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Growing the Internet 25 May 2016

Could the Next Google Be Happening Right Now in Africa?

Dawit Bekele
By Dawit BekeleRegional Vice President - Africa

Africa is home to the youngest population in the world with 200 million aged between 15 – 24 years.  No one can debate the tremendous potential young people bring to a country’s economy. But this potential can bear fruit only if real opportunities are opened to them.

The Internet has brought many opportunities to young people around the world. All the applications such as Google, Facebook and Amazon that have changed our lives and created incredible wealth in the last few decades have been created by very young people.

It is true that the African youth have not been amongst those who created those applications. Why? They didn’t have access to the Internet. Today, this is changing. About 1 in 3 Africans have Internet access. And, as this number grows, one of the insurmountable barriers is being removed and opening a new world to the African youth.

Next week, we will be in Gaborone, Botswana for the fourth African Internet Summit (AIS). Lead by our President and CEO Kathy Brown, we’ll be looking at what opportunities does the Internet bring to people across Africa? Could the world’s next Google, Facebook or Amazon come from Africa? And what needs to be done for that to happen?

We believe that the AIS is one of the best places to help give this possibility every chance of becoming a reality. The AIS brings together people who have built the Internet in Africa and are committed to see it grow and transform Africa.

Here are some of the main activities planned for the Internet Society @AIS:

AF-IX meeting: led by Michuki Mwangi, Senior Development Manager for Africa, Internet Society

  • When: June 5 2016 (all day event)
  • Where: Serondela 1&2, AIS venue, Gaborone Intl Conference Centre

Working Dinner: Kathy Brown and young entrepreneurs

  • When: June 5 2016

Panel: Connected Women in Africa

  • When: June 6 from 10:30 AM-12 PM (UTC +2)
  • Where: Tsodilo C, AIS venue, Gaborone Intl Conference Centre

By Shining The Light on African women who have already changed so much about the Internet, we’ll explore what needs to change to inspire more.

Watch via LiveStream!

Speech at AIS opening ceremony: Raul Echeberria, Vice President of Global Engagement, Internet Society

  • When: 6 June 2016, from 5 to 6 pm
  • Where: Tsodilo A, Plenary room, AIS venue, Gaborone Intl Conference Centre

Bilateral meeting between Telecommunication Regulatory Authorities in Southern Africa (CRASA) and the Internet Society- Tony Chigaazira, Executive Secretary of CRASA and Kathy Brown, Raul Echeberria and Dawit Bekele

  • When: 6 June 2016 at 2:30 PM

Keynote speech at AfNOG:  Kathy Brown

  • When: 7 June, from 9 AM to 12:00 PM (UTC +2)
  • Where: Tsodilo A, Plenary room, AIS venue, Gaborone Intl Conference Centre

Presentation on IETF at the University of Botswana: Dawit Bekele

  • When: June 8 2016
  • Where: University of Botswana

ISOC members @AIS cocktail

  • When: June 8 2016 from 6-8 PM
  • Where: AIS venue, Gaborone Intl Conference Centre

Presentation on local content: Michael Kende

  • When: June 10 2016 from 10:00- 10:30 AM
  • Where: Tsodilo B4, AIS venue, Gaborone Intl Conference Centre

Panel: Cyber Security

  • When: June 10 2016 from 2 – 3 PM
  • Where: Tsodilo B4, AIS venue, Gaborone Intl Conference Centre

AF* updates: Dawit Bekele and Michuki Mwangi

  • When: June 10 2016 from 2-5 PM
  • Where: AIS venue, Gaborone Intl Conference Centre

We’ll also be launching a report that looks at what the barriers are to developing content in Africa.

Will you be there in person? Visit us at our booth and post a picture with us on Instagram!  Just use the hashtag #ConnectAfrica

I’m looking forward to the discussion next week.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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