Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Ultra-Broadband

Internet Shutdowns Cost Africa $2B in 2019 – Report

Article Image
Sub-Saharan African economies lost out on $2.16 billion in economic activity during 2019 due to Internet blackouts and social media shutdowns, while the Middle East and North Africa felt an economic impact of $3.14 billion.

This is according to a new report from Top10VPN.com which analyzed every major Internet shutdown around the world in 2019. African countries dominated the list, with 12 of the 21 countries that experienced shutdowns being on the continent.

According to the report, major Internet blackouts and social media shutdowns cost African economies a combined $2.36 billion during the year.

The researchers found that there were more Internet shutdowns in 2019 than ever before, and the 18,000+ hours of Internet shutdowns around the world in 2019 cost the global economy $8.05 billion. This was a 235% increase in impact compared to $2.4 billion in 2015/16, according to the most recently available analysis.

Sudan, Algeria and Chad all feature in the top ten in terms of shutdown costs, while Internet access roadblocks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Mauritania, Egypt, Benin, Gabon, Eritrea and Liberia also impacted local economies. Overall Iraq was the most economically impacted nation, followed by Sudan and India.

Top10VPN.com defines an Internet shutdown as "an intentional disruption of internet or electronic communications, rendering them inaccessible or effectively unusable, for a specific population or within a location".

The report distinguishes between Internet blackouts -- where access to the Internet is completely cut off with no option for circumvention -- and social media shutdowns, where access to popular social media platforms, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter or YouTube, have been blocked but can typically be circumvented using a VPN.

"During our analysis of every Internet shutdown in 2019, some general trends emerged. They most often occur in response to protests or civil unrest, especially surrounding elections, as authoritarian regimes look to restrict the flow of information and maintain their grip on power," the report said.

"In economic terms, disruptions not only affect the formal economy but also the informal, especially in less well-developed nations. There can also be lasting damage with the loss of investor confidence and faltering development, all of which makes our estimates conservative."

African nations suffer
Sudan had the second highest economic impact globally of over $1.87 billion with Internet blackouts of 864 hours during 2019 and 696 hours of social media shutdowns.

The next African nation on the list was Algeria in sixth place, where 47 hours of Internet blackouts and three hours of social media shutdowns caused a total cost to the economy of $199.8 million. Chad followed in eighth place with a $125.9 million impact from social media shutdowns lasting 4,728 hours.

Sub-Saharan Africa had 7,800 hours of shutdowns, while the Middle East and North Africa had 577 hours of downtime in the year.

Cost by Country

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

Safaricom launches M-Pesa 'super app'

Safaricom has launched its long-awaited M-Pesa 'super app' with new features like offline mode as well as mini-apps within the app.

Story

Hot startup of the month: Nigeria's Bankly

Nigerian startup Bankly is digitizing cash for people who work in the informal sector and helping unbanked Nigerians save money, invest and gain access to credit and other financial services.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: May 2021

By Omdia Analysts

This month, Omdia's analysts provide context and analysis about new licenses for operators in Ethiopia and Uganda, and Nigeria's 5G rollout plans.

Story

Omdia View: April 2021

By Omdia Analysts

This month, Omdia's analysts provide context around Ethiopia's telecoms licensing process, Millicom's plans to exit Tanzania and Ghana, and Airtel Africa's successful capital raise.

More Guest Perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

AfricaCom perspectives

Story

Digital inclusion as a catalyst for economic empowerment: Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu

Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu talks to Connecting Africa about how digital payment solutions and mobile money are transforming the lives of small business owners, women and marginalized groups in East Africa.

Story

Accelerating women in STEM: In conversation with GirlCode's Tinyiko Simbine

GirlCode co-founder and CFO Tinyiko Simbine talks about why it's important to help girls and young women excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Story

How Poa Internet is unlocking meaningful connectivity in East Africa

Poa Internet's CEO Andy Halsall shares his views on what it takes to develop last-mile connectivity and get Africans online in a meaningful way.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Upcoming events

North Africa Com
July 13-14, 2021
Virtual Event
Asia Tech x Singapore
July 13-16, 2021
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
Africa Tech Festival
November 8-12, 2021
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Flash poll

All polls

Archived webinars

Technologies and business models to connect the next billion

Nearly half the planet remains unconnected at a time when COVID-19 has forced people’s reliance on the Internet and digital technologies higher than ever before. Bridging the digital divide to provide Mobile Internet access – the main driver of digital inclusion – is exceedingly important in the current context. Overcoming this connectivity crisis represents a growth opportunity for Mobile Network Operators (MNO) to expand their services outside of the crowded, highly competitive urban markets.

In this webinar we will focus on solutions that help MNOs close both the coverage gap and the usage gap.

Key topics include:

  • What are the barriers to overcome increased Mobile Internet adoption?
  • How to match deployments cost with expected revenue?
  • Operator success story

More Webinars

Sponsored video

More videos

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up