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Facebook and Praekelt Foundation unveil Free Basics incubator

Social media giant Facebook kicked off its AfricaCom 2015 programme with the announcement of a partnership with the Praekelt Foundation to support developers building for the Free Basics Platform.

Free Basics is a Facebook initiative built on the Internet.org platform that aims to provide free access to basic internet services for without data charges. The platform is now live in 14 African countries, including Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Senegal, Zambia, Ghana, Angola and Malawi.

“When people are connected, they can achieve extraordinary things as individuals and as a community,” said Ime Archibong, director of strategic partnerships at Facebook. Connectivity brings opportunity for people around the world, and we’ve seen this first-hand here in Africa, where we began this journey.

“Our mission is to connect the world, and we know when we bring communities together we can have even more impact. That’s why we launched the Free Basics Platform to work with as many developers, non-profits and the social good community, and entrepreneurs as possible to extend the benefits of connectivity to diverse, local communities.

“Today is the next step in this journey, and I’m thrilled to announce the Praekelt Foundation Incubator for Free Basics here in Africa together with the team. The people I have met and impact I have seen from the benefits of connectivity simply remind me we are only 1% done. Together Facebook and the developer, entrepreneur and non-profit communities in Africa can work together to bring opportunity to people in Africa and around the world.”

“Praekelt Foundation believes that access to essential information and basic services is a human right,” said Praekelt Group Founder and CEO Gustav Praekelt. “When people have access to the tools and knowledge that the internet and other digital communication technologies provide, they have access to opportunities that will make their lives better.

“Over the last year, we have worked with NGOs to provide life-saving information to a potential audience of over 1 billion through Internet.org and the Free Basics Platform. We’ve never seen our work reach so many people so quickly. But we need to do more, and through the creation of the Praekelt Foundation Incubator for Free Basics we will do just that.”

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