Africa: Kenya Tops Continent By a Mile in Internet Penetration

(file photo).
22 January 2021

Kenya recorded the highest internet penetration rate in Africa in the year 2020. This is according to a ranking by Internet World Stats (IWS), showing that 87.2 percent of the country's population was connected to the internet.

Figures from the Communication Authority (CA) indicate that in quarter one of 2020/2021 financial year (July to Sept 2020), the country recorded 43.45 million internet/data subscriptions, an increase of 4.8 percent from the previous quarter.

The regulator attributes this growth to the internet connectivity demand necessitated by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which forced many Kenyans to work and undertake studies from home.

"As at the end of the first quarter of 2020/21 financial year, the Internet/data market experienced positive growth with rising dependence on digital platforms for work, learning, healthcare, shopping and entertainment," said CA.

The uptake of internet usage in Kenya, CA reports, is expected to continue "evolving rapidly" with increasing innovation in tech, availability of more affordable smartphones in the market and enhanced connectivity (3G, 4G) in the country.

"Going digital is now more important than ever with the Covid-19 pandemic changing how we live, work and interact with one another. The uptake of mobile services is expected to rise with the presence of affordable smartphones in the country," the telecommunications industry regulator said.

The IWS ranking shows Libya had the second highest internet penetration in 2020 with 74.2 percent while Seychelles came in third with 72.5 percent penetration. Nigeria remains the top country in terms of the total number of internet users with over 126 million internet users--her internet penetration rate however, stood at 61.2 percent.

Regionally, internet penetration rate stood at 46.2 percent for Rwanda, 40.4 percent for Uganda, 38.7 percent for Tanzania, 17.8 percent for Ethiopia,10.7 percent for Somalia and 9.7 percent for Burundi.

Western Sahara had the least internet penetration with a rate of 4.7 percent. South Sudan was the second last country with 7.9 percent penetration, while the northeast African nation Eritrea followed with 8.3 percent penetration for her estimated population of 3.5 million people.

The entire continent of Africa, with an estimated population of 1.3 billion people, registered a penetration rate of 47.1 percent according to IWS.

Internet penetration rate is the percentage of the total population in a region that is connected to the internet.


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