You are here


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


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

  • Today, the Internet Society issued a news release announcing that it is donating 150 000 USD to the African Network Operators Group (AfNOG) to support networking expertise within Africa as well as assist the development of the AfNOG program by supplying leadership expertise and program management.

    Internet Society has been at the forefront of Networks Operation capacity building since its early ages through the early INET workshops that trained many of the pioneers of Internet around the world but most particularly in Africa. The Internet Society has also been supporting...

    Date published 14 January 2016

  • Today, the Internet Society issued a news release announcing that it is giving 120,000 USD to the West and Central African Research and Education Networks (WACREN) to support African Research and Education Networks’ (NREN) work in increasing their skills and improving their Internet infrastructure. WACREN and the Internet Society will be working with Ubuntunet and Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN) to implement this project. This is the largest contribution that the Internet Society is making to African NRENs after its donation of networking equipment worth more than 170,...

    Date published 14 January 2016

  • Rejoignez-nous pour les 3 jours de partage d’informations, d’apprentissage et de networking à l’occasion de la 4ème édition du forum de système de noms de domaine africain de l’an 2016!

    Date: 4-6 mars 2016
    Pays: Marrakech, Maroc

    Qu’est-ce le forum de système de noms de domaine africain?

    Le forum de système de noms de domaine africain est un évènement annuel ouvert pour toutes les parties prenantes de l’industrie de noms de domaine en Afrique, organisé par l’organisation des domaines africaines de premier niveau (AfTLD), la Société pour...

    Date published 26 November 2015

  • Join us for the 3 days of sharing, learning and networking at the 4th Africa Domain Name System- DNS Forum 2016!

    Date: 4-6 March 2016
    Location: Marrakech, Morocco
    Venue: To be announced in December 2015

    What is the Africa DNS Forum? 

    The Africa Domain Name System Forum is an annual open event for stakeholders in the Domain Name Industry in Africa organized by Africa Top Level Domains Organization (AfTLD), the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the Internet Society. The objective of the three-day event...

    Date published 26 November 2015

  • The Mauritania Internet Exchange Point (RIMIX) will be launched on 27 November 2015 in Nouakchott, Mauritania. The IXP is expected to be formally inaugurated by his Excellency Mr. Moctar Malal DIA, Minister of Employment, Professional Training and New Technologies and Moctar Yedaly, Head of the Information Society Division of the African Union Commission. The institute for the Development of Digital Infrastructures, the Association for the management of the RIMIX and the Internet Society will also be present at the opening ceremony.

    The Mauritania IXP was established with the...

    Date published 25 November 2015