On Thursday, Kenya’s First Lady Margaret Kenyatta called for improved digital inclusion for persons with disabilities by eliminating the technological barriers that stop them from accessing digital services.
While delivering her keynote address at the opening of the inaugural virtual Inclusive Africa Conference 2020 in Nairobi, Margaret said that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it necessary for people, communities and businesses to rely on access to the internet, smart technology and online services to survive, thereby amplifying the need for digital inclusion.
“It is my hope that digital solutions and best practices will be adopted for easy access and affordability across Africa; and that more investment will be allocated towards education and digital training and employment of youth with disabilities,” she said in a statement issued in Nairobi after the opening ceremony.
Going by Margaret's words, the vulnerable, blind and visually impaired persons who, due to their circumstances, have faced multiple forms of digital exclusion have been the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
She emphasized the need to facilitate digital access and inclusion by adopting regional and global best practices to ensure that young people with disabilities are not left behind in contributing to the development of Kenya.
She expressed concern about how the digital services and products that properly cater to the needs of persons with disabilities including the blind and visually impaired were still lacking in many areas of Kenya.
The First Lady then called for more investment in interventions that serve children with disabilities in a bid to equip them with modern technological capabilities from an early age.
Finally, she expressed hope that the conference would outline strategies that will help to remove the barriers that prevent access to technology for people living with disabilities.
Kenya In Focus:
Population: 52.6 million (Compared to South Africa's 59.6 million)
GDP: $95.5 billion (Compared to South Africa's $369.85 billion)
GDP Per Capita: $1,750 (Compared to South Africa's $6,193)