June 16, 2023


This year, the theme revolves around “The Rights of the Child in the Digital Environment”

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A digital divide between African children and the rest of the world

A digital divide between African children and the rest of the world

Every year, on June 16th, Africa and the rest of the world unite to celebrate the Day of the African Child, an annual event that honours the courage and resilience of African children while raising awareness about the challenges they face.

This year, the theme revolves around “The Rights of the Child in the Digital Environment,” highlighting the pressing need to address the unique obstacles African children encounter as they navigate an increasingly digital world.

What it means to grow up in Africa: unequal access

Growing up in Africa is a journey fraught with numerous challenges, especially for children in marginalized communities. Access to healthcare, education, and basic needs are often limited, resulting in unequal opportunities for growth and development. Education, a fundamental right for every child, also poses significant hurdles. The World Bank reports that more than 40% of African children aged 5 to 14 are not enrolled in school. The lack of adequate schools, teachers, and educational resources perpetuates an education gap, trapping African children in a cycle of poverty and limited opportunities.

Children in marginalized communities struggle to access quality education, hindering their ability to reach their full potential and contribute meaningfully to society.

The glaring digital divide for the African child

One of the most glaring disparities between African children and their peers in more developed countries is the lack of access to digital opportunities. While technology has revolutionized various aspects of our lives, many African children lack the platforms, resources, and digital literacy skills necessary to fully participate in the digital age.

According to the International Telecommunication Union, only 28% of Africa’s population has access to the internet, with significant disparities between urban and rural areas.

This digital divide widens the gap between African children and the rest of the world, limiting their ability to access information, educational resources, and economic opportunities.

Now is the time for concerted efforts

In light of these challenges, it is crucial that African governments, NGOs, community organizations, and civil society work together to protect the rights of African children in the digital environment while ensuring that their privacy is taken into consideration even as they’re empowered to thrive in the digital environment.

Governments should prioritize investment in healthcare infrastructure, ensuring that every child has access to quality healthcare services, irrespective of their location or socio-economic status.

Strengthening the education system by allocating more resources to schools, training teachers, and providing essential educational materials will enable African children to gain the knowledge and skills necessary for a brighter future.

Furthermore, bridging the digital divide requires concerted efforts from all stakeholders. Governments should invest in improving digital infrastructure, expanding internet access, and promoting digital literacy programs.

NGOs and civil society organizations can play a crucial role in providing training and resources to children, ensuring they have the skills and knowledge to harness the power of technology.


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