May 4, 2016Michael Sutherland-Shaw
For most people, access to the Internet is a human right.
For others, it’s a dream. In Africa, only 21% of the population has access to the Internet, according to the World Economic Forum.
However, a group of millennials are looking to change this.
On April 6, members from more than 90 hubs of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers community joined forces to start a conversation about Africa’s digital future.
That conversation quickly transformed into a online grassroots campaign, #internet4all, which has garnered support from across the globe ahead of the World Economic Forum on Africa in Kigali, Rwanda later this month. The theme of the meeting is “Connecting Africa’s Resources through Digital Transformation”.
“Our focus in Kigali will be to bring together both the knowledge and the leaders whose support is necessary to make this (greater Internet adoption) happen. The involvement of the Shapers and young people in general is absolutely essential to this process,” said Alex Wong, Head, Global Challenge Partnerships, Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum.
The campaign has also enlisted the help of a number of high-profile people including, Rwanda-born businessman Ashish Thakkar and Tanzania’s Deputy Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children. The campaign has currently generated more than 40 million online impressions.
“#internet4all isn’t just a call to action for African leaders in the public and private sector; it is in itself living proof on how broadening access to the Internet can drive collaboration on a massive scale, and empower Africans to leverage the Internet to do more with less,” said Lauren Uppink, Execution Strategist and Specialist, Inclusive Policy, Africa Health Placements, South Africa, a member of the Global Shapers Cape Town hub.
In addition to what happens at the World Economic Forum on Africa, the #internet4all campaign plans to launch a website, petition as well as host a number of events to highlight the benefits of what greater Internet access can mean for the health, education and growth of a nation.