For the first time ever, half of the world’s population now have access to the internet. According to a new report from ITU, the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies – Africa has quite a high internet accessibility index.
They opined that at the end of 2018, 51.2% of the global population (3.9 billion) will be using the Internet. Of all the region assessed by ITU, deep-seated growth comes especially from Africa— where the percentage of people using the Internet increased to 24.4 percent in 2018 as against the 2.1 per cent recorded in 2005.
The share of households with computer in Africa increased from 3.6 per cent in 2005 to 9.2 per cent in 2018.
Meanwhile in developed countries, slow and steady growth increased the percentage of population using the Internet, from 51.3 percent in 2005 to 80.9 per cent in 2018. In developing countries, growth has been much more sustained increasing from 7.7 percent in 2005 to 45.3 per cent at the end of 2018.
However, the region with the lowest growth rate include Europe – with 79.6 percent – and the Americas – with 69.6 percent – of the people using the Internet. In the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region, 71.3 percent use the Internet, 54.7 percent in the Arab States and 47 percent in the Asia-Pacific region.
ITU says growth in mobile cellular subscriptions in the last five years was driven by Asia-Pacific countries and African regions while minor growth was recorded in the Americas and the CIS region. It is also worth knowing that a decline was observed in Europe and the Arab States.
“ITU’s global and regional estimates for 2018 are a pointer to the great strides the world is making towards building a more inclusive global information society,” says Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary General. “By the end of 2018, we will surpass the 50/50 milestone for Internet use.”
Even with these figures, research has shown that data affordability would remain an obstacle in Africa. Africa has the most expensive mobile data packages with prices for one gigabyte going for as much as $35.
In addition, internet speeds still remain slow, which is below the average speeds of above 10 megabits per second – minimum requirement to fully participate fully in a digital economy.
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