Africans are paying more money than any other part of the world for internet.
A new study has found that consumers in African countries are paying some of the highest rates in the world for internet access, and that’s according to a report released Tuesday, October 22.
For its annual Affordability Report, The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) assessed 136 low and middle-income countries and studied internet rates in those countries as a proportion of income.
The A4AI is an initiative of The Web Foundation, founded by the inventor of the Web, Tim Berners-Lee, with partner organizations that include Google and Facebook.
Middle-income examples from the report include Malaysia, Colombia, India, Jamaica, South Africa, and Ghana, while low-income examples were Nepal, Mali, Haiti, Liberia, Yemen, and Mozambique.
As per the findings, the least affordable internet prices in the world are found in Africa.
The yardstick used by the AA4I in ascertaining internet affordability in the various countries is the average price of 1GB of mobile broadband data in relation to average monthly income.
By the A4AI’s definition, internet is deemed affordable if the cost of 1GB of broadband data is no more than 2 percent of average monthly income.
Across the African continent, the AA4I found 1GB of data to cost up to 7.12 percent of monthly income, on average. Actually, in some cases, it found that as much as one-fifth of average earnings are consumed by internet costs in parts of the continent.
According to AA4I data, African countries are subject to the least affordable internet prices in the world.
The latest version of the annual report found that citizens of Chad, DR Congo, and the Central African Republic actually pay more than 20 percent of average earnings for 1GB of mobile broadband data, making for the most expensive internet costs.
AA4I’s report branded such prices as “too expensive for all but the wealthiest few,” while implying that cost is the primary challenge keeping an estimated 49 percent of the world’s population offline.
On the other hand, the most affordable rates in the continent are in Egypt at 0.5 percent and Mauritius at 0.59 percent. On a general note, the report found that costs are falling faster in low-income countries than their middle-income counterparts, but in many cases, prices remain the albatross.
In addition, the AA4I blamed the unfavourably high prices on sluggish markets and monopolies, while going ahead to prescribe solutions.
The primary recommendation from the A4AI is for greater liberalization of markets and measures to increase competitiveness. The report highlights competition as essential to successful broadband markets.
The authors also point to the importance of moving from “consolidated markets” — monopolies — to multi-operator markets, stating that it could drastically reduce costs of mobile broadband data.
“Our research estimates that 1GB data in a monopoly mobile market could be as much as USD USD 7.33 more expensive than if it were a two-operator market,” reads the report.
The AA4I places emphasis on “fair rules for market entry and incentives to encourage new competitors” as ideal ways to engender healthy competition.
Earlier this year, a study by UK-based broadband research firm, Cable, came up with pretty much the same finding.
The reports stated that Zimbabwe has the most expensive mobile data in the world, mentioning that 1GB costs USD 75.00 — making it the most pricey in the world.
Interestingly, Indians pay a staggering average of just USD 0.26 for the same quantity of broadband data; a cost that is 289 times cheaper than that of Zimbabwe.
The study also showed that Sub-Saharan Africa is home to four of the six most expensive countries with Zimbabwe on the top of the list joined by Equatorial Guinea (USD 66.00 for 1GB), Saint Helena (USD 55.00 for 1GB), and Djibouti (USD 38.00 for 1GB of data).
However, the African continent also boasts three countries among the top 10 global cheapest in the world. Rwanda tops on the list with 1 GB costing USD 0.56, followed by Sudan USD 0.68, the Democratic Republic of Congo USD 0.88.
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