ISOC - Internet Society

07/13/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/14/2021 04:35

Internet restrictions are curbing Africa’s economic growth, findings

A report According to nonprofits, Africa needs to increase Internet access to boost its economy, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Advocates have found that while locally routed online traffic in Africa is on the rise, only one in five Africans has access to the Internet. High taxes and frequent internet shutdowns by some African governments have also discouraged online trading.

The Internet Society Group said in this month's report that Africa's Internet exchange points (IXPs) have increased from 19 to 46 in less than eight years. There are multiple IXPs in 6 countries.

The IXP is where multiple networks and service providers exchange Internet traffic. This increase is significant, as most African countries routed online traffic off the continent 10 years ago.

Dawit Bekele is Vice President of Africa for the Internet Society, a global non-profit organization that promotes the development and use of the Internet. He said Africa's own IXP will improve Internet performance for users on the continent.

'By developing an internet exchange point within Africa, we can limit the movement of this kind of unwanted internet traffic out of Africa and return to Africa, which is speed, connectivity, and even cost. There are significant benefits to improving the user experience, such as connectivity. 'He said.

The Washington-based group states that its goal is ultimately to exchange 80% of Africa's Internet traffic locally.

Information technology expert Michael Niyitegeka said public demand has forced the African government to improve Internet access.

'We cannot escape from the youth population. With so many young people, their affinity or willingness to use technology and the Internet is much higher than our parents, and they are above all else. You can also use the technology more comfortably. Finally, another aspect that I think is very important is that access to mobile technology devices is a big driving force. Compared to our market. There are quite a few cheap smart or internet-enabled phones that have a huge impact on how many people can do it. Access the internet. '

In a 2020 study, the International Foundation Corporation said the use of the Internet could add $ 180 billion to the African economy.

However, some governments are taking steps to control digital communications by shutting down social media platforms and imposing high taxes on Internet use.

Omoniyi Kolande is the CEO of SeerBit, a Nigerian company that provides payment processing services to businesses. He said government control of the Internet would set back businesses.

'This is a way to go backwards, not forwards. It's supposed to drive access. It's supposed to drive free access points because of the interaction of the solutions. Because companies want their products. If they need to be deployed on platforms, the payment gateway revenue is lost at that time. These businesses do not exist to achieve the purpose to be achieved, so the revenue is already generated. I'm losing. '

The Economic Commission for Africa states that only 20 percent of the continent's population has access to the Internet.

The Internet Society Group is calling on the Government of South Africa to extend its Internet infrastructure to rural areas where most of its population lives and to benefit from it.

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