On paper, things do not look too bad for persons with disabilities in East Africa as far as access to information and utilisation of modern information and communications technologies (ICTs) is concerned, The Observer writes.
Each of the East African countries has enacted several laws and policies that seek to promote the rights of persons with disabilities, including access to information and ICTs. Unfortunately, these haven’t translated into much impact due to lack of implementation but a new initiative led by Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) seeks to address the gaps and enhance the plight of persons with disabilities.
According to CIPESA’s research report entitled: ‘Removing Barriers: Improving ICTs Accessibility for People with Disabilities in East Africa,’ many of the laws remain unimplemented, leaving persons with disability in very disadvantaged positions.
“As countries advance in ICTs and others continue to enjoy the benefits that come with these advancements, we are seeing an increase in the digital gap, especially with persons with disability. Our research shows that there are several factors that are contributing to the deepening of this exclusion,” said Paul Kimumwe, the senior programme officer for Research and Advocacy at CIPESA.