Africa has been experiencing significant growth in internet usage and Internet development in recent years. According to the International Telecommunications Union. The percentage of Africans using the Internet increased from 2.1% in 2005 to 28.6% in 2021. Mobile networks have expanded. Affordable smartphones have become increasingly available, and digital services have risen across the continent, contributing to the growth.
African countries have been investing heavily in internet infrastructure, with various governments and private companies investing billions of dollars in fiber-optic cable networks. These networks have helped to improve internet connectivity and reduce the cost of internet access in many African countries.
For example, in Kenya, the government has invested heavily in fiber-optic cable networks. Leading to increased internet penetration and the growth of the country’s digital economy. Kenya ranked first in Africa and 61st globally in 2019 in terms of internet speed.
Similarly, in Nigeria, the government has invested in a national broadband plan aimed at providing internet access to underserved areas. This initiative has led to an increase in internet penetration, with over 123 million Nigerians currently using the internet, representing 59.3% of the population.
The Role of Mobile Networks and Digital Services in the Growth of the Internet in Africa
The growth of mobile networks has also played a significant role in the development of the Internet in Africa. According to the GSM Association, the number of unique mobile subscribers in sub-Saharan Africa has increased by 44% over the past five years. This growth has been driven by the increasing affordability of smartphones and mobile data plans.
In addition to mobile networks, the rise of digital services such as e-commerce, mobile banking, and e-learning has also contributed to the growth of the Internet in Africa. These services have created new opportunities for businesses and individuals, and have helped to drive economic growth and development across the continent.
However, despite the significant progress that has been made, internet penetration in Africa still lags behind other regions of the world. The continent faces several challenges, including inadequate infrastructure, high data costs, and low digital literacy levels. Addressing these challenges will require continued investment in internet infrastructure. Policies that support digital inclusion, and increased collaboration between governments and private sector stakeholders.