Category Archives: African Media

Bisila Bokoko and MacDella Cooper to Deliver Keynote Addresses at the 5th Annual Young African Leadership Symposium in NYC

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Bisila Bokoko

The Council Of Young African Leaders will host the 5th annual CUNY Young African Leadership Symposium (YALS) at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, New York. This year’s theme Transforming Africa Through Partnerships will focus on the importance of public and private partnerships, within the African community and abroad. The Young African Leadership Symposium gathers students, leading businesses, professionals, influencers and entrepreneurs to discuss many topics affecting Africa and its various countries. This year’s program will feature keynote addresses by Ms. MacDella Cooper, CEO of MacDella Cooper Foundation and Ms. Bisila Bokoko, Businesswoman, Entrepreneur, Speaker, and Philanthropist among other high profile speakers and panelists.

MacDella_Cooper

MacDella Cooper

 According to the African Development Bank, Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) have emerged over the last decade as one of the best ways to foster development. Similar to a Town hall Debate, the symposium is designed to be engaging, encouraging speakers, panelists, and the audience to discuss the most pressing African issues and how they can be solved through partnerships. Discussion will feature:

  • African Diaspora’s Assimilation vs Acculturation 
  • Social Enterprise; Funding an African-Driven Development
  • Ebola Lesson Learned from a Deadly Epidemic
  • ICT and African Development 
  • How to successfully implement PPPs in Africa and the Role of the Youth and Women

“This symposium is a unique opportunity for African students and young professionals to get involved in the pressing African issues,” says Loukman Lamany, Director of Programs and YALS Chairman. “In order to accelerate Africa’s development, collaboration between all the stakeholders, the public and private sectors, Africans on the continent and in the diaspora are needed for a greater collective impact.” Due to the steady rise of youth participation in both the private and public sectors, Africa’s youth are proving to be crucial players in social, political, and economic changes on the continent.

The CYAL is proud to partner with the CUNY University Student Senate on this symposium to provide a platform for African youth to lead the way in formulating Africa’s solutions.

Registration and program Open: http://www.yals.info

#YOUTHLEADAFRICA

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E-ROCK: Ghana’s Rising Star

E-Rock -2Hailing from Accra, Ghana, Enoch Ofori Boamah, artistically known as ‘E-Rock’ is an emerging contemporary-gospel artiste. Gaining a strong underground following with his single “Church Dey Sweet,” E-Rock was nominated for Christian Community Music Awards. In 2014, he won a Future Africa Leaders Award which is an initiative aimed at exploring and expanding the leadership potential in Africa and for Africa.

With a debut solo album under his belt E-Rock seeks to push the boundaries and break stereotypes within the Ghanaian gospel music industry and beyond. He has already received support from credible Ghanaian media like Sunny FM, Sweet Melodies FM, Live FM, YFM, GH One TV, amongst others.

Alongside his artistic work, E-Rock is an active choir leader who doubles as a youth leader at Christ Embassy Church in Accra, Ghana. He pursued Mass Communication at Ghana Institute of Journalism and looks forward to studying law also. The young and dynamic singer has purposed in his heart to explore his passion for music by expressing forth his love for God.

E-Rock desires to push boundaries and break the monotony and stereotypes within gospel music. The lyricist has a global mindset as he believes he has a message that must be heard, thus a message of faith, hope, love and positivity in the word of God. The budding star has captivating vocal ability which ignites joy and admiration in the hearts of many.

“Music was always a childhood passion. I loved the guitar, the microphone, the keyboard, music intrigued me. I will say I was born with musical ears and a voice that could sing so I’ve been writing music since I was 8 years old. The Holy Spirit inspires my music and everyday life but you will find one word in almost all my songs – Love. I love Jesus with all my heart. He is amazing. I speak of his love as I have experienced it.”

