DotAfrica logo with no labels
Press Contact:
Thomas Kamanzi, Newsletter Editor
30 May 2013
An Ethiopian Woman fighting for .africa, a new generic Top-Level Domain
The Reporter
DCA Press Release
In a candid discourse, The Reporter Daily English and Amharic Language Newspaper laid out the struggle of Sophia Bekele, the Ethiopian who initiated .africa, the first African run gTLD registry business for Africa.
The Reporter Newspaper is a highly influential and respected source of reliable news in Ethiopia, Africa and online readership globally.

Sophia Bekele appears to be a lone voice crying in the African wilderness and fighting for the delegation of the .africa (pronounced 'DotAfrica') new generic Top-Level Domain.
She has been on various forums discussing and presenting on the DNS Industry and its benefits to Africa under the Multi-Stakeholder Internet Governance (MIG) Framework.  


She has been very active in the Internet Domain Name Service (DNS) Industry since 2005, when she was first elected as the first African to serve on the gNSO Policy Advisory Council of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN.) The ICANN generic Names Supporting Organization undertakes policy advisory and policy development processes for Internet generic names. It was this experience that made her become fully enmeshed in the work of Global Internet Governance and multi-stakeholder advocacy that led her to where she is now: leading a new generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) initiative as one of the applicants contending for the .africa generic Top-Level Domain.

Sophia Bekele: The EThiopian Women fighting for .africa gTLD
A Six Year Campaign  

She founded the DotConnectAfrica Trust (DCA Trust) and the associated DCA Registry Services Ltd. to apply to ICANN for the mandate to administer DotAfrica (.africa) - a new generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD). 


DCA Trust is well known for its successful six year Yes2dotAfrica global awareness campaign that she started during her term at ICANN when she initiated the (.africa) project.


Benefits to Africa

Sophia believes that accomplishing the important task of applying for the DotAfrica geographic TLD will hopefully result in a successful application that will enable it obtain the mandate from ICANN to operate the resulting gTLD registry. 


DotAfrica will provide a unique top-level identifier that is aimed at consolidating Africa's on-line identity for branding products and services, and will be useful for individuals, corporate organizations, non-profits, governments, and anyone with an
y particular interest in Africa.  Sophia expressed the view that the expansion of the Internet under the ICANN new gTLD program will also lead to the expansion of Internet use in Africa. "This is fundamental to DCA's Mission and Purpose for DotAfrica: harness the prospects and opportunities presented by the new gTLD program to introduce profound changes to the way the Internet is utilized in Africa, especially the new domain names that will be created and become available under DotAfrica gTLD", Sophia explained.

contribution to Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs)

Sophia started the DotAfrica initiative at ICANN whilst working as a gNSO Policy Advisor, which also gave her a good opportunity to champion the introduction of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs.) 

Sophia led an active campaign to introduce IDNs under which new Internet Domain 
names in Arabic, Cyrillic, Russian, Chinese and non-Latin alphabets will become available, thereby providing non-English/non-Latin language native speakers an opportunity to access and communicate on the Internet in their native languages. The IDNs will be introduced by ICANN under the auspices of the current new GLTD program. 

In recognition of her championing the cause of IDNs, the International Domain Resolution Union (IDRU) endorsed her DotAfrica Initiative and gave the following citation in recognition of her significant contributions: 
"Ms. Sophia, as a former gNSO advisor to ICANN, you have worked hard and long to champion Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs.) You have made the case within ICANN for a policy development process that will see IDNs in the service of the world community. And you have done so successfully"
Overcoming Challenges 
Huge challenges of effort, resource and communication over fixed mind-sets
On her .africa journey, she believes that a lot of progress has been registered during the past six years, especially managing a global promotional campaign to raise awareness about .africa and new gTLDs and the work of ICANN in general; and to also explain to people and different organizations how Africa and Africans would benefit from the introduction of the new gTLD. However, this has also posed a lot of challenges in terms of effort, resources, and communicating the .africa message to enable her to overcome fixed mind-sets.
Lack of awareness of ICANN process by African Governments
She laments that even today, in spite of huge efforts made to promote and communicate the benefits of .africa many African government still do not know about the new gTLD program, and the work of ICANN. 
Confusion of AUC's role and authority in .africa
Sophia thinks that many people are still confused about the role of the African Union Commission regarding its level of authority to delegate the new gTLD outside the approved ICANN program. She cited the example of the AU Ministerial Roundtable that convened in Dakar, Senegal in October 2011 to request that ICANN should reserve the .africa name and its equivalent in other languages to enable the AU give this to a 'structure' that it would identify and appoint. Sophia thought that this was an illegitimate request that was made against the approved new gTLD program guidelines for which reason she was compelled to raise the issue with ICANN leaders and executives. Sophia thought that the AU request would make the .africa name string unavailable so that no one would be able to apply for it, and would have also given the impression that ICANN was giving preferential treatment to the AU within a global multi-stakeholder community.

