Internet Access: What African Countries Must Do

Despite the growth of internet penetration rates in Africa, the continent still faces challenges of internet connectivity, from considerable digital divides between regions and communities to the affordability of access.

Development Diaries reports that Zambia recently unveiled digital hubs to allow for free internet access for all its citizens.

With a population of more than 20 million, Zambia has problems with internet access, particularly in rural areas where infrastructure is lacking.

According to DataReportal’s Digital 2023, there are 4.3 million internet users in Zambia, equivalent to a 21.2 percent penetration rate.

While this is a commendable move by Zambia, other countries that have low internet penetration issues must work towards adopting a similar measure because several countries in Africa still face challenges with low internet connectivity.

According to statistics from DataReportal, Chad’s internet penetration rate stood at 19.0 percent of the total population at the start of 2022, South Sudan’s internet penetration rate stood at 7.0 percent of the total population at the start of 2023 and Somalia’s internet penetration rate stood at 9.8 percent of the total population at the start of 2023.

Chad has faced significant challenges in terms of internet access and infrastructure. Limited resources, vast and challenging geographical conditions, and political instability have contributed to low internet penetration.

Political instability and underdeveloped infrastructure are factors that have contributed to low internet connectivity in South Sudan.

While some urban areas in Somalia have relatively better internet access, the country as a whole faces challenges due to ongoing conflict, lack of infrastructure development, and the absence of a stable government in certain regions.

Internet access in African nations can contribute to socio-economic development, education, healthcare, and innovation.

It plays a crucial role in fostering economic development, social progress, and innovation in African nations.

In a rapidly digitising world, the internet serves as a catalyst for economic growth by providing a platform for small businesses and entrepreneurs to connect with a global market. Increased access to the internet opens up opportunities for e-commerce, online education, and digital entrepreneurship, enabling Africans to participate more actively in the global economy.

Moreover, the internet facilitates the flow of information and knowledge, empowering individuals with valuable resources for education, skill development, and access to diverse perspectives.

Development Diaries calls on the governments of South Sudan, Chad, Somalia, Central African Republic to step up efforts towards boosting internet connectivity in their respective countries.

Photo source: UN


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