Sophia Bekele Speaks on Technology for Economic Development in Africa at the Yale University

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Sophia BekeleAn Ethiopian authority of global technology and business
Sophia Bekele: An Ethiopian authority of global technology and business

The Yale Undergraduate Association for African Peace and Development held a youth conference on the theme: Re-imagining Africa: a closer look at Autonomy, Identity and Perspective.

The Yale Undergraduate Association for African Peace and Development held the second annual Sankofa54: African Youth Empowerment Conference on April 12th – 14th, 2013.The student youth conference was held on the theme: Re-imagining Africa: a closer look at Autonomy, Identity and Perspective.

The conference included five discussion panels concerning economic development, global health, and peace and conflict resolution, as well as a series of breakout sessions focusing on education, the status of women, and art and activism in Africa.

Other notable speakers at the event were Mr. Teju Cole, an author, art historian, street photographer as well as a distinguished writer in Residence at Bard College; Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, a Senegalese diplomat who served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2000 to 2009.  Ms. Bekele the Executive Director/CEO of DotConnectAfrica Trust was also a distinguished panelist.  “She is an Ethiopian authority of global technology and business. With her extensive academic and work experience in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley, with Blue Chip organizations as well as an entrepreneur, Sophia has made significant inroads in the technology and business sectors”, said her summary at Yale.

The conference was organized by the Yale Undergraduate Association for African Peace and Development (YAAPD) an association of students who aim at promoting peace, conflict resolution and development in Africa across all fields and especially aims at encouraging Africans to steer these efforts.

Ms Bekele in her presentation discussed her involvement in the Internet development platform including involvement in the ICANN global community which is performed under a multi-stakeholder environment, which enables different stakeholders that are interested in, and concerned with, global Internet governance to have a voice in the present and future development of the Internet.

She discussed economic development via technology, benefits of DNS expansion in Africa, and on the issues of good governance and business ethics.

Bekele weighed in heavily that the “diaspora need to participate in  the continent’s development to change it, change can only come from participation”.  An issue that encouraged the students to think more about using their experiences to tailor make suitable solutions for Africa

She highlighted the various development projects in Africa that have made it an attractive continent to investors as well as the increasing reliance on Internet technology as well as the use of mobile technology to run day-to-day activities. She noted that such technology such as mobile was not only good for creating job opportunities and a platform for revenue generation, but would also help in spawning innovations such as world renowned mobile money transfer platform M-PESA, that was started in Kenya.

Ms. Bekele lauded the organizers and thanked them for their “student leadership and engaging themselves with contemporary issues that are of practical concern to African Development”.

She also used the opportunity to enumerate the advantages of a “.africa” identity for the Continent, noting support for it from the Diaspora Africans.“Our application for .Africa is positioned to serve diverse needs and interests, would be an open, global TLD, providing opportunities for anyone residing in Africa, and outside Africa, to register domain names in the .Africa name”

The SANKOFA54 Conference gave an opportunity to motivate students to start early in designing specific solutions that would influence African development in the right way.

DotConnectAfrica Trust through its “generation.africa” and “miss.africa” has pledged to plough back resources from the .Africa registry operation to improve lives of youth in Africa.

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