Free Basics Platform is now live and offering more than 60 new services are available across the 29 countries where Free Basic services are available, including 14 in Africa.
Facebook kicked off its activities at AfricaCom 2015 by sharing the progress of Free Basics, a programme that brings relevant basic internet services without data charges to people in growing countries.
Facebook also shared the latest progress of the Free Basics Platform, which is now available to all developers around the world, and today together with the Praekelt Foundation, announced the Praekelt Foundation Incubator for Free Basics, a global partnership to support developers building for the Free Basics Platform.
Facebook has, to date, brought free basic internet services to people in 29 countries, including 14 in Africa, and brought more than 15 million people online. Free Basics is now available to more than one billion people across Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Some of the African countries where Free Basics has been launched include Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Senegal, Zambia, Ghana, Angola and Malawi.
Mobile phone users in these countries now have access to a set of websites and services with no data charges, in categories including maternal health, education, news updates, as well as local information.
The program is making an impact on people’s lives by providing free health, education, and economic information. For instance, SmartBusiness, a website that helps people learn to launch and run a business, now sees 5x more daily searches within their service since launching in South Africa in July, meaning more people are getting access to important economic information.
BabyCenter and MAMA both reach millions of people around the globe with vital health information for pregnancy and parenting, including 3.4 million people through Internet.org’s free basics services alone.
“When people are connected, they can achieve extraordinary things as individuals and as a community. Connectivity brings opportunity for people around the world, and we’ve seen this firsthand here in Africa, where we began this journey,” said Ime Archibong, director of strategic partnerships at Facebook.