A Look at Kenya as the Web Turns 30.
On March 11, 1989, Berners-Lee, a British Engineer, submitted to CERN a proposal for an information-management system that would build a hypertext system on the distributed computers then linked by the Internet.
The proposal described what, in just a couple years’ time, would transform into the World Wide Web: a connected system for sharing information that would revolutionize how the entire planet communicated.
In his annual letter on the web’s birthday, Berners-Lee noted that, “The web has become a public square, a library, a doctor’s office, a shop, a school, a design studio, an office, a cinema, a bank, and so much more. However
Against the backdrop of news stories about how the web is misused, it’s understandable that many people feel afraid and unsure if the web is really a force for good.”
“If we give up on building a better web now, then the web will not have failed us. We will have failed the web.”
In Kenya, the impact of the web has been felt in an enormous way. With Kenya having one of the fastest internet speeds in Africa, there are many businesses that have been born online thanks to the worldwide web. Online business looks like the ‘thing’ and every store has an online presence from Jumia to Skygarden to anyone who wants to sell something.
Social media sites continue to grow in Kenya and with the growth, both the good and the bad have been born. It is getting more and more easiear to get conned online and the number of accounts hacked continues to grow. According to a report published this year, Kenyan banks lose at least Ksh.50 Million daily from hackers. However even with all this, the number of Kenyans using the internet to earn has continued to grow.
The Government has not been left behind either with several services going online. Citizens can access different services ranging from application of documents such as driving licences to Government job applications. Some government departments such as the DCI and the Immigration department have increased their offices public confidence through social media.
Its easier to send or borrow money in Kenya more than in any country and more people continue to tailor solutions to the problems in the country through Apps. Kenya is one of the four countries that harbor 50% of Africa’s start-ups.
All this thanks to the invention by Berners-Lee. While social media platforms like Facebook have come under a lot of pressure for what is seen as the misuse or rather bad use of the web, the next phase of the web is expected to be interesting. All we can do is wait and see while hoping we don’t fail the web.