Africans are still paying way too much for their internet access due to a myriad of challenges including infrastructure investment and weak competitive environments in local markets.
Getting all Africans online by 2030 will require around $100 billion in investment with a majority of that sum pegged for infrastructure-based spending. But most African countries do not currently have policy environments needed to make that spending worthwhile, according to the latest broadband affordability report by the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI). The report analyzes the current ability of national policies to “lower industry costs and ultimately create more affordable broadband.”
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More African countries are again in the bottom half of the Affordability Drivers Index scores than in the top half. One primary reason, the report notes, is the lack of competitive markets which are home to multiple broadband operators.
The impact of the lack of competition is reflected in the high costs of internet access on the continent with the average price for one gigabyte of data costing 7.12 percent of the average monthly salary—much higher than the defined affordability benchmark of 2 percent of average income.
One bright note is that two African countries—Cameroon and Mali—top the list of countries making the most progress in improving broadband affordability. But, as that progress is mostly down to updating national broadband plans, it’s a job half-done “because policy is not enough if we don’t see the impact of policy,” Jorge says.