12 December 2018

South Africa: Nigeria, South Africa Deepen Global Internet Penetration

Internet penetration in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and other part of Africa, sustained global growth in 2018. It moved from 7.7 per cent in 2005 to 45.3 per cent at the end of the year. Nigeria, as at October, can boast of over 105 million users, the highest in Africa.

According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) 2018 global and regional ICT estimates, developed countries slow and steady growth increased the percentage of population using the Internet, from 51.3 per cent in 2005 to 80.9 per cent in 2018.

But the United Nation's specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs), noted that in developing countries, growth has been much more sustained increasing from 7.7 per cent in 2005 to 45.3 per cent at the end of 2018.

Of all ITU regions, the strongest growth was reported in Africa, where the percentage of people using the Internet increased from 2.1 per cent in 2005 to 24.4 per cent in 2018.

According to the estimates, the regions with the lowest growth rates were Europe, with 79.6 per cent, and the Americas, with 69.6 per cent of the population using the Internet. In the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region, 71.3 per cent will be using the Internet; 54.7 per cent in the Arab States and 47 per cent in the Asia-Pacific region.

ITU noted that Internet access at home is gaining traction. It estimated that almost 60 per cent of household has Internet access at home in 2018, up from less than 20 per cent in 2005.

In developing countries, almost half of all households have Internet access at home, a considerable increase compared with 8.4 per cent in 2005.

ITU estimated that at the end of 2018, 51.2 per cent of the global population, or 3.9 billion people, will be using the Internet.

ITU Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao, noted that 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.

"By the end of 2018, we will surpass the 50/50 milestone for Internet use. This represents an important step towards a more inclusive global information society. However, far too many people around the world are still waiting to reap the benefits of the digital economy. We must encourage more investment from the public and private sectors and create a good environment to attract investments, and support technology and business innovation so that the digital revolution leaves no one offline," Zhao stated.

From his perspective, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, Brahima Sanou, said: "The new 2018 estimates reveal that there continues to be a general upward trend in the access to and use of information and communication technologies. "Access to telecommunication networks continues to increase, in particular in mobile connections. However, affordability should continue to be at the top of our priorities for the digital economy to become a reality for all."

Further analysis of the report showed that nearly the entire world population, or 96 per cent, now lives within reach of a mobile cellular network. 90 per cent of the global population can access the Internet through a 3G or higher speed network.

ITU estimated that, globally in 2018, almost half of all households had at least one computer, up from just above a quarter in 2005. In developed countries, 83.2 per cent of households possess a computer in 2018, compared with 36.3 per cent in developing countries.

Least Developed Countries showed the strongest growth during the period 2005-2018. In 2018, less than 10 per cent of households in LDCs have a computer. The strongest growth rates were observed in the Arab States and the CIS region. In Africa, the proportion of households with access to a computer increased from 3.6 per cent in 2005 to 9.2 per cent in 2018.

In terms of mobile cellular subscriptions, ITU noted that access to basic telecommunication services is becoming ever more predominant. While fixed-telephone subscriptions continue to decline with a penetration rate of 12.4 per cent in 2018, the number of mobile-cellular telephone subscriptions is greater than the global population.

Specifically, it noted that growth in mobile cellular subscriptions in the last five years was driven by countries in Asia-Pacific and Africa regions. Growth was minor in the Americas and the CIS region while a decline was observed in Europe and the Arab States.

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