Close the Gap celebrates 15 years with brand new plans in Kenya and Belgium
Posted on Aug 28, 2019 7:13 AM by
On Tuesday 27 August, Close the Gap celebrated its 15 years together with more than 250 invitees in the recently renovated Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium.
During the event in the Africa Museum, Close the Gap looked back on bridging the digital divide these past 15 years. Since 2004, Close the Gap has gathered over 850,000 ICT assets, has contributed to over 5,700 projects in more than 50 countries (mostly in Africa) and reached more than 3,200,000 beneficiaries. Thanks to the computers, donated by (inter)national companies and processed by Close the Gap, millions of children, youngsters, and adults can further develop their digital skills.
This journey was expertly documented in a video made by my-impacts.org. To watch the whole video, click here.
After warm welcome words by Close the Gap's Vice-Chair Prof. Wim Blonk and Chair Christina von Wackerbarth, the audience was treated to a testimonial of two Kenyan tech entrepreneurs: Naima Janet (a young girl who developed an application to fight child marraige) and Nayla Hatimy. Ms. Hatimy delivered her moving life story about growing from an entrepreneur to become a tech entrepreneur and supporter of African entrepreneurship. Nayla equally took on the role as Master of Ceremony for the celebration event.
Besides looking back on these past achievements, Close the Gap also looked forward to the future. Close the Gap will set foot on the ground in Kenya, namely in Nairobi and in Mombasa. In Nairobi, a local refurbishment plant is set up that will process computers locally, in Africa. As a special guest, Close the Gap invited its first employee from the Nairobi operations on stage: Timothy Wachira.
Besides the Circular Hub in Nairobi, Close the Gap also opens a Hub in Mombasa that is focused on the formation and education of vulnerable groups in society (young adults and women). In this second Hub, Close the Gap will also provide support for young (tech) entrepreneurs.
One of the focal points of the evening was a panel debate on 'No Aid but Trade'. This panel was led by Professor Björn Cumps, member of Close the Gap's Board. The panelists who shed light on this interesting topics from their own perspective were:
- His Excellency the Kenyan Ambassador for Belgium & Luxemburg Professor Jacob Kaimenyi
- Chantal Kamatari, CSR Manager BNP Parisbas Fortis
- Liesbet Peeters, Managing Parner Volta Capital
- Antony Nabwana, Senior Officer Kenya Investment Authority
- André Van Ommeren, Member of the Board International Programmes RVO Netherlands
Afterwards, Claire Tillekaerts, CEO Flanders Investment & Trade, concluded the panel with a keynote.
Another element that was announced during the event is the re-launch of PC Solidarity. This project, with support of DNS Belgium, focuses on offering qualitative IT material to vulnerable youth in Belgium. The CEO of DNS Belgium, Philip Du Bois came on stage to announce this re-launch personally.
One final announcement involved the launch of CTG Circular. More information to follow soon!
Click here for all the pictures of the event.
Click here for the recap video shot during the event.
Press coverage of the event can be found here.