Sophia Bekele, Executive Director of DotConnectAfrica Trust (DCA Trust), has been named as one of the ’50 African Trailblazers under 50 ‘, by the UK-based “New African” magazine, a member of the IC Publications group.
The special “Collector’s Edition” of New African magazine, published in May 2013, was put together by the editors of the magazine to coincide with the continent’s 50th anniversary celebrations since the founding of the Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) now the African Union (AU).
The AU – the inter-governmental organization that draws its membership from the African countries – held its 50th anniversary celebrations in Addis Ababa, during the Heads of State Summit.
The NewAfrican citation for Sophia Bekele reads: “A business and corporate executive, an entrepreneur, ICT activist, and international policy adviser on ICT to public and private enterprise, Sophia Bekele is at the forefront of using technology for good change in Africa. She is the founder and CEO of CBS International. She is also the executive director of DotConnectAfrica Trust and DotConnectAfrica Registry Services Limited, which is well-known for its successful six-year Yes2dotAfrica global awareness campaign for the Africa Top Level Domain Name, an initiative for which Bekele has positioned herself as a champion.”
Sophia Bekele said she felt greatly humbled by the acknowledgement of her contributions by New African magazine especially within the context of the hope and achievement that is expected from an emerging class of the new Africans that are taking charge of Africa’s future.
When asked to comment on her journey so far as a recognized African Trailblazer, Sophia Bekele said: “During my first stint on the ICANN gNSO Council I saw that the .Africa project was not implemented, and questioned why Africa was not allowed to have its own domain name. I asked a few people that I met at ICANN, and discovered that there was no reason to justify the non-implementation of .Africa against the backdrop that Europe already had the .eu domain name, and Asia had .asia. I thought Africa should also have its own .Africa domain name. My vision was simple: initiate the project, build a viable governance structure for it; involve key stake-holders to support it, then promote the domain name globally in order to create awareness and support. I decided to follow this plan of action, and started approaching organizations such as the AUC and the UNECA, the Corporate Council for Africa (CCA), various diplomatic organizations and embassies, and different African country governments. We received key endorsements from these, and many African governments were also starting to endorse us.”
In continuing, Sophia said: “As our Yes2DotAfrica Campaign picked up steam, we created the DCA Trust and defined the charitable objects for it, which is to “(a) for the advancement of education in information technology to the African society; and (b) in connection with (a) to provide the African society with a continental Internet domain name to have access to Internet services for the people of Africa as a purpose beneficial to the public in general.”
The NewAfrican’s “50 African Trailblazers under 50” list also includes US President Barrack Obama who is of Kenyan descent. ICT luminaries in the list are iHub’s Juliana Rotich, iROKO TV’s Jason Chukwuma Njoku and Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) Africa Alex Okosi among others.
The “50 Trailblazers Under 50” includes people “who are realizing significant achievements in their specific field of endeavour” and features individuals who are “breaking ground, making Africa proud and propelling it into a future of great hope.”