After access 2018: A demand-side view of mobile internet from 10 African countries

Research ICT Africa published a new study assessing Internet access in ten African countries. It revealed that many African countries are far from global target since they do not have complementary policies required to harness new technologies and Internet-related services, which adversely impacts the current inequalities. The Internet penetration is less than 25% in many African countries which demonstrates that these countries do not reap the benefits of network associated with economic growth and development. The research also showed that some countries. i.e. Lesotho, Rwanda and South Africa, have more than 50% Internet penetration rate, however, considerable percentage of the population remained unconnected. For many countries, the main challenge is affordability of smart devices and data services and lack of awareness. Therefore, the study suggests that the digital inequalities is not between the connected and unconnected but rather between the haves and have-nots of skills and financial resources which represent the biggest policy challenge in the region. As a result, the study provides a number of policy recommendations to overcome the challenge of having extensive coverage with large proportion of the population unconnected.