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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

  • Sixteen technology experts have been sponsored for this year’s Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) conference, taking place on August 25th to 27th at the Girassol Indy Congress Hotel in Maputo, Mozambique.

    The fellows bring the number of fellowships to a hundred, in the last six years. Since inception, AfPIF has endeavored to bring more African technology experts together, in effort to develop more solutions. In 2010 there were 5 fellowships, 14 in 2011, 17 in 2012, 28 in 2013, 20 in 2014 and 16 this year.

    The fellows are drawn from the public and private sector...

    Date published 22 July 2015

  • On July 6th, 200 techies, business people and government representatives gathered in Nairobi, for the third Africa Domain Name System Forum, seeking to deepen engagement and grow interest in the region.

    The participants, drawn from 28 countries, tackled issues such as: how do we make the forum more business oriented? How do we attract more participants? And how do we grow the overall usage and interest in DNS services?

    The well-attended forum was opened by Eng. Francis Wangusi, Director General, Communications Authority of Kenya, and a keynote speech by Mr. Olaf Kolkman, CTO...

    Date published 14 July 2015

  • Technology experts from Africa and beyond will gather in Nairobi between July 6th and 8th, for the third Africa Domain Name System Forum.

    This year, the event has brought together experts in the domain name industry, business experts and policy makers, seeking to explore ways to grow Africa’s Domain Name Space. The meeting will build on the success of the inaugural DNS forum in 2013 in Durban and the follow up event in Abuja last year.

    Under the theme: “The future of Africa's Domain Name Industry; Opportunities and challenges”, the event is hosted by KENIC, in partnership...

    Date published 03 July 2015

  • The Internet Society in partnership with the East African Communications Organization (EACO) has organized a half-day workshop on Internet Governance on 25 June 2015 in Kampala, Uganda.

    Bringing together a broad range of important stakeholders, this workshop has the objective of conducting high-level discussions on the state of Internet and Internet governance in the world and in the East African community (EAC) as well as reflect on the future of the Internet at this very critical moment of its history.

    Karen Rose, Senior Director, Office of Strategy & Research, Michael...

    Date published 19 June 2015

  • The Internet Society in partnership with the East African Communications Organization (EACO) and the African Telecommunication Union (ATU) has organized an East African Internet Infrastructure Forum, which will be held on 24 June 2015 in Kampala, Uganda. The Forum will bring together ICT Ministers and high-level officials within the Eastern Africa region, experts, telecommunication policy-makers, infrastructure providers and content providers.

    We are excited to enter a new phase in our long-standing work with the Internet community in Africa. For more than two decades, the...

    Date published 19 June 2015

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