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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

  • Photo Sir Selwyn-Clarke Market CC BY 2.0

    The Seychelles Internet Exchange Point (Sey-IXP) was successfully launched on 20 February 2015 in Victoria, Seychelles. Sey-IXP was officiated by Mr. Danny Faure, Vice President and Minister of ICT of Seychelles and Dr. Elham Ibrahim, African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy and attended by the Principal Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Principal Secretary, Department of ICT, Senior Government Officials and Leaders of the Industry.

    The Sey-IXP was build to:

    Serve as a catalyst for innovation...
    Date published 26 February 2015

  • L’Internet en 2015: Infrastructure et Gouvernance, états des lieux et perspectives est le thème de l’évènement qui sera organisé par le Chapitre du Cameroun de l’Internet Society le 12 février 2015 de 9 heures du matin à 2 heures de l’après-midi à l’Institut Numérique de la Gouvernance de Yaoundé, au Cameroun.

    Cette conférence présentera l’occasion de discuter et de partager les expériences autour de sujets pertinents à la communauté locale de l’Internet, tels que :

    Les acteurs de la gouvernance de l’Internet La transition IANA : développement et perspectives Point d’...
    Date published 11 February 2015

  • (Photo: © 2012 Victor NDONNANG, used with permission)  

    The “Internet in 2015: Infrastructure and Governance, state of affairs and perspectives” is the theme of an event organized by the Internet Society’s Cameroon Chapter on 12 February 2015 from 9:00 AM-14:00 PM at the Institute of Digital Governance in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

    This conference will offer a platform to share experiences and discuss topics relevant to the local Internet community, such as:

    Who's involved of the Internet Governance The IANA transition: development and prospects Internet Exchange Point: best...
    Date published 10 February 2015

  • Recently, Niger’s Constitutive General Assembly for the Niger Internet Exchange Point (IXP) met in Niamey on 23 January 2015. The Minister of Posts, Telecommunications and Digital Economy, H.E. MrAbdou Mani, launched the event with a number of activities, including:

    Adoption of guidelines for the IXP Establishment of a board of Directors comprised of Internet service providers, government institutions, and Niger’s Research and Education Network (Niger REN), focused on ensuring effective implementation and launch of the Niger IXP....

    Date published 05 February 2015

  • Pour une première fois les jeunes Tchadiens ont fêté l’internet. Cette fête est organisée par le chapitre Tchadien de l’Internet pour la Société (Isoc-Tchad) en partenariat avec le collectif WenakLabs et d’autres associations qui oeuvrent dans le domaine de technologie de l’information et de la communication (TIC).

    Les participants dans la salle de conférence crédit: Imrane Ahmat souleymane  

    La fête a eu lieu le 27 décembre 2014 à la bibliothèque nationale de N’Djamena. Plus de 300 jeunes venus des quatre coins de la ville y ont participé. Certains (les néophytes) ont...

    Date published 04 February 2015