#AccessDenied: Starting the Conversation

In this day and age, most people are able to synonomize the word internet for “amazing”, “wonderful” and “convenient”.

This plethora of information has truly revolutionized the way we think and go about our daily duties, much to the point that we forget the one fundamental pillar that we all know the internet is about – access.

For those of us that are able to simply walk into our wifi zones it probably wouldn’t be a daily thought (unless the password has been changed).

But living on a continent where bridging the ICT gap has become a priority, it can make you wonder why some of our neighbouring brothers and sisters are still disconnected.

Penetration Rates:

According to Internet World Stats, the African continent only contributed to 9.8% of total internet users in the world in 2014.

While it was predicted that the world would have near to 3 billion internet users by the end of 2014, Africa still lags behind with only 3 countries making it into the top 25 for internet users in the last year.

Nigeria (23.6%), Egypt (15.5%) and South Africa (8.4%) made the cut as a result of high-mobile penetration rates which has afforded more people access to the internet.

However, concerns are still looming that we are not committed enough to ICT development despite these high rates.

ICT Development Index:

According to the United Nations International Telecommunication Union Measuring the Information Society Report for 2014, the African regional ICT Development Index (IDI) remains the lowest of all six regions of the world.

The IDI is a combination of three standards used to measure and compare developments of ICT’s across countries.

A country’s ICT Readiness (infrastructure, access), Use (intensity) and Capabilities (skills) are each examined to see the type of Impact they have.

Within our region only Mauritius (5,22) and Seychelles (4,97) – lie above the global IDI average (4,77).

Surprisingly, Nigeria, the most populous country doesn’t even make it in the top 100 of these rankings which could be an indicator for future problems in the ICT sector.

Even closer to home, South Africa with an IDI value of 4,42, falls below the global average, despite the large use of internet in the country.

According to the statistics, there are only 4 countries on our continent that make it into the top 100 of these rankings and that should be a cause for concern.

Where to from here?

At the moment, this all just seems like a bunch of numbers, but these numbers indicate that we are not effectively developing our ICT’s, yet we seemingly have the ?power? to do so.

The question is being put forward as to how we can change this.

Access is what gets you in, and access is where this conversation begins: but how do we go about addressing the politics of the internet?

Given the statistics, how big is this can of worms really, and are we using enough of them to bait the fish that will help us solve these problems?

I know this is just an overview of a much larger spectrum, but I think it is a good place to start.

This article summarizes some of today’s insights and if you want to look at some visual representations, be sure to check the infographic after the jump.

Let us engage on this ‘amazing, wonderful and convenient’ tool and see how far the rabbit hole goes  we have gone in terms of development.

Infographic: Global Internet Usage By the Numbers | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista


One thought on “#AccessDenied: Starting the Conversation

  1. You have highlighted a key problem – access.
    This really hit home today when a tutling of mine can’t complete her assignment in the holiday because it requires an online peer review process that can’t be accessed on a mobile.
    This tutling has no access to the internet at home, and an internet cafe is too far away #EasternCape

    Hopefully my department will be lenient and make a plan for this student.

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