For the second time this month, internet access has been shut down in Ethiopia. Internet access in the East African country was restricted after a failed coup by a group of soldiers in Amhara state on Saturday.
This shut down is part of counter-operations to put down the insurgency. Citizen’s access to social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram and other online services have since been limited. SMS text messaging was also disrupted leaving businesses and tech startups frustrated.
This has also led to citizens relying on the national television and radio for information and updates.
Ethiopia’s 16 million internet users are not alien to this. Earlier this month, the East African nation shut down the internet for about a week in an attempt to stop students from cheating during the country’s national exams.
According to NetBlocks, the current shutdown is still on and puts Ethiopians at a loss of $4.5m daily.
Current real-time diffscan data, which map the IP space of a country, show that between 2% and 3% of Ethiopia’s networks remain reachable. Hence, the outage affects the entire country save for a few addresses.Netblock
Africa is no stranger to such restrictions of rights. Since 1996 African governments have disrupted the use of the internet – partially or in full. At least 22 African countries have been involved in such over the last decade either as a political tool (Zimbabwe); before, during or after elections (Benin Republic); and ahead of national examinations (Somalia).
This trend is not looking to stop anytime soon unless African leaders realise that the internet is a means for technological and economic advancement and not a political tool.
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