Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Why internet growth in Africa is slow - Study

A new study has revealed why the Internet growth on the African continent is slow, just as lack of local content is worsening the decline, reports ITRealms.

The study on “Promoting Content in Africa” led by the Internet Society examined Internet access and availability to get people online, was released at the ongoing African Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) holding in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

ITRealms gathered from the co-author of the report and Internet Society Fellow, Bastiaan Quast, that they looked critically at infrastructure, mostly in mobile networks, stressing that Internet adoption rates are slowing in many countries because users lack compelling reasons to connect.

In addition, Quast revealed, content and services are the main factors in making the Internet desirable, especially when the subject matter is relevant and in a language that users could easily understand.

Noting that lack of local content and services are affecting the number of new online users in Africa.

“In Sub-Saharan Africa in particular, local language content is key to bringing new users online, as many are not comfortable reading in English or French” part of the report read. 

The study also outlined the barriers to the development of local content and offers recommendations to improve local content availability and distribution.

In the Sub-Saharan countries, for instance, ITRealms reports that the majority of international and locally developed content are hosted outside the country, typically overseas. 

This, ITRealms reports, resulted in slow Internet speeds and higher access costs, just as in Rwanda for example, of all websites using the .RW domain names, only a small fraction were hosted in Rwanda.

“The majority of sites are hosted in Europe and the U.S.  Hosting content locally is key to making the Internet faster and more affordable for users,” ISOC said in the study.

As mobile financial services are becoming increasingly available in the African continent, monetizing mobile content is still a major challenge.

“Faster and better Internet access can help entrepreneurs create new local content including services and apps, but developers face barriers when it comes to payment mechanisms in order to monetize content,” Quast said.

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