Campaign against Special Interests groups who want .africa for themselves
Sophia said that she was not against the AU as such, but was fighting special interests who she thinks were actually manipulating the AU to act illegally outside the ICANN program simply for the benefit of these special interest groups who want to takeover .africa for themselves. She also cited how a 'shadowy group' suddenly emerged from nowhere and tried to use .africa to foster an illegal Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) scam out of South Africa, which she was also forced to campaign against. Sophia sees the defeat of that potential BEE scam and the illegitimate partnership underlying it as one important success that DCA Trust achieved.

ICANN and not the AU should decide who operates the .africa registry
On one hand, she has to fight against the notion that the new .africa gTLD should be delegated by the AU outside the global ICANN process, and that anyone appointed by the AU as registry operator should automatically manage .africa as a fait accompli. Sophia insists that only ICANN should decide on who should operate the .africa registry following the evaluation of the applications submitted by applicants based on published criteria. She believes that the process should be governed by merit and the final decision should rest with ICANN.

AFTLD and/or ccTLDs should not have mandate over .africa
Another challenge that she has encountered is the notion that the African Top-Level Domains (AfTLD) organization which supposedly represents African country-code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs) should be given the mandate over .africa. Sophia thinks that the individual African countries already have their two-code country Top-Level domains, and that ccTLDs should not manage new gTLDs. She has however, proposed to undertake cross-marketing efforts with these ccTLDs and also channel some of the surplus proceeds from the new .africa towards capacity building of African ccTLDs.

Funding Challenges, in particular over a controversial project.
Another major challenge that she cited is funding the entire investment. The application fee alone for the .africa new gTLD that her organization paid to ICANN is USD 185,000.00 plus another USD 300,000.00 that was used to provide a guarantee for the Registry Continuity Operations Instrument to protect users and registrants against registry failure. She has also expended an equal amount in promoting the .africa new gTLD in addition to monies that would be used to establish the registry technical infrastructure. All these are forward expenses that have to be paid even before the new gTLD is delegated by ICANN. She has made all these investments in order to satisfy her initial commitment to the ITU and ICANN and other international bodies that she will invest more than 1million dollars for the establishment of this initiative and ensure its success. 
Cope with Oppositions & Objections to DCA application.
In spite of these challenges, she also has to cope with opposition and objections to her application, and cited that in recent months, she has been engaged in fighting off different objection threats, either from the Independent Objector or Governmental Advisory committee warnings that have been issued against the new gTLD application submitted by her organization.
Ensure accountability, transparency and the rule of law is upheld.
She believes that the greatest challenge for her really is how to ensure that the process has the necessary transparency and accountability mechanisms, and has even appealed to the United States Congress in Washington D.C. to appoint a congressional Ombudsman that will look into any irregularities and any allegations of illegality regarding the implementation of the new gTLD programme.

The full article is available to read  
DCA Press Release:

Make your comments or hear what others have to say:  click here... 

Forward to a Friend


Related Recent Commentary & Press Brief by DCA 


  - Rejoinder Part II & Official Response to Kevin Murphy -DOMAININCITE

  - Rejoinder Part I & Official - Response to Kevin Murphy -DOMAININCITE  

  - DCA PR -Sabotage to Our Wikipedia Sites

  - DCA Official Public Commentary to UNIFORUM's Application to ICANN

  - Rejoinder: "Bizarre twist in .africa tale" TechCentral South Africa�   

  - Alice Munyua:� STOP Misrepresenting and Distorting Facts to the African publics 

  - DCA's Commentary on ITWebAfrica Story- The 185,000 Misunderstanding on .africa


Related Articles on UNIFORUM,  founders of ARC and AU EOI/RFP Process:


   -Exclusive Commentary from DCA: AFTLD seeks mandate to manage .africa 

   -Rejoinder: Official Response: Kevin Murphy- DOMIANINCITE -Only ICANN should decide on .Africa

   -DCA Exclusive Commentary: A Moral Victory: "The Structure" - The Internet Kill Switch for Africa

   -DCA Press Briefing :African Union & UNIFORUM SA should beware of Wrong Doing

   -DCA: Yes2dotAfrica Campaign say "NO" to African Union RFP  (11/23/2011)

   -Say "NO" to the Masquerade 'African Agenda' for Dakar and the Illegal Cabal Supporting It!

