- The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the critical importance of internet connectivity, particularly on the African continent
- Experts say community networks and Internet Exchanges are a cost-effective way to bridge the digital divide
- The Internet Society is changing the mindset by urging accelerated action on further Internet development across the African region
Kigali, Rwanda – Experts have highlighted the critical importance of internet connectivity in Africa, which is important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Internet Society (ISOC) is celebrating 30 years as a global non-profit organization dedicated to an open, globally connected Internet.
The organization is also requesting expedited action n to promote internet development across the African region at the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) 2022 being held in Kigali, Rwanda.
Dawit Bekele, Regional Vice President of Internet Society in Africa, commended the progress made by stakeholders in expanding access across the continent, while encouraging more collaborative efforts to bridge the digital divide.
His words :
“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the value of the internet connection, which is an essential lifeline for the continuity of business, healthcare, education, government and other critical activities.
“We applaud the significant investment over the past few decades in developing the internet infrastructure that has made the internet available to more people across the continent.
“However, the pandemic also highlights the digital divide that persists, particularly in rural, remote and even urban areas around the world.”
The Internet Society has a long history of working with communities worldwide to fund, grow and train people with the skills needed to operate and maintain community networks.
In Africa, the Internet Society has helped build community networks in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Namibia, Morocco, Senegal and Ethiopia.
Sub-Saharan Africa has seen the fastest growth in global internet penetration, which has grown from less than 1% in 2000 to 30% today. Between 2019 and 2021, internet usage in Africa increased by 23%.
Despite this impressive growth, there is still a service gap of over 840 million people without access to a reliable and affordable Have internet access.
Nigeria is Africa’s largest ICT market in particular, with 82% of the continent’s telecom subscribers and 29% of internet usage, and is uniquely positioned to reap the benefits of the digital economy .
The country is also home to several high-growth digital companies, providing hopeful examples of the country’s digital potential, with ICT contributing 12.5% of GDP in 2020.
Nigeria’s advances in internet usage can be attributed to the government adopting policies that facilitate an internet ecosystem to thrive.
The government not only made it easier for various service providers to develop submarine cables, but also passed data protection regulations that inspired trust and attracted international service providers.
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