Friday, 13 May 2016

CI Members participate in #FASTAfrica campaign to promote fast, affordable, safe and transparent Internet

Steven Hawkes, Consumers International’s (CI) Fundraising and Partnership Officer reports back on the recent campaign activities by four CI Members involved in #FASTAfrica, a World Wide Web Foundation initiative.

Africa hosts four of the ten fastest growing world economies, and is the fastest growing market for mobile phones. However, Africa has the slowest and most expensive Internet in the world, and the fewest people online (just one in five).

Fast, affordable, safe, and transparent Internet should be a priority for African governments. The benefits of access are wide-ranging and significant, with positive ramifications ranging from healthcare, education and economic growth, to good governance and opportunities for citizen participation.

Photo from the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe's #FASTAfrica campaign.

#FASTAfrica is a campaign action week coordinated by CI partner, the World Wide Web Foundation, with 30 organisations across 19 countries receiving small grants to participate. We are pleased to announce that this included four CI Members who ran the following campaigns:

  •  The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) engaged with college, high school and university students in all five regions of Zimbabwe through a petition which will be submitted to the government Ministry responsible for ICT and the Internet, demanding fast, affordable and accessible services. They are also conducting radio broadcasts to discuss youth views on Internet issues and hosting ‘focus desks’ in shopping malls to increase awareness and digital literacy, and amplify the reach of their campaign petition.
  • Namibia Consumer Trust (NCT) held a series of workshops with consumers (mostly women) on ICT issues and challenges, and ran a media campaign including open letters to the ICT minister and members of parliament involved in the ICT committee. Key challenges NCT are working to address include expensive rates of Internet access and poor network coverage and Internet speeds.
Photo from NCT's #FASTAfrica campaign in Namibia

  • Rwanda Consumers’ Rights Protection Organisation (ADECOR) hosted events in two districts and reached out to journalists with a press conference to discuss the campaign and key issues in Rwanda. They focused on issues of rural access, affordability, poor quality network connections, and how to address cybercrime and online fraud. ADECOR also carried out radio broadcasts in Kigali on affordability and connectivity in Rwanda. As well as reaching many consumers, ADECOR’s events were attended by industry and representatives of the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA).

Find out more about the campaign on the #FASTAfrica website. You can also find out more about CI’s Consumers in the Digital Age programme here.

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