“I met Jesus at 17 and he gave me a fresh musical focus. Glorifying him with my talent.  That’s how I got into music. I have one album so far. An album of 11 anointed songs titled “The Necessity Project”. And I am currently working on my next album “Love Songs Project”

E-Rock is passionate about impacting his world. He has organized several success motivation and Leadership training programs with over 6,000 youths in attendance.
E-Rock 4E-Rock - 3

Follow him on Twitter: @Erock_official

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Have We Won the Battle Against Ebola?

In my morning routine, I browsed the news in efforts to update myself on what is going on in Africa. One of the most important updates I always look for is the current state of the Ebola Crisis.  Thats where I saw that we have hit a 20K mark in Ebola cases. Frustratingly so, it seems that the zeal we saw in the African Diaspora’s response to the crisis has died with the lack of media interest in what is going on with this crisis.  It was tempting to just revert to my previous article on this issue. 

I am unapologetically a critique, but an eternal optimist at heart- a rather interesting combination.  Therefore I am taking step towards my optimistic side with hopes that I can offer insights as to what the African Diaspora should be doing right now in regards to the Ebola Crisis.

It has been clear that while #AfricaAgainstEbola is a great initiative we must engage multilateral action- with Africans taking lead. This is a point that we aught to pose and reflect on. How does Africa take lead? To be fair, Africans on the ground are taking lead, but the African Diaspora is still lagging behind.

The Ebola Crisis in West Africa

The Ebola Crisis in West Africa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally posted in ElleAfrique, here are 4 things that the African Diaspora should be doing to combat the Ebola crisis.

1 ADVOCATE:

Partnership with US agencies engaged in the response and the African Union is critical. 

USA: The US has made a significant investment- I believe it is up to $175 million to stop Ebola along with committing logistical support to build health capacity. We should consider leading initiatives that would partner with U.S. agencies engaged in the response, including the State Department and the USAID, CDC, FDA etc.  In their recent report, USAID is looking for Diaspora groups that they can work with.  While we are an extension of Africa, we have a responsibility to make sure that these agencies work in Africa is representative of the needs in the continent.  The critical point in this partnership is that Africans on the ground, and in the Diaspora be at the forefront of the actions being taken.  

Furthermore, take advantage of the ability to lobby your senators and congressmen and ask them to pass relevant legislation whether it in increasing funding, providing immigration relief for citizens from the countries affected, or making sure that the commitments made are honored. Examples of groups leading legislative efforts are Believe in Africa and US-Africa Ebola Working Group

AFRICA: Importantly, a partnership with the African Union is critical as well. the African Union has committed technical resources to affected countries  and an initiative to support the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA). In the first week of December 2014,  an Private-Public partnership was launched with several businesses/corporations joining the fight against Ebola. Whether you believe that the African union is effective or not, they still play a role in linking the diaspora to efforts taking place in Africa. ASEOWA is going to be a great way for the Diaspora to join in the efforts, with Africans at the forefront of the fight. 

2 Be Organized

African Diaspora communities and professional organizations should organize better and mobilize more effectively to supplement ongoing efforts.  If you believe everything the media says, you would have thought that  Africans were unresponsive to the ebola crisis.  However, if we all did our research, we would have found that the greatest need was not that Africa needed to respond, but that Africans needed to be organized.  Because Africans were responding- just not in the Diaspora.

If the diaspora is to be effective, we need to take the time to come up with proper strategies that will galvanize our communities into action. While the crisis is time bound, planning events for the sake of planning events, starting campaigns for the sake of having Africans respond will yield little results. Meanwhile, we will keep complaining about the efforts of the others, while watching ourselves scatter in different directions, aiming for the same goal. We need to critique our efforts- and challenge ourselves to do better. We should not accept poor organization, and pass it off as African, or keep patting each other’s back  because they are “atleast doing something”.  Lets keep ourselves accountable.  Ebola is no longer a West African crisis- it is an African crisis.

We are stronger in numbers. We are stronger united. However, all our efforts thus far have been anything but united. Some of the places to start might be joining  the African Diaspora Response taskforce whose mission is to gather the efforts of the Diaspora on one platform- making it easier for people to identify with different initiatives and see how they can lend their skills, time, or money to initiatives taking place in areas affected by Ebola.

