These are the African countries that censor the internet the most – Quartz Africa

While Africa’s future depends on embracing technologyespecially in providing fast, reliable and affordable internet connectivitymany African governments quickly shut down the internet when it suits them.

In the past four years, citizens in nearly half of African countries have experienced internet outages.

In all cases, the closures have occurred during conflict or during elections, as incumbent governments block online access to political information.

This has had a detrimental effect on the overall African economy, which remains at the bottom of the global digital economy. The twilight on the internet has resulted in businesses operating online through e-commerce and social commerce losing thousands of hours, resulting in billions of dollars of loss. In 2019, the internet and social media shutdown cost the continent more than $2 billion.

African online businesses have lost thousands of hours of business time

In Ethiopia, a total of 3,657 hours was lost and cost the country $100 million, with the first from January 2020 to the end of June 2020 in Western Oromia according to British technology research firm Comparitech.

Another followed in November 2020 in the Tigray region after war broke out and lasted until December 15 when some services were restored.

Nigeria’s Twitter ban from June 5, 2021 to January 13, 2022 affected about 104.4 million internet users in the country and cost the country about $367 million according to Welsh VPN company Top10VPN.

Comparitech estimates that in Uganda’s 2020 presidential election, “the Pearl of Africa” ​​lost $10 million in business revenue in 30 days. The government went on to arrest those who attempted to access social media through Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). The country also has a social media tax.

Internet and social media shutdown will cost Africa billions

In 2020, Chad had its longest shutdown, blocking WhatsApp for 3,912 hours for a total cost of more than $20 million. The shutdown began on July 22 and was still ongoing at the end of the year.

Tanzania, whose government has been curtailing media freedom since 2015, had an internet outage in 2020 that lasted 1,584 hours and cost more than $600 million.

In 2019, a report from Top10VPN indicated that a total of 12 African governments shut down internet services, leading to a combined loss of $2 billion. These were Sudan, Algeria, Chad, DRC, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Mauritania, Egypt, Benin, Gabon, Eritrea and Liberia.

Zimbabwe, Togo, Burundi, Chad, Mali and Guinea also restricted access to the internet or social media applications in 2020.

In 2019, there were 25 documented cases of partial or complete internet outages, compared to 20 in 2018 and 12 in 2017, according to Access Now, an independent monitoring group.

In 2018, Sudanese authorities cut off internet access for 68 consecutive days to quell protests that culminated in the military coup the following year. In June and July 2019, Sudan was submerged in “an expanded mobile internet shutdown” for 36 days. In total, it lost $2 billion.

Access to the internet and social media was cut off just hours before the general election on March 21, 2021 in the Republic of Congo.

In April 2022, Kenya distanced itself from a US list as one of 60 signatories to an agreement requiring members to arbitrarily shut down the internet.

Kenya, Cape Verde, Niger and Senegal were the only African countries on the US-led “Declaration for the Future of the Internet” (DFI) list.

The DFI also obliges member states not to use the internet to undermine election infrastructure and influence election results.

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