Approximately 1.3 Billion people are living with disabilities around the world. These are people whose contribution to society is huge and cannot be overlooked. If anything, countries lose 7% of their GDP due to disability exclusion as per the International Labour Organization and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. It is clear that a lot of support needs to be extended in the way of the differently abled so that they can also be part of nation building.

And a lot is being done already. Like the Valuable 500, the global movement putting disability on the business leadership agenda. What the Valuable 500 is saying as they rally to bring together CEO’s responsible for huge organisations to put disability inclusion on the global business leadership agenda is that “if disability is not on your board agenda, neither is diversity”. Quite a powerful message if you ask me.

Safaricom has today joined this movement, making it the first in Kenya and fourth in Africa to join. Safaricom has always been at the forefront of the disability agenda with initiatives like the Safaricom Deaf Athletics and the Henry Wanyoike Hope for the future race to name a few. The company also has assistive devices and technologies to further make the lives of persons living with disabilities easier. It also already has a specific commitment to have persons living with disabilities among its staff members, with 5% employment slots being reserved for them.

“Operating in a developing nation, we witness first-hand the disproportionate effects of inequality and poverty on People with Disability. Guided by our purpose of Transforming Lives and the Sustainable Development Goals, we are committed to driving the Disability Inclusion agenda in the communities we serve,” said Michael Joseph, Chief Executive Officer, Safaricom.

“The technology sector has been enormously supportive of The Valuable 500. We welcome the commitment today from so many high-profile technology companies and celebrate the 250 companies who have pledged to put disability on their board agendas to date,” said Caroline Casey, Founder of The Valuable 500.

“However, much remains to be done. The technology industry has the potential to be one of the greatest enablers when it comes to disability inclusion. I call on all from across the tech, mobile and telecoms industry to join us in prioritising disability inclusion so that Persons with Disability can benefit from the same developing technology, have the same latest devices and live in the same real digital world as everyone else,” added Caroline.

The campaign hopes to have 500 global business leaders and CEOs signed up to the initiative, which is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals to reduce inequalities and create inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities and communities. Over 250 companies across 26 countries globally are now part of the Valuable 5 campaign that was launched at the 2019 World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting.

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