BY VARAIDZO MUDEWAIRI ZIMBABWE is among many African countries that stifle internet usage, which has, unfortunately, cost African economies US$2 billion in lost revenue.
In a May 2022 report, Quartz Africa said internet shutdowns by African governments had unpleasant effects on the already struggling economies.
“This has had a noxious effect on the general African economy which still sits at the bottom of the global digital economy. Internet dusk has meant thousands of hours lost by businesses that operate online via e-commerce and social commerce; and that has translated to the loss of billions of dollars.
“In 2019, a report by Top10VPN indicated that a total of 12 African governments switched off internet services, leading to a combined loss of US$2 billion. These were Sudan, Algeria, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Mauritania, Egypt, Benin, Gabon, Eritrea and Liberia,” the statement read.
Zimbabwe, Togo, Burundi, Chad, Mali and Guinea are said to have restricted access to the internet or social media applications in 2020.
Tanzania’s government was said to have truncated media freedom since 2015, and had an internet blackout which lasted 1 584 hours in 2020, which cost over US$600 million in lost revenue.
In the DRC, access to internet and social media was cut hours before the country’s general election on March 21, 2021.
“In the past years, citizens in close to half of African countries have experienced an internet blackout and in all instances the shutdowns have happened during conflicts or during elections as incumbent governments blocked online access to political information.
- Chamisa under fire over US$120K donation
- Mavhunga puts DeMbare into Chibuku quarterfinals
- Pension funds bet on Cabora Bassa oilfields
- Councils defy govt fire tender directive
In February this year, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Zimbabwe) blasted internet slowdown when the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) led by Nelson Chamisa was holding its campaign rally, cutting off media coverage of the event.
Quartz Africa said the future of the continent depended on embracing technology.
- Follow us on Twitter@NewsDayZimbabwe