Season’s Greetings! A Year in Review, 2016 – DotConnectAfrica!

End of Year Message from the Founder/CEO

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As Founder and CEO of DotConnectAfrica Group, it gives me great joy and honor to send this end of year message to the entire Pan-African constituency and international community of supporters and well-wishers all over the globe.

Every year I take time to review and go over all that transpired throughout the year and share with you, as you have been an integral part of our journey. 2016 has been an involving and satisfactory year, despite the challenges of  some of what we have had to go through.  We are thankful for every part of the process and experience.  I am glad to share with you some of what DCA Group has done and achieved.

DCA Walking the Talk and Impacting Lives

In fulfillment of our declaration of 2016  as #YearOfTheWomen,  DCA indeed offered and created more avenues to promote the woman entrepreneur, the CEO, the President, the Head girl and the 6 year old who did not want to get married as she “wants to do her own thing”.  Thus these girls and women seem to have found more rewarding times within their daily lives as well as making important life choices. 

Our flagship Trust program  Miss.Africa launched a Pan-African seed fund through our DCA academy programme – an initiative that  supports women and girls in STEM.   Through this effort, we identify how we might support the impact and scalabi lity of their initiatives.    Most of our activities this year therefore were focused in the fulfillment of the program, related to girls and women in technology.

As it is well known in Africa, DCA Trust is an early champion of “girls and women in tech” among many other innovative causes we have championed in Afric a.    We started off with tech training program for girls internally at DCA, followed by the fulfillment of the most popular yearly “Miss.Africa” seed fund”.  The initial fund was able to award multi-country initiatives including Kenya, Madagascar and Cameroon.   

This year in October I was very proud to attend a graduation ceremony of Twenty Five (25) women selected from over three hundred applicants who benefited directly from receiving the Miss.Africa training.   The girls were trained on mobile app development over a 3 month program by a partner organization.   I also presented the prestigious Miss.Africa Trophy award to the founder of the Kenya based organization in recognition of the efforts and collaborations in making the Miss.Africa program a success.

DCA also utilized our #2016YearofTheWomen,#STEM4girls, #girls4tech and #womenintech hashtag themes to campaign for women all over the world by highlighting their work, recognizing the efforts, participating in their causes, and various women-centric topics and forums around the world.

In 2017, we look forward to seeing more African women and girls benefit throughout Africa, with Miss.Africa program.  “When you empower a woman you empower a community”.

In line with our mission of educating and advancement of Internet in Africa, other ongoing efforts of DCA include Digital and Social media dissemination, mobile platform development and training.  We also have pipeline service oriented projects that we have been working on to hopefully launch in 2017.

Status of The .Africa gTLD Court Case

The unfortunate legal challenge we are undergoing with ICANN has been a burden to DCA’s ongoing positive effort to expand and implement our mission to the people of Africa.   Despite being assisted with Top Tier legal firms at all times, it takes much of our executive and research time over a battle that has lasted over 5 years.
  • In January 2016, DCA Trust  went to court over ICANN’s processing of the Independent Review Panel (IRP) ruling. This found ICANN indeed violated is Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation and that the Board’s actions/inactions on our.Africa gTLD application were not accountable 
  • In March 05, 2016, a United States District Court, Central District of California – Western Division gave a ruling granting an Interim Relief [PDF Case No: CV 16-00862 RGK (JCx)] for DCA Trust by issuing a decision that ICANN should hold off from delegating the .AFRICA top-level domain (TLD) for ZA Central Registry (ZACR). The court found “serious questions” going toward DCA’s likelihood of success on the merits and a balance of hardships that tips sharply in DCA’s favour…..[Cont’d]…. As such, the Court GRANTED a preliminary injunction barring ICANN from delegating the rights to .Africa until this case is resolved. 
  • Recently on December 14 2016, the Ninth Circuit court of appeals also granted the unopposing motions on dismissal of appeals [PDF D.C. No.2:16-cv-00862-RGK-JC] on  the district court’s lack of jurisdiction and denied ICANN’s request to include language that DCA’s preliminary injunction order is void and the appeal is moot.

We await the court process that will hopefully concluded soon.

African Governments Continued misunderstanding over .Africa

I wrote various public commentaries and sparked a debate about the ICANN transition having an impact on the US elections.  I wrote to The Hill a message I titled ICANN is already under the influence of Foreign Governments“.   This drew an example of how ICANN allowed the African Union Commission (AUC), an Intergovernmental body to heavily interfere in the .Africa application so as to delegate it to itself.  This eventually led me to take ICANN to Court.   However. I did not expect that there would be another body that would try to change the rules.   In support of the AUC, the African Telecom Union (ATU) recently came up with a widely opposed proposal from an African Group’s Common Proposal (AFCP) for the modification and expansion of Resolution 47 to include generic top level domain and specifically cited .Africa.  To make my views heard, I wrote in a public rejoinder to the proposal on an Industry blog CircleID: “Why African Telecom Union (ATU) Proposal Should be Rejected“.  I stated categorically that the ATU’s sponsored Tunis “Africa Proposal” is the same as Uncle AUC’s Dakar “Africa Agenda”, proposed to circumvent global ICANN policy, and should be rejected!

In response to the above, the ICANN CEO also wrote to  Mr. Houlin Zhao, the Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) stating ICANN concerns on the  above proposal and that its initiations might have been triggered by some misunderstandings of some African countries on a specific Top-Level Domain application.  This validates my long standing view that the African governments have always been misled by the vested interest groups on the characterization of .Africa gTLD.

Finally, while we enjoy the festivities of this holiday season with  friends and family, I  want to give thanks to all our supporters,  followers and those who believed in us as well as those who have been with us through some of our challenging journey of accomplishing our mission for the people of Africa.

On behalf of DCA Group and myself,  I wish you a joyous, tranquil and fulfilling Holiday Season  for Africa and the world!.
 
See you all in 2017!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays & Happy New Year

Sophia Bekele
Founder

DotConnectAfrica

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