Experts meet in Kenya to promote digital accessibility in Africa-Xinhua

Experts meet in Kenya to promote digital accessibility in Africa

Source: Xinhua| 2024-05-14 21:57:00|Editor: huaxia

NAIROBI, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Experts began a three-day meeting in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, on Tuesday to promote digital accessibility and assistive technology for people living with disabilities across the African continent.

The 5th Inclusive Africa Conference 2024 held under the theme "Breaking Barriers: Advancing Digital Accessibility for a Disability Inclusive Future in Africa" brought together more than 300 participants, comprising experts, innovators, entrepreneurs and government officials from across Africa to share knowledge on how to overcome existing barriers to digital inclusion.

In his opening remarks, Phillip Thigo, Kenya's special envoy on technology, said that while this era has seen the greatest technological advancements, Africa has also witnessed a widening gap of inequality in access, especially among people living with disabilities in Africa.

"Many digital resources and assistive technologies are not available in local languages or adapted to the cultural context of African users," Thigo said.

He noted that despite commitments to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, many African governments have not fully prioritized digital accessibility in their policy agendas or budgetary allocations.

He added that emerging technologies such as blockchain can enable financial inclusion for people living with disabilities by extending access to banking and credit services that may have been previously unavailable.

Irene Mbari-Kirika, executive director of inABLE, a Nairobi-based global organization whose mission is to empower people living with disabilities through technology, said that people living with disabilities often face challenges in accessing digital platforms and webpages.

She noted that a lack of consistent standards for digital accessibility and implementation can create fragmented experiences for persons living with disabilities.