PRZOOM - /newswire/ -
Delhi, New Delhi, India, 2006/11/01 - Africa is fast becoming Internet savvy but the market penetration still stands at an extremely low value due to insufficient number of dependable phone lines.
It is difficult to measure the total Internet users in Africa. As per an estimate, in early 2006, there were around 5.5-6 Million ISP subscribers in the continent, mostly in North and South Africa. This figure is significantly higher than approx 2 Million of 2005. On an average, each internet-connected computer in Africa supports 3-4 users. As the PC penetration rate is extremely low, users rely on kiosks or cybercafes, community phone shops, community telecenters, schools and other public Internet access services. However, the user per Internet subscription ratio decreased considerably in 2005, indicating an increased affordability of personal Internet access by users.
The high cost of Internet access is a major constraint on African economic growth. In most of the African countries, annual cost of Internet access is higher than the average yearly income. Only Egypt and Libya enjoys an annual Internet access cost which is less than 10% of the average yearly income. These countries observe low prices of Internet access because of competition, deregulation, foreign investments in Information and Communications Technology sector (ICT) and in few cases, government subsidies.
“Middle East and Africa Broadband Sector Analysis (2007)”, a recent report by RNCOS puts forth that in early 2006, the total Internet penetration rate was about 4%. The highest rate was observed in Réunion and Seychelles (above 20%), followed by Morocco (around 12%). This is comparable to the almost 50% penetration rate in the developed countries. However, in recent years, many countries in Africa have reported growth rates in three digits in Internet usage. These countries include Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Sudan, Morocco and Tanzania. It is anticipated that 2006 would experience the same growth trend.
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