   -Say NO to DotAfrica CABAL (Whither DotAfrica amidst Confusion, Promiscuity and...)

   -Say NO to African Registry Consortium  (ARC)

   -Beware: DotAfrica has been hi-jacked by new gTLD cuckoos  

-DCA REJOINDER:African Union requests proposals domain registry

   -Yes2DotAfrica Campaign say "NO" to African Union "EOI" 

   -DCA Alarmed over AU Unofficial mandate over dotafrica registry 

   -DCA REJOINDER: African Union and the .Africa debate 


Related Articles on .africa (DotAfrica) issues:


   -Say "NO" to the Masquerade 'African Agenda' for Dakar and the Illegal Cabal Supporting It!

   -You Asked, We Clarified: The Justification for our NO Campaign

   -Say NO to DotAfrica CABAL (Whither DotAfrica amidst Confusion, Promiscuity and...)

   -Say NO to African Registry Consortium  (ARC)

   -Our Score Card- Regarding our NO Campaign

-Beware: DotAfrica has been hi-jacked by new gTLD cuckoos  

-DCA REJOINDER: Misleading and Unfair reportage on dotafrica - The Daily Champion Newspaper 

-The Daily Champion: AFTLD, DCA battle for the Soul of DotAfrica

   -The Daily Champion: Ministers seek framework for DotAfrica Project 

   -DCA REJOINDER:African Union requests proposals domain registry
   -ComputerWorld Kenya: African Union requests proposals for .africa domain registry

   -DCA Response to AU TaskForce/Infrastructure & Energy "Briefing Note on .africa"  

   -Yes2DotAfrica Campaign say "NO" to African Union "EOI" 

   -African Union Yanks .Africa Bid Support - Seeks Registries 

   -DCA Commentary: Response to the African Union Commission Communiqu�  

   -Say "NO" on Nii Quaynor, Vice Chair of African Union ".africa" Task Force

   -"Corruption" claims as .africa fight heats up.

   -DCA Alarmed over AU Unofficial mandate over dotafrica registry 

   -DCA to Challenge AFTLD on DotAfrica Domain 

   -DCA REJOINDER: AfTLD seeks mandate to manage .africa   

-ComputerWorld Kenya: AfTLD seeks mandate to manage .africa 

-Yes2dotAfrica Campaign Successful at ICANN 40, SanFrancisco, CA 

-Vote 'NO" on AfTLD to manage the .africa TLD 

-Competition for .africa heats up 

-DotAfrica project alleges Sabotage from AU 

-DCA REJOINDER: African Union and the .Africa debate 

-ComputerWorld Kenya: African Union Joins the .Africa debate 

-Vote "NO" to Candidate Pierre Dandjinou for ICANN Board  

-Yes2dotAfrica campaign announced in Kenya 

 Before Africa does


let it do


Excerpt from Key Note Address: DCA Executive Director at AITEC ICT Summit

French Press 

Join Our
yes2dotafrica logo

Taking Africa to the Promised  land! Country at a time!!


  Join our PanAfrican Social Media followings:

   Find us on Facebook DotAfricaDotAfriqueDotAfriqya

Follow us on TwitterDotAfrica; DotAfriqueDotAfriqya
View our videos on YouTube DotAfrica Videos 

 Sign the petition for "Yes2dotAfrica"  here 




Our  Fulfilled Promise 


Our increasing successes and accomplishment so far!!


DotConnectAfrica  ...Connecting the dots in Africa  ...Bridging the Digital Divide


Our Campaign Archives
Our Press Room

[email protected]

. BizCommunity covers DCA's "yes2dotafrica" campaign: "Dot Africa campaign to brand continent" more...

. Radio Netherlands Worldwide:
A Dotafrica Generation soon to be born: more... 


. Sophia Bekele DCA founder and former ICANN gNSO policy advisor was noted by The Economist, Sept 15, 2010, as "leading the dotafrica initiative":  Can "Africa" get a make-over? more...


. Brains behind .africa, Diplomat East Africa more...  


. DCA is endorsed by African Union (AU), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and the Internationalized Domain Resolution Union (IDRU)   

DCA in the News more.

About DotConnectAfrica:

DCA is a not-for-profit, non-partisan org incorporated in Mauritius Africa & will sponsor, establish & operate a TLD registry with global recognition & regional significance dedicated to the needs of Pan-African &African community. DCA Reg.ID.CT8710DCA90
Press Contact: Thomas Kamanzi, Newsletter Editor [email protected] DotConnectAfrica,