Report on the Delegation of the موريتانيا. ("Mauritania") country-code top-level domain representing Mauritania in Arabic Script to Université de Nouakchott Al Aasriya

8 January 2019

This report is a summary of the materials reviewed as part of the process for the delegation of the .xn--mgbah1a3hjkrd (موريتانيا.) country-code top-level domain. It includes details regarding the proposed delegation, evaluation of the documentation pertinent to the request, and actions undertaken in connection with processing the delegation.

Factual Information


The “MR” ISO 3166-1 two-letter country code from which the application’s eligibility derives, is designated for use to represent Mauritania.


The domain under consideration for the delegation at the DNS root level is “موريتانيا.”. This is represented in ASCII-compatible encoding to the IDNA specification as “xn--mgbah1a3hjkrd”. The individual Unicode code points that comprise this string are U+0645 U+0648 U+0631 U+064A U+062A U+0627 U+0646 U+064A U+0627.

In the Arabic language, the string’s transliteration and translation is “Mauritania” in English. The string is expressed using the Arabic script.

Chronology of events

In April 2009, the government of Mauritania held a consultation with stakeholders in the ICT sector in Mauritania. The consultation focused on the management of Internet domains in Mauritania.

On 23 October 2014, the government of Mauritania signed Decree number 3468. The Decree calls for the establishment of NIC-Mauritanie to manage the day-to-day operations of the Mauritanian top-level domains including the .MR and موريتانيا. country- code top-level domains. The decree tasks Université des Sciences, de Technologie et de Médecine to implement it.

Under Article 63 of Mauritanian law 2013-025 dated 15 July 2013 relating to electronic communications, and under the provisions of Decree 3468, the University decided to seek transfer of the organization and management of the Mauritania ccTLDs to NIC Mauritanie.

On 21 July 2016, the Université de Nouakchott Al Aasriya (UNA) was established by Decree 138-2016, causing the unification of Université de Nouakchott and Université des Sciences, de Technologie et de Médecine. UNA is a public university in Mauritania and NIC-Mauritanie is a department within UNA. Université de Nouakchott had been responsible for the management of the .MR country code top-level domain since it was introduced in 1996. As such, UNA currently manages the .MR country-code top-level domain following the unification of the two universities into UNA.

On 27 February 2017, a review by the IDN Fast Track DNS Stability Panel found that the applied-for string “presents none of the threats to the stability or security of the DNS identified in Module 4 of the Fast Track Implementation Plan, and presents an acceptably low risk of user confusion." The request for the “موريتانيا” string to represent Mauritania was subsequently approved.

In October 2017, a workshop on the management and security of ccTLD registries was organized by NIC-Mauritanie in partnership with the West Africa Regional Communications Infrastructure Program Project (WARCIP) project of the World Bank and the Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération (AFNIC).

In March 2018, an information day on the management of Internet domains for Mauritania was attended by the Minister of Higher Education, the Minister in Charge of IT, the President of the National Regulation Authority, the President of the University, and representatives of “all actors in the ICT sector”, according to the applicant.

On 12 July 2018, UNA commenced a request for the delegation of موريتانيا. as a top-level domain.

Proposed Manager and Contacts

The proposed manager is Université de Nouakchott Al Aasriya. It is based in Mauritania.

The proposed administrative contact is Ahmedou Haouba, Professor at Université de Nouakchott Al Aasriya. The administrative contact is understood to be based in Mauritania.

The proposed technical contact is Ahmed Salem Cheikh, Director of NIC-Mauritanie.

Evaluation of the Request

String Eligibility

The top-level domain is eligible for delegation as the string has been deemed an appropriate representation of Mauritania through the ICANN Fast Track String Selection process, and Mauritania is presently listed in the ISO 3166-1 standard.

Public Interest

Government support was provided by: * Seyedna Ali Ould Mohamed Khouna, Minister of Employment, Vocational Training, and Information and Communication Technologies, Mauritania. * Dr. Sidi Ould Salem, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Mauritania. * Cheikh Ahmed Ould Sid'Ahmed, President of the National Regulatory Council, the National Regulatory Authority of Mauritania.

