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Why The “Dark” Continent Needs Some Light Internet Charges

Fact check:

South Korea has the fastest Internet in the world at connection speed of 25.3 Megabits per second (Mbps),while Equatorial Guinea “boasts” of an average broadband speed lower than 1Mbps.

Ever wondered why your data finishes with the same swiftness ,urgency and alacrity at  which you recharge?Well,its no rocket science or sorcery ,experts have also been as curious and concerned as we all  have been,but the good news is that they’ve been  painstaking enough to ask thoughtful questions and they got deserving but shocking answers too!I know how you want to wet the parched and almost caked ground of your smartphone but alas! your data “outflies” even a peregrine falcon.

A group of stakeholders,Ecobank Research have revealed to our chagrin that Africa,the” dark continent” has seen no “light” in the context of  data and internet charges.According to the research,in both real and income-relative terms.Equatorial Guinea,Zimbabwe and Swaziland are the three most expensive countries in terms of data cost,in these countries, a gigabyte of data costs more than $20.However,across the continent of Africa,the median price is estimated at $7.04 with a majority of countries recording ABOVE UN Broadband Commission target of 2% of monthly income.

Again,studies have shown that SME’s that use internet grow twice as fast as those who do not,so how  do we reconcile this expansive internet divide?.A downside to the outrageous prices is the barrier to access the 8th wonder of the world it breeds for staggering number of avid internet users and promising businesses.

According to Techpoint Africa,  Africa which is the poorest continent in the world by per capital income.The southernmost part of the continent pays the most for internet usage.It also says that Nigeria and South Africa,the average cost of data is still relatively expensive at $2.22 and $7.19.

With the digital revolution we are  all are gravitating towards  and irrespective of our digital nativity,its quite a painful paradox that  in Africa,the cradle of mankind,users pay the most for mobile data relative to their average monthly income.A cliche among salespersons is “You get the value for your money”,it is however saddening that while high prices are a nagging and almost “terminal”problem,the speed of the internet still isn’t commiserate with the charges.A reminder of the electricity charges we pay to “NEPA”.We can safely say(apologies to Thomas Malthus) the internet charges exponentially while the speed comes in linear proportions.

But what are stakeholders in Africa towards this nagging trend?
Watch out for a sequel soon on your favourite E-27 magazine.


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