Publisher: APCNews Montreal, 26 April 2012
On Tuesday April 25, Dr Nancy J. Hafkin and 32 others were inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame. Dr Hafkin was awarded the title of Global Connector for helping to spread internet use in Africa over the course of a twenty-three year career as “a pioneer and innovator in the area of networking, development information, and electronic communications.”
Of her induction, she said, “I regard my award as an award for all of us who worked so hard to grow the Internet in Africa — especially all the women global connectors.” Other 2012 inductees include Tim Berners-Lee inventor of the world-wide web, Linus Torvalds creator of the Linux operating system, and Vint Cerf, co-designer of the internet’s architecture.
Dr Hafkin was among the first to enter the field of electronic communications in Africa. She played a central role in facilitating APC’s work to enable email connectivity in more than ten countries during the early 1990s, before full internet connectivity became a reality in most of Africa. In 2000, APC established the Nancy Hafkin Communications Prize to honor her legacy and to recognise socially meaningful ICT achievements in Africa.
Working primarily with the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Addis Ababa, she served as coordinator for UNECA’s African Information Society Initiative. “Hafkin has been instrumental in helping raise global awareness of issues related to gender and information technology and development” also serving as chief of the Pan African Development Information System and chief of research and publications at the African Training and Research Center for Women. She has written widely on information technology, gender and international development and co-edited a collection of essays on ways that ICTs empower women titled, “Cinderella or Cyberella: Empowering Women in the Knowledge Society.”