Internet War: Exclusive Interview with DCA’s Boss Sophia Bekele on the East African

The East African Newspaper is a highly influential and respected source of reliable business news that has  over  70k subscribers and over 1m readers in East Africa and online globally.

December 5-11, 2011: By the end of 2012, companies should be able to set up websites with almost any address as long as they can lay a legitimate claim to the domain name….. In Africa, control of the .africa domain name is at the centre of a tussle between the Africa Union Commission and outfits such as the DotConnectAfrica Organisation (DCA). The East African spoke to the DCA boss on who will control  .africa.

Online version of Q&A: Read here…

NewsPaper version of Q&A:  Read here

Q. You have openly  criticized  the AU   leadership on this matter. What is it that you want done?

A. “Giving the AU an upper hand in managing of the domain name raises conflict of interest issues , as some players in this process are planning to pre-qualify organization that will apply for .africa, while they themselves have vested interest in the .africa TLD, because they floated themselves .africa proposals of their own, and have also openly identified with some prospective applicants.

Also, if the AU insists on controlling, owning, and leading the process by using its political influence to gain official control of this new gTLD,  then the AU should be treated just as any other prospective applicant that also needs to abide by the ICANN applicant Guidebook and should not be given preferential  treatment to the detriment of other appicants” Sophia Bekele
Among one of key resolution from latest ICANN meeting in Dakar and likely to shape the adaption of the new regiem is the resolution by the Board on ethics and conflict of interest which will give a statement on how ICANN directors with interest on particular newgTLD initiatives can be restricted from participation in the deliberation and decision making on the new gTLd program.

We want to achieve a Gold Standard in terms of conflicts and ethics practices,”
Mr. Steve Crocker, Chair of the ICANN Board.
Q. What is the tussle over the .Africa domain all about?

A. The controversy emerged from a plan by the Africa Union Commission to make the .africa, .afrique and .afriqia, all similar name strings unavailable by including it in the list of reserved names, so as to frustrate the hopes of genuine applicants like DCA.    The AU had asked Icann to reserve the names.  Such a proposal is a disingenuous attempt to afford special legislative protection to the AU to own these strings through a method of bypassing the formal application process of the Icann new generic top level domains (gTLDs).

Q. What was DCA’s opposition to the “reserved names” issue that was proposed by the African Round-table, at the Public Forum in Dakar?

A: ….Read for full here:

Online version of Q&A:  Read here…
NewsPaper Version Q&A: Read here

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