10 December 2013

Morocco: Malaysia, Morocco Lead in A4A1's Internet 'Affordability Index' Report

Five African countries - Morocco, Mauritius, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda - have been ranked among the leaders in the internet Affordability Index report for emerging and developing economies compiled by the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) that studied the drivers of internet affordability in 46 countries.

The report names Malaysia as the leading country in terms of internet affordability among the developed economies while Morocco is ranked first in Africa and among emerging countries.

Other African countries on the top 5 of each category include Mauritius that was ranked second among developed countries while Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda were ranked 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively among emerging economies.

The report highlights the need for cheap broadband especially to those living below US $ 2 a day terming this population who cannot afford to get online as among those whom the high costs is entrenching the digital divide and constraining economic and social progress.

According to honorary chairperson Dr Bitange Ndemo the world is a long way from achieving its target to have 100 percent internet access globally.

Dr Ndemo, who is also the immediate former Permanent Secretary of Kenya's Ministry of Information and Communications, said: "The Affordability Report must serve as a spur to action for policymakers, businesses and civil society organizations around the globe. In just two years, the UN Broadband Commission target is for everyone, everywhere to be able to access broadband Internet at a cost of less than 5 per cent of their monthly income. Our data shows that there is a long way to go before this goal is reached, particularly for the world's poorest people." To achieve these goals, the Affordability Report recommends that stakeholders in the sector engage and collaborate in various areas including expanding broadband infrastructure through the implementation of innovative open access and PPP projects, reduce costs through effective and efficient use of Universal Service Funds and support in the development of National Broadband Plans.

However even as some African nations starred in the report, several other countries are lagging behind including Zimbabwe and Malawi who are at the foot of the table.

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