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Africa

Since the year 2000 Africa has become a major player in today's information age
© iStockPhoto / Internet Society

Highlights


Regional Context:

Average price per GB of traffic in Sub-Saharan Africa for Internet access

Download: The price of
Internet Access in
Sub-Saharan Africa

Since the year 2000 Africa has been laying the groundwork to become a major player in today’s information age. In the past decade, online access has quadrupled and cell-phone usage has increased tenfold – making it one of the fasting growing regions in the online world.

While improved access to the Internet represents huge potential for Africa’s economic, political and cultural future, these numbers still only represent a fraction of Africa’s population.

Why should the world worry about this digital divide? Many economists think, with the right tools, this could be Africa’s century.

It’s becoming less and less of a well-kept secret that Africa is in the midst of a profound transformation. Since 2004 economic growth has grown steadily at 6%. Internationally the continent is also opening itself up to global and local trade, proving that even when most of the world is in a financial crisis, Africa can remain open for business.

Almost 15 years ago, experts at the Internet Society outlined how the Internet has a lot to offer emerging economies - everything from software and education, to boosting handicrafts and human rights. But without a progressive Internet environment, cyberspace will continue to exacerbate the digital divide between North and South, urban and rural, and English-speaking and non-English-speaking parts of the world.

Increased access to the Internet and the web also means political change. Africa rattled the walls of the online world when citizens of Tunisia and Egypt used the Internet as one of the main tools to challenge tradition and change the rules. We also saw a global outcry when a medium that fundamentally supports opportunity, empowerment, knowledge, growth, and freedom was taken away.

While social media is a fact of life for many of us, Africa was one of the first areas in the world where regular citizens, activists, nongovernmental organizations, and business people demonstrated the freedom of speech these online tools can give. It was, and is, history in the making.

By lending their voice to the online world, Africa will not only help bring its economic growth to a world in the midst of change but also its rich voice to a global tool that has been built for users, by  users.

How We Work:

The Regional Bureau in Africa acts as an advisor to other Internet Society departments on issues affecting our work. Its also provides critical insight on local business, technology and policy issues to the Internet Society and its stakeholders.

The Bureau also work with Chapters to grow individual memberships, support their initiatives and help them advance in their support of the Internet Society's mission and values. This includes the focus on building trust and providing transparent guidance for Chapters and helping each Chapter develop strong projects.

We Focus On:

Education - Through a number of programmes we help local communities, neighbourhoods, and villages build their skills to access and develop the Internet and the World Wide Web.

Cybersecurity - While improved access to the Internet is a great economic opportunity for Africa, it also means it is becoming increasingly vulnerable to threats such as viruses, hackers, and malicious spam.

Mobile - While Africa is one of the leading countries in terms of mobile Internet – access to the network that supports it (known as the Global System for Mobile Technology, or “GSM”) remains a challenge.

Cost - Africa has some of the highest prices in the world when it comes to online connection. Why? Many of its countries are simply not connected. This means if you lived in Accra, Ghana and wanted to send an e-mail to a friend in Nairobi, Kenya, your message might have to travel to France before it can make its way Kenya. This means higher costs and service that can be slow and unpredictable.

Policy - We work to help make sure public laws at the local, national, regional, and international level are developed to help support the development of an open and user defined Internet.

Africa Blog

  • As you may know, AFRINIC-21 meeting was held in Ebene, Mauritius, from 22 to 28 November 2014 under the theme ''AFRINIC-21: A Decade of Open and Community-Driven Number Resource Management in Africa''.  

    Attended by more than 255 participants, the different meetings held under AFRINIC-21 provided a unique opportunity for Internet-related individuals and organizations to get together and talk about the policies governing Internet number resource distribution in the African region while enhancing their technical knowledge through attending workshops land tutorials.

    The event...

    Date published 02 December 2014

  • Two weeks ago the Internet Society was in São Tomé and Príncipe conducting its 27th Technical Aspects workshop, under the AXIS project, in collaboration with the Regulatory Authority (Autoridade Geral de Regulação) of São Tomé. The workshop equipped experts with the information they needed to connect to and manage an Internet Exchange Point (IXPs).

    This week, together with the African Union Commission, the Internet Society is back in another Lusophone African country to extend support and provide a 5-day technical training mainly focusing on setting up, operating and administering...

    Date published 26 November 2014

  • The AXIS “Best Practices Capacity Building” workshop, which is conducted by the Internet Society in collaboration with the African Union, opened today 20 November 2014 in Mauritius at Domaine Les Pailles, near Port Louis. For the next two days the workshop will be mainly aiming at providing participants with the required knowledge to enhance their understanding of the benefits of IXPs as well as reinforce their awareness on the establishment and management of an Internet Exchange Point. The workshop will further be focusing on highlighting the importance of an IXP on accessing and keeping...

    Date published 21 November 2014

  • By Dawit Belke and Sofie Maddens

    The spread of Ebola and the ravages that it is leaving behind is imprinting its mark on all of us and has a very personal impact on people in the affected countries and around the world. Like others, the ISOC community of staff, volunteers, and members want to help. We have therefore come together to establish the Ebola Tech Response Group.

    Through this “Ebola Tech Response”, we are challenging all of us in the Internet and ICT communities and beyond to collaborate to help fight this outbreak by using the Internet and other communications...

    Date published 25 October 2014

  • The Internet Society is working with the Ministry of Youth and ICT in Rwanda on a study to help build a robust hosting environment for content in Rwanda.  In most African countries, including Rwanda, no more than 5% of Internet content is sourced locally, with the rest sourced internationally — including African developed content that is hosted overseas. This is true for global sites, such as Facebook, and for local sites such as online news and radio.  Moving this content local will boost the local Internet and business economy, attract more Rwandans to go on- line, and help reduce the...

    Date published 02 October 2014

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