By Sabine CessouPosted on 23-08-2019Modified the 23-08-2019 at 12:38
Morocco, Kenya or Tunisia? The price of the highest Internet access rate in Africa comes back to different countries, according to available figures ... Overview of the main sources of reference.
Who to believe when it comes to Internet access in Africa ? The World Bank reports an average of 22% of Internet users in sub-Saharan Africa, compared to 55% in North Africa and the Middle East, for a global average of 49% (compared to 81% in Europe and 77% in North America). .
These data are based on statistics from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Agency, as well as from national household surveys, of which accuracy varies by country.
For its part, the World Stats website gives an African average (North Africa included) twice as high, at 39.8%, compared to 57.3% worldwide, with North America (89.4%) displaces Europe (86.8%). Its sources: ITU, Facebook and World Wide Worxs, a South African design office.
Morocco and Seychelles lead, World Bank says
In terms of the number of Internet users on the total population, Morocco ranks first in the World Bank's 2017 statistics (62%), ahead of Seychelles (59%) and Cape Verde (57%). South Africa is, along with Djibouti, Mauritius and Tunisia, four countries ranked 4th (56%), ahead of Gabon (50%), Algeria (48%) and Egypt (45%). ).
Rwanda (22%), which communicates strongly on its digital strategy, ranks 25th in Africa, at the same level as Libya, after Cameroon and before Mauritania. Often presented as another champion of digital, Kenya (18%) is in 30th of 54 countries in Africa, in terms of access to the web.
Conversely, the least connected countries in Africa and the world are Madagascar (10%), the DRC and Congo (9%), Liberia, the Comoros and South Sudan (8%), before Burundi and France. Chad (6%), the Central African Republic and Guinea-Bissau (4%), Somalia (2%) and Eritrea (1%). The lowest levels in the world are 11% in Afghanistan and Papua New Guinea, 12% in Haiti and the Solomon Islands.
Kenya and Liberia prime, according to Internet World Stats
The latest data from Internet World Stats turn out to be different and sometimes curious, because of what looks like a haphazard manipulation of "Facebook" data. While the social network indicates 155 million users per month of its platforms (Facebook, Instagram and What'sApp) in 2019 in sub-Saharan Africa, without giving details by country, Internet World Stats credits it with 204 million subscribers. Africa at the end of 2018.
The 10 most connected African countries as of June 30, 2019, according to this ranking, are Kenya (83%), Liberia (80.9%), Tanzania (71.6%), Seychelles (70%) , Tunisia (67%), Mali (63.4%), Mauritius (63.2%), Cape Verde (62.8%), Morocco (61.8%) and Nigeria (59, 5%). Liberia owes this amazing performance to 4 million Facebook accounts for a total population of 4.9 million people.
A figure as unreliable as that of Angola, where Facebook is credited by Internet World Stats of 27.4 million users for a total population of 31.8 million. Another surprise is the presence of Mali, which is struggling with its serious political and economic crisis of 2012. This country has an Internet penetration rate of 13%, according to the World Bank and the ITU.
Tunisia and Gabon lead, according to the ITU
To complicate the situation, the countries themselves give different figures concerning them. In 2018, Senegal posts an Internet penetration rate of 62.9%, according to its Telecommunications and Posts Regulatory Agency (ARTP) - twice as much as the 30% announced by the World Bank and even more than the 46% donated by the ITU.
Who to believe? The ITU presents itself as the " official source of global ICT statistics ", drawing its data from telecom regulators and household surveys from national statistics in each country.
Its 2017 figures are the same as those of the World Bank ... with notable exceptions. These change all in the rankings of the most connected countries. The top 10 in Africa according to the ITU are Tunisia (64.1%), Gabon (62%), Morocco (61.7%), Seychelles (58.7%), Cabo Verde (57.7%). , 1%), South Africa (56.1%), Djibouti (55.6%), Mauritius (55.4%), Namibia (51%) and Algeria (47.6%).
Four major trends emerge from these divergent data, because they are rapidly evolving and scrutinized by statisticians who use different tools. First of all, South Africa, the continent's only "emerging market", lost its head start in the 2000s. The "rainbow nation" is penalized by its inequalities (42% of its population lives in poverty), hence the ceiling it seems to have reached in recent years around 50%, after making impressive leaps between 2009 and 2010 (from 10% to 24% of Internet users), then 2011 and 2012 (from 34% to 41%).
Second trend: everything is going very fast elsewhere in Africa. For example, Algeria has grown from 12.5% to 60% of private Internet access between 2010 and 2018, according to the ITU - a result that will affect the ranking of the 10 most connected African countries in 2018.
Third trend: coastal countries are favored by the arrival of fiber optic cables. In contrast, landlocked countries such as Chad are among the markets where Internet access is the most expensive. Central Africa, penalized, lags behind with rates of about 10%, which is also explained by its low access to electricity.
Finally, access to the Internet is overwhelmingly by smartphones (up to 88% in Senegal for example, according to the ARTP), and not by computers and home-based equipment. According to the report of the World Association of Mobile Phone Operators (GSMA) 2019 on Sub-Saharan Africa, the mobile phone penetration rate will rise from 44% to 50% of the population between 2018 and 2025, and Internet access from 23% to 39%. This report, also a reference, reminds how much the figures count, in the fight that the operators are engaged around a real jackpot.
In 2018, mobile technologies and services generated 8.6% of Sub-Saharan Africa's GDP, creating value added of more than $ 144 billion. And the 167 million new subscribers expected by 2025 will fuel the strongest mobile growth in the world. They will come mainly from five countries: Nigeria, Ethiopia, DRC, Tanzania and Kenya.
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