Additional support letters were provided by the following:

  • Dominique Saint-Jean, Chairman and CEO of the Mauritania-Tunisian Company of Telecommunications (MATTEL SA), the “first fully fledged GSM operator in Mauritania” which “provides a full range of products and services in the field of Telecommunications and Information Technology”.
  • Zouheir Jorio, Director General of the Mauritanian Telecommunications Company (Mauritel), a nationwide operator “providing telecommunications and information technology services including voice calls and broadband internet connection for the general public as well as for business and economic entities”.
  • Mme Fatma Elkory Oumrane, President of the Internet Society Mauritanian Chapter.

The application is consistent with known applicable laws in Mauritania. The proposed manager undertakes responsibilities to operate the domain in a fair and equitable manner.

Based In Country

The proposed managing organization is constituted in Mauritania. The proposed administrative contact is understood to be a resident of Mauritania. The registry is to be operated in Mauritania.


The application does not involve a transfer of domain operations from an existing domain registry, and therefore stability aspects relating to registry transfer are not relevant.

The application is not known to be contested.


The application has provided information on the technical and operational infrastructures and expertise that will be used to operate the proposed new domain. The applicant is also the current operator of the .MR country-code top-level domain.

Proposed policies for management of the domain have also been tendered.

Evaluation Procedure

PTI is tasked with coordinating the Domain Name System root zone as part of a set of functions governed by a contract with ICANN. This includes accepting and evaluating requests for delegation and transfer of top-level domains.

A subset of top-level domains are designated for the local Internet communities in countries to operate in a way that best suits their local needs. These are known as country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs), and are assigned to responsible managers that meet a number of public-interest criteria for eligibility. These criteria largely relate to the level of support the manager has from its local Internet community, its capacity to ensure stable operation of the domain, and its applicability under any relevant local laws.

Through the IANA Services performed by PTI, requests are received for delegating new ccTLDs, and transferring or revoking existing ccTLDs. An investigation is performed on the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and, the requests are implemented where they are found to meet the criteria.

Purpose of evaluations

The evaluation of eligibility for ccTLDs, and of evaluating responsible managers charged with operating them, is guided by a number of principles. The objective of the assessment is that the action enhances the secure and stable operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems.

In considering requests to delegate or transfer ccTLDs, input is sought regarding the proposed new manager, as well as from persons and organizations that may be significantly affected by the change, particularly those within the nation or territory to which the ccTLD is designated. The assessment is focused on the capacity for the proposed manager to meet the following criteria:

  • The domain should be operated within the country, including having its manager and administrative contact based in the country.

  • The domain should be operated in a way that is fair and equitable to all groups in the local Internet community.

  • Significantly interested parties in the domain should agree that the prospective manager is the appropriate party to be responsible for the domain, with the desires of the national government taken very seriously.

  • The domain must be operated competently, both technically and operationally. Management of the domain should adhere to relevant technical standards and community best practices.

  • Risks to the stability of the Internet addressing system must be adequately considered and addressed, particularly with regard to how existing identifiers will continue to function.

Method of evaluation

To assess these criteria, information is requested from the applicant regarding the proposed manager and method of operation. In summary, a request template is sought specifying the exact details of the delegation being sought in the root zone. In addition, various documentation is sought describing: the views of the local internet community on the application; the competencies and skills of the manager to operate the domain; the legal authenticity, status and character of the proposed manager; and the nature of government support for the proposal.

After receiving this documentation and input, it is analyzed in relation to existing root zone management procedures, seeking input from parties both related to as well as independent of the proposed manager should the information provided in the original application be deficient. The applicant is given the opportunity to cure any deficiencies before a final assessment is made.

Once all the documentation has been received, various technical checks are performed on the proposed manager’s DNS infrastructure to ensure name servers are properly configured and are able to respond to queries correctly. Should any anomalies be detected, PTI will work with the applicant to address the issues.

Assuming all issues are resolved, an assessment is compiled providing all relevant details regarding the proposed manager and its suitability to operate the relevant top-level domain.

Document last revised 2019-01-08.