Africa’s internet population is growing faster than any other continent on the planet according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a specialized agency under the United Nations.
More than half of the world's population are now online for the first time ever, Africa experienced the biggest growth; according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). From just 2.1% in 2005, the number of Africans with internet connections grew to over 24% in 2018.
— Online Hub Educational Services – @OnlineHubNG.com (@onlinehubng) December 12, 2018
According to the agency, the number of internet users all over the world has hit a record 3.9 billion. At 51.2%, the current internet population is more than half the world’s 7.4 billion population. Meanwhile, in 2005, the world’s internet population was just around 16% of the global population.
“By the end of 2018, we will surpass the 50/50 milestone for Internet use”, says Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary General. “This represents an important step towards a more inclusive global information society.”
According to statistics revealed by the agency, the region with the strongest growth was Africa. While Africa’s internet population hovered around a measly 2.1% in 2005, this population segment has grown to 24.4 in 2018.
The report also showed that mobile subscription is growing faster in Africa and other developing countries than in the developed world. Mobile penetration has grown that 61 of every 100 inhabitants in developing countries has mobile access.
“Africa trails behind the rest of the world in its preparedness to engage in and benefit from the digital economy. Three-quarters of the African population have yet to start using the Internet,” @UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi. #AfricaEWeek
— MidoTheDon 🇰🇪 (@akim_dominic) December 10, 2018
Similarly, more than half of the population in African countries and other developing countries now have internet access in their homes.
What Explains the Growth of Africa’s Internet Population?
Africa’s impressive growth rate can be attributed to a few factors and trends on the continent. However, the most important is the growth of cheap devices.
Ubiquitous cheap mobile devices are greatly accelerating Africa’s Internet population growth. Over the last few years, the amount of internet-enabled devices has soared on the African continent. A combination of cheap smartphone devices, particularly from Transsion brands, as well as internet-enabled feature phones, are majorly at the forefront of growing Africa’s internet population.
According to the ITU, the growth in mobile cellular subscription in Africa was at its highest over the last five years. This parallels the rise of smartphones on continent.
But access to computer remains extremely poor at 8.3% on the continent. Yet, Africa accounts for a significant portion of the world’s population with mobile 3G access or high speed internet. Perhaps, we still have a long way to go.
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