Over 500 million people have access to the internet in Africa; and although this reflects just under 40% of the population, this level of penetration is 110 times what it was just 20 years ago. Not only has internet access increased dramatically, but so has smartphone usage, with ownership now at 250 million people.
This exponential increase in internet, smartphone and mobile network usage has created extraordinary new opportunities for socio-economic development on the African continent. However, this rapid growth rate has simultaneously created a range of safety concerns, including:
- Identify theft
- Bullying and harassment
- Sex trafficking
- Hate crimes
- Terrorist recruitment and promotion
- Mis or disinformation
- Financial scams
To address these issues, the Africa Online Safety Fund, with financial support from Google.org, and domain expertise from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue has been established to finance innovative existing and new solutions to these challenges. While not exclusively focused, the Fund will be favouring solutions, which address women and children’s online safety specifically, as they are the most targeted communities in this regard.
For more details about the call, click here.