Why Progress in Providing Internet Access to People in Africa is Worth Celebrating

About 66% of people in southern Africa are internet users. In East Africa the figure is 26%; it is only 24 percent in central Africa. People in rural areas have much less access than those in urban areas of the continent. In January 2023, the American company SpaceX, which manufactures and launches space and communication satellites, announced that its Starlink service is now available in Nigeria. This was the first time in this continent. It has since been found in Rwanda. Starlink is a satellite based internet service. It is expected to be launched in other parts of the continent, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya and Tanzania, later this year. More to come in 2024. This can be an important way to fill communication gaps in Africa, which have arisen due to poor digital infrastructure and the high cost of investing in fiber optic cables or cell phone poles, especially in rural and remote areas. The United Nations has a strategy to reach the whole world in Africa by 2030, but this will not happen without new methods.


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