As much as Africa is experiencing new innovations in the digital and tech world constantly, the continent still seems to be finding it hard to fill the digital gap between it and the rest of the world.
For the 50% of the world’s population estimated to lack internet access, the biggest barrier is cost, according to a new report from the Alliance for Affordable Internet – and nobody pays more than Africans.
The average cost of 1GB of data on the continent is 7.12% of average income, with some countries having rates as high as 20%. The figure is well above the 1%-2% deemed to be affordable, contributing to the so-called digital divide – the gap between people with ready access to the web and those without.
This is particularly pronounced in Africa.
Despite the success of mobile phones since the turn of the century, average broadband penetration stands at just 25%. This is according to the World Bank, which estimates that it will take $100 billion in the next decade to achieve universal access.
Eighty percent will need to go directly to infrastructure maintenance and development, supported by regulation to drive competition and investment.
Achieving all of this will require “exceptional and coordinated efforts” from governments, businesses, and donors, according to the Bank.
It’s a tall order, but making progress is crucial.
African economies are being left behind in the digital economy, which now accounts for up to 15.5% of global GDP. The continent’s share of this is less than 1%.
This report reflects the views of the author alone.
Tanzania’s government has issued strict new conditions to Chinese investors seeking to develop its $10 billion Bagamoyo port project, including the removal of planned tax breaks and a reduction in the lease period from 99 years to 33 years. The project, which would be East Africa’s biggest deep water port, was suspended in June. More: The East African