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Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Africa tops Internet access growth by 20-fold in decade

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has said that the number of Internet users in the Least Developed Countries of the world has grown by over 50-fold in the last decade, with Africa scoring 20-fold of this growth.
ITU Stats Shot Issue 7, showed that Internet user penetration in Africa grew by over 20-fold in the decade to 2010, from 0.5 per cent to 10.8 per cent.
This, ITU said, gave Africa higher Internet user penetration in 2010, than in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) five years earlier. In CIS, meanwhile, Internet penetration grew from 10.2 per cent in 2005 to 34.0 per cent in 2010.
This, industry observers said entails that Internet access multiplied by 50 x 50 during the last 10 years globally in the LDCs with Africa recording 20 of such folds, noting that LDCs forged ahead in mobile but still need to come online.
ITU Stats Shot published recently and made available to ITRealms Online informed that Internet access in LDCs has grown from well under a million to almost 38 million within the period under review. “While the number of urban residents in developing countries living in slum conditions grew from 767 million to 828 million in the past decade, the number of mobile cellular subscriptions grew from 2 to 280 million,” the report stated.
In 2010, ITU said, almost two thirds of people in LDCs had mobile cellular coverage, and mobile cellular penetration had reached 34 per cent – up from just 5 per cent only five years earlier, and close to the global figure for 2005.
“In just two of the 49 LDCs was mobile penetration still below 5 per cent in 2010,” part of the report read.
According to the report, Internet user penetration in LDCs grew from 0.1 per cent in the year 2000 to 4.6 per cent in 2010.
This, the report added, is still far below the target set by the LDC III conference in 2001, of having 10 per cent of people in LDCs online by 2010.
Mobile cellular and Internet user penetration, the report indicated, grew impressively in all regions of the world over the past decade.
Although, it added that mobile cellular penetration in Africa in 2010 was 45.2 per cent, which was higher than mobile cellular penetration in the Americas in 2004 with 42.8 per cent, even as mobile cellular penetration in the Americas grew to 94.5 per cent by 2010.
ITU further indicated that mobile cellular penetration in Asia and the Pacific in 2010 was 69.2 per cent; higher than mobile cellular penetration in Europe eight years earlier by 67.0 per cent, thereby recording mobile cellular penetration in Europe by 117.7 per cent by 2010.
Internet user penetration in Asia and the Pacific grew from 3.3 per cent in 2000 to 22.5 per cent in 2010, bringing it close to Internet user penetration in Europe nine years earlier with 23.0 per cent, stressing that by 2010, Internet user penetration in Europe had grown to 67.0 per cent.
ITU Stats Shot in a publication tagged ‘What a decade...?’ examined mobile penetration over 100 per cent in 97 economies with global Internet user penetration reaching 30 per cent, stressing that the first decade of the new Millennium saw extraordinary progress made in ICT development globally.
“While gaps still remain between the developed and developing world, especially concerning Internet use the developing world is only a few years behind.
At the end of 2010, ITU pointed out that while over 2.6 billion people worldwide still lacked access to toilets or other forms of improved sanitation, there were almost 4 billion mobile cellular subscriptions in the developing world.
Mobile cellular penetration in the developing world reached, the report said was 70 per cent at the end of 2010, just six years after reaching 70 per cent in the developed world.
Emphasising that in 2002, there were just two countries in the world with mobile cellular penetration with over 100 per cent.
“Eight years later, almost 100 economies had mobile cellular penetration over 100 per cent and 17 economies had penetration rates above 150 per cent,” part of the report read.
In addition, report stated that global Internet user penetration reached 30 per cent in 2010, just as Internet user penetration in developed countries reached 30 per cent just nine years earlier in 2001.
In 2000, ITU said, Internet user penetration was under 1 per cent in 72 economies and 10 years later, there were just six economies with Internet user penetration under 1 per cent, whereas the Internet user penetration in the developing world as a whole reached 21 per cent in 2010.
Pointing out that global Internet penetration in 2010 at 30 per cent was higher than global fixed 16 per cent or mobile at 12 per cent telephone penetration in the year 2000.
Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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