Advances in technology has improved internet and digital innovations in Africa resulting in new accessibility innovations and solutions by African start-ups and tech giants. On the 9th of October, 2020, nonprofit inABLE.org will present the inaugural digital Accessibility Innovation Awards to recognize the best inclusive African innovations, at the closing ceremony of the Virtual Inclusive Africa Conference 2020, taking place on 8th and 9th October, from 9 – 11:30 am EAT.
“inABLE has created the Digital Accessibility Innovation Award to celebrate the significance of accessible innovation solutions that improve the lives of everyone“, explains the inABLE Executive Director Irene Mbari-Kirika. “This new awards program shines the light on the potential for accessible technologies that help everyone without excluding people with disabilities.”
Even as Africa experiences a digital revolution with a growth of over 400 tech hubs in cities, including Nairobi, Lagos and Cape Town. it is important—now more than ever— for Africa to digitally include the over 80 million Africans with some form of disability. GSMA predicts that the global rate of mobile Internet will be 61% of the population in 2025, versus the 43% that it was in 2017. This means a jump from 3.3 billion users in 2017, to 5.5 billion in 2025. We need to view digital inclusion as a vital human right.
Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, people with disabilities have been disproportionally digital disconnected, at a time when there was a necessitated elevation in reliance on digital infrastructure and connectivity. For example, according to World Economic Forum, there has been a 70% growth of global internet usage, a doubling of mobile application use, and triple for voice calls.
“This escalated pandemic-driven digital migration provides new opportunities to bridge the long existing gaps in technology that have for a long-time excluded people with disabilities,” encourages Mbari-Kirika.