3 Stay Ahead of the Curve

Much of what is being discussed right now deals with stopping Ebola. The root causes of the epidemic still abide in systems that have largely failed to build proper infrastructure that would have normally equipped health workers and care center with emergency response training and adequate resources. 

 Therefore, while looking at the ways and means of mitigating effects of the virus,  We need to start thinking about emerging situations and come together to project future scenarios- then come up with effective ways to handle these scenarios and provide training.

So far, we have seen that the crisis has bred other problems, or possibly magnified other problems in the communities that are affected.  We are possibly witnessing a shift in demographics if the death rates increase. Hospitals are overrun while local health workers remain under resourced. This is not to mention that there is an increased neglect of other health needs.

So how do we rebuild the cities and the villages after Ebola? We need to ask ourselves: Long After Ebola is gone, and our news are back to the “Africa Needs A Savior” Archetypes,  what will the African Diaspora do to assure that we do not have a repeat of this Crisis?  What happens after the cameras stop rolling?

4 Lead New Efforts in PPP ( Public-private Partnerships)

This partnership should be with the intent of building better health systems in the continent. African Diaspora communities can organize for bilateral agencies, NGOs, private sector, Academia, and civil society in partnership with governments to build infrastructures that can absolve crises such as this in the future. It is undeniable that we need fresh and innovating thinking anchored on easy access to amenities such as affordable health care, sanitation, water and continued medical research. This is still an area that needs more research and more thought, but if we can organize ourselves, and start working on this right now- we will be able to stay ahead of the curve.

Africans in the Diaspora have a critical role in coordinating a comprehensive response to the Ebola outbreak and mitigating health crisis in the future. More importantly, the Diaspora is well situated to foster an international public-private partnership that would enable the building of infrastructures such as health care systems in Africa, which would enable our the governments to better and efficiently handle such crises were they to rise again.

However, this means that the Diaspora needs to move beyond small-scale efforts and organize themselves better.  We need to think beyond- “Doing something”- to- ” Acting Effectively and Strategically”. This means a greater partnership with already existing structures and platforms dedicated to eradicating the disease and building sustainable health systems throughout Africa.

Africans on the ground are resilient in their work to fight their disease. They are doing everything in their power and mobilizing communities, gathering resources to combat this crisis. The Diaspora, with all their resources should do better.

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Internet Domain Name .Africa faces hurdles

* This interview is part of an article that was written by Gareth Van Zyl of Fin24.com, SouthAfrica.  Article can be found on the link.
However, DCA made public the  full interview and the thoughts of Ms. Sophia Bekele- CEO of DotConnectAfrica (DCA) Trust and DCA Registry.
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Image curtesy of opennet Africa

In addition to explaining the current status of the IRP Process with ICANN, the CEO of DCA Registry also used the opportunity to expound on the implications of the DCA vs. ICANN IRP as a proper test of the accountability mechanisms of global Internet Governance processes as represented by ICANN; and also stressed that the delays over .Africa are amply justified since Africa’s Internet scene would be hurt more by a miscarriage of justice when there is no room for proper accountability. Ms. Bekele also argued whilst responding to the Q&A that the need to satisfy accountability for the public good and global public interest seriously outweigh the need to roll out .Africa domain names faster. The full Q&A can be found below.
Fin24Tech: Q1. What is happening to DCA’s appeal against ZACR being awarded .africa? Can you give me a status update on this?

SB: First, we would like to clarify that our appeal is not against ZACR being awarded .africa.  Our principal case is with ICANN – hence we took them to the Independent Review Panel (IRP). Of course, we also strongly believe that ZACR should not benefit from a situation whereby ICANN has committed certain actions that are injurious to DCA Trust including a possible wrongful award of the .Africa domain name to ZACR as the registry operator.

