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Africa pioneers in child online safety, empowerment policy

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Children Online Protection
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The African Union (AU) has praised the introduction of a continental child online safety and empowerment policy aimed at safeguarding African children from online risks.

Access to the digital space in Africa is rapidly expanding, with many children coming online, the AU said in a statement issued late Thursday. It noted that in Africa, an estimated 40 percent of youth aged between 15 and 24 can access the internet.

As African children increasingly connect to the digital world, the risks associated with the online environment have also grown, the AU said.

According to the AU, the COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated African children’s engagement with the online world, with some accessing the internet for the first time, thereby exposing them to online risks.

The AU said that its child online safety and empowerment policy, recently endorsed by the Executive Council of the AU, evaluates the opportunities and risks related to digital access for children in Africa, as well as the factors influencing child online safety.

With the introduction of this new continental policy, the AU said that Africa has become the first region globally to implement a child online safety and empowerment policy.

Amani Abou-Zeid, AU commissioner for infrastructure and energy, commended the introduction of the new continental policy. “Africa pioneers in being the first region in the world to devise policy for protecting, empowering, and ensuring the safety of children online,” the statement quoted the AU commissioner as saying.

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