There is no doubt the internet is in wide use across Africa, but the African internet is still a far cry from what is available in other countries. It has become vitally important to have connectivity, and that is exactly the reason why the #FASTAfrica campaign was created by Web We Want.
The campaign is on a mission to demand internet that is faster, more accessible, and affordable for all Africans before the year 2020.
The campaign stresses that African lives and futures depend on it, and to highlight this a number of events will be held during the first week of May across more than 30 African countries. The results of these events will then be presented at the World Economic Forum on Africa and African Union meetings that are taking place later this year.
“Africa is home to four of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world, and is the fastest growing market for mobile phones. However, the continent suffers from the slowest and most expensive Internet in the world,” the campaign’s website explains. It also said that around 80% of Africans remain offline.
According to a media release, the campaign is being coordinated by the World Wide Web Foundation, which was established by web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Twenty-nine small grants were made to local organisations hosting events during the action week.
These grants will allow youth groups, technology activists, developers and policy experts to host campaign activities in Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda and Senegal.
“If you look at all the countries that enjoy relatively good Internet connections in the developing world, they all share one trait: a deliberate government policy to intervene in connecting the country,” says Moses Karanja, co-founder of a brand new online African ICT Policy Database based in Kenya that is participating in #FASTAfrica.
The campaign hopes to get the attention of African governments so that ICT policies can be prioritised, as set out by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and ultimately to achieve universal and affordable Internet in all least-developed countries by 2020.
“For the Internet to have a truly transformative effect in Africa, everyone needs to be able to get online — either by being able to afford regular access, or through a widespread public access programme,” concluded Renata Avila, Global Campaign Manager at the Web Foundation.[Image – CC by 2.0/Penny Bentley]