While internet penetration into the African market has grown at a rapid pace during the past few years, this trend may slow down, due to high internet costs.
According to the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), Rwanda has the most affordable internet rates on the continent. The Alliance announced the rankings at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
The Alliance’s ‘Affordability Report’ ranked various countries according to various drivers such as effective broadband structures, enhanced competition, spectrum allocation and infrastructure sharing models.
Rwanda, a country with a population of 12 million, tops the list with an overall score of 52, followed by Nigeria and Morocco.
According to the A4AI, cross the countries surveyed, a fixed broadband connection costs the average citizen approximately 40% of their monthly income, which is eight times more than the affordability target set by the UN Broadband Commission in 2011. Mobile broadband is cheaper but still double the UN threshold, averaging 10% of monthly income – about as much as developing country households spend on housing.
“The country’s broadband connectivity has become a key competitive differentiator in the global economy,” said Jean-Philibert Nsengimana, Rwanda’s Minister of Youth and ICT. “We have made significant progress already for the widespread adoption of ICT, particularly in sectors such as health, education, agriculture, as well as business and finance.”
In South Africa, a survey published by the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR) found that South Africans pay 10 times more for broadband. This may be attributed to the fact that South Africa is among the few developing countries with a high-cost/ low-speed internet ratio.
IRR communications analyst Kerwin Lebone says that lowering the cost of broadband in South Africa would lead to greater access to the internet by households and individuals.