Now, coming back to your question, the IRP is still in progress.  Certain interim decisions, especially with respect to procedure(s) have been taken. The IRP Panel recently ruled to accept DCA’s position on procedural framework,  including a binding order and document production as well as power to interpret and determine the IRP Procedure as it relates to the future conduct of these proceedings.

Earlier this year prior to this, the Panel granted an injunction order that temporarily prevents ICANN from further processing of ZA Central Registry’s (ZACR) application and moving ahead with the delegation of the .Africa domain name to ZACR.  This was meant to allow the Panel time to consider arguments from DotConnectAfrica Trust (DCA Trust) and ICANN on DCA Trust’s claims regarding the .AFRICA TLD.  So we continue to engage to see how the process will develop.

Fin24Tech: Q2. Has DCA had to draw on any funding in this battle for .africa?

SB: As you may very well know, any legal proceeding of this nature is financially involving, but thanks to God, DCA Trust has managed to cope so far, and we can only hope that justice prevails.  Really, for DCA Trust it is not about what we have spent all along.  We are more concerned about the integrity of our cause, which we believe to be just.

Fin24Tech: Q3. What is your view on how ICANN has handled this whole process?

SB: Since we are already in the middle of an IRP process with ICANN, we do not like to comment on how ICANN has handled this process. Our views on the matter are already part of the public record and this is well known by all those who have been following the process from the beginning.

After the Beijing Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) Objection Advice in April 2013, DCA Trust prepared and submitted a response to ICANN. When the ICANN Board NGPC (New gTLD Program Committee) accepted the GAC Objection Advice against DCA’s application, we disagreed and asked them to reconsider. When the ICANN Board Governance Committee (BGC) denied our reconsideration request, we followed the route of demanding accountability for the ICANN Board NGPC actions, and this is what then led us; first, to the Cooperative Engagement Process (CEP) with ICANN, which was followed by taking our case to the Independent Review Panel (IRP) at the International Center for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) of the American Arbitration Association (AAA). Throughout this protracted and complex process, prior to the IRP, we were not happy with ICANN, because we have always believed that they did not listen to our complaints at the initial stage. ICANN had an opportunity to resolve this problem amicably during the CEP stage but this did not happen.

Now that we are at the IRP stage, there is no further need for us to say anything about how ICANN has handled the process. That is now the responsibility of the IRP Panel to decide – whether with respect to ICANN Board NGPC decisions regarding DCA Trusts’ application for the .Africa new gTLD – whether the ICANN Board actions violated the ICANN Bylaws and new gTLD Guidebook or not.

Fin24Tech: Q4. Do you think this fight for .africa and the delays around it is hurting Africa’s internet scene?

SB: I will tell you that .africa was among the most promising domains when I first started to campaign and promote it to ICANN, the African Union Commission and other international publics.  However, we do not think that the fight over .Africa and the associated delays have hurt Africa’s Internet scene. Africans would be hurt more if there was a severe miscarriage of justice without any room for accountability.

“TSBhe delay that .Africa has encountered is an unfortunate situation, but for the interest of truth, justice and transparency, it is better for Africans and other stakeholders to be reassured that the global mechanisms of Internet Governance as represented by ICANN are accountable for the public good and global public interest. We sincerely think that these bigger issues are actually more compelling, and profoundly outweigh any potential “benefits to be derived from rolling out domain names quicker”.  

The controversies regarding mistakes that have been made by other parties regarding the .Africa new gTLD process, have already hurt the prospects of any new gtld application. This therefore underscores why there should be accountability and justice for DCA Trust so that faith can be restored in the entire process, even for the sake of those who might want to bid in new gTLDs in the future.

Fin24Tech: Q5. Would DCA look to win over domain names like .nairobi or .mombasa, similar to how the ZACR has won the right to roll out .joburg and .capetown?

SB: DCA Trust is in the domain name business, and as you may probably know, DCA Registry Services Ltd. is based in Kenya, where some of our esteemed technical partners are also based. We would like to conclude the .Africa new gTLD issue first before unveiling any other strategic plans regarding prospective city domain names that we may wish to apply for in any second new gTLD application round.

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