Thank you very much. I’m just grate­ful and hon­ored to be part of this dis­tin­guished group. But I’d like to tell you a sto­ry. I could not get a visa to come here because the dates they were giv­ing for inter­views were like a month away. Satisfyingly, the gov­ern­ment of Ghana decid­ed to ele­vate me and make me a diplo­mat so they’d give me a diplo­mat­ic visa. So with that, I thank the Ghanaian del­e­ga­tion, [?], and also my AAU friends are here from AfREN and I thank them very much for this lev­el of sup­port.

I know this hon­or is not for me alone but also for the bil­lions who still do not have the ben­e­fit of the Internet. But I accept it and thank every­one on their behalf as well. Enabling peo­ple from the devel­op­ing coun­tries to have a chance to ben­e­fit from the Internet and con­tain the dig­i­tal divide is still very very rel­e­vant. The sac­ri­fice has been great but the rewards and ben­e­fits for gen­er­a­tions of peo­ple in the devel­op­ing world who would oth­er­wise have missed the oppor­tu­ni­ty have been lim­it­less.

I’m real­ly excit­ed about how actions in tech­nol­o­gy can tri­umph mon­u­men­tal pol­i­cy and reg­u­la­to­ry bar­ri­ers and cause changes of the scale as was in Africa in the 80s and 90s. Governments would do well to reform com­mu­ni­ca­tions pol­i­cy, regimes more favor­able to the Internet. And African gov­ern­ments in par­tic­u­lar would ben­e­fit from invest­ing in basic sci­ences and engi­neer­ing edu­ca­tion. And of course, using the Internet for increased com­mu­ni­ty par­tic­i­pa­tion in pol­i­cy devel­op­ment and also in devel­op­ing plan­ning.

I have been blessed to have found­ed impor­tant com­mu­ni­ties and insti­tu­tions in the African Internet ecosys­tem. This has been a won­der­ful expe­ri­ence in the for­ma­tion of self-organized tech­ni­cal com­mu­ni­ties in Africa, and it has changed me. I look for­ward to see­ing how today’s Internet cham­pi­ons will change the world. I thank you all very much.

Further Reference

Nii Quaynor profile, Internet Hall of Fame 2013


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