Wired Africa? Getting there…

February 11, 2009 2 comments

China’s surge online made news recently when China overtook the USA in terms of internet users. Africa’s surge online has not made so much news, but has been fast nevertheless.

Africa has been left behind in the internet race because of poor infrastructure. To see why just look at the picture below – Africa looks dark because large parts of the continent do not have a reliable electricity supply. This makes internet use difficult and expensive. And that’s before you even start talking about broadband internet infrastructure.


Image from NightSkyNation

Keeping this in mind it is very good news that Africa’s internet penetration grew over 1000% between 2000 and 2008, according to the latest figures.

Page F30 points out that it’s not very helpful to lump Africa together as this report does. Africa has more than 50 different countries and internet usage differs considerably between them. Most of West Africa has fast internet connections but East African countries still rely on dial up and satellites for internet access.

Things should keep improving for the less developed areas though – planned work on undersea cables and national networks in several countries will make internet connections a lot cheaper in future.

Read more:
African blogs from Blogs of the World
China to invest in Congo’s infrastructure
High cost of transport in Africa: shipping a ton of wheat from the USA to Uganda is cheaper than moving it from Uganda to neighbouring Kenya

About the author

Lucy (Liz) Chatburn
Lucy is English and first ventured out of the UK she was 19. Since then she has lived in 4 different countries and tried to see as much of the world as possible. She loves learning languages, learning about different cultures and hearing different points of view.
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2 Comments

  • Gezza, Sydney

    Having good internet would really open up things for some people. My Zimbabwean friend in London can’t call his parents (and vice versa) because Zim haven’t paid their ‘phone bill’, or something crazy like that. If they had decent internet, skype would do away with it all!

  • Hi Gezza, and welcome. It’s hard to imagine life without Internet these days, isn’t it? That’s a great example of an Internet application that’s easy to take for granted and that would really make a difference in countries who aren’t online yet.