An Empty Gift? Free Wikipedia Access for Orange Kenya and Uganda Subscribers

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Now any subscriber with an Orange Kenya or Orange Uganda SIM will be able to access Wikipedia through their mobile phone browser without data charges, according to The Star. While I think this is a much better use of free access than Facebook Zero, I am wondering how beneficial this gesture will be to African users for 3 reasons:

  1. As we noted before, there are more Wikipedia articles written about Antarctica than all but one of the fifty-three countries in Africa.
  2. The Kiswahili Wikipedia only has 24,135 articles for the 60 million East Africans who speak it.
  3. These stats are not without efforts to promote article creation in Kiswahili and on African topics of interest.

So I applaud Orange for creating the "Free Wikipedia" experience for its 70 million subscribers in Africa and the Middle East, I just wish there was more for them to look at.

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