rw domain argues it is a fitting match for the country’s international standing.
In addition, experts say the chance of acquiring an easy-to-remember name with the .com domain is one in 70 million while it’s 80 per cent with the .rw domain.
Experts have also noted that the .rw domain allows the name owner the chance to avail content or information of products and/or services online, which opens up the opportunity of reaching out to markets globally at an affordable cost round the clock.
When a domain name is registered locally, it becomes easier to trace and deal with cyber attacks, unlike when it’s on .com, which is registered externally.
“Regulation is easy with .rw. For example, you can retain your domain name if you fall out with a developer, which is not the case with .com,” said an IT expert.
“There is a general perception that .rw is inferior to .com but this is not the case, at the end of the day it is about access, of course .com has been around longer but I actually see value for Rwandan companies that want to be identified easily,” he noted
When Rwanda Today talked to Derick Mudenge, IT co-ordinator at Africa Improved Foods on why the firm still uses .com domain, he was concerned about the inconvenience.
“Switching from .com to .rw would be the prudent thing to do for us. The only hiccup I see could be making the changes on the website and updating our partners and business associates,” he said.