A mission to ensure a safe digital experience in Africa
As we mark Safer Internet Day, I am happy to announce that we have received a $1 million grant from Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google, to support our mission to enhance online safety in Africa. This will help us launch the second cohort of the Africa Online Safety Fund, which was introduced in 2020.
Over the past few years, internet access in Africa has grown rapidly, with over 520 million people, or 40% of the population, now having access to the web. This has opened up many new opportunities for socio-economic development, including the potential for the internet economy to contribute nearly $180 billion to Africa's economy by 2025.
However, this rapid growth has also brought new challenges, including privacy and security concerns, bullying and harassment, hate crimes, fake news, political targeting and manipulation, terrorist recruitment and promotion, and financial scams. The COVID-19 pandemic has only made these issues worse, with a 30% increase in cyber attacks. The shift to remote work has also made people more vulnerable to these attacks.
This is why we established the Africa Online Safety Fund in 2020 with support from Google.org to address these critical online safety issues and promote digital wellbeing for all Africans. So far, the Fund has supported 26 organisations, impacting over 14 million Africans. From Media Monitoring Africa's comic book tackling misinformation to Teen Can Code's online safety clubs and Epower's Cyberhygiene media literacy app, these initiatives have helped keep children safe online and equipped educators to teach digital safety. Our goal is to play a part in ensuring that Africans can fully realise the potential of the internet.
Teen Can Code's online safety clubs
With the new grant from Google.org, Impact Amplifier will continue this vital work, supporting organisations that are working to keep children safe online, prevent illegal or harmful online content, protect vulnerable populations, and develop tools to address online safety issues. If your organisation is working in this field, be on the lookout for the call for applications on our website for the Africa Online Safety Fund, opening on March 1, 2023.
We are deeply appreciative of Google.org's commitment to online safety in Africa through their support of initiatives like the Africa Online Safety Fund. Programs like these are essential in our quest to create a safe, secure, and empowering digital environment for all Africans.