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4 reasons why Internet usage in Africa is a fraction of that in the West

  • By Alan Knott-Craig
  • October 10, 2014


  1. Most Africans are Internet-virgins. Streaming video and playing World of Warcraft is not on the average African’s list of things to do on the Internet. The heaviest usage is watching music videos on YouTube.
  2. Devices are mostly mobile, and therefore have limited screen size and keyboard functionality. Again, this means most Africans are not ready for video and gaming.
  3. Most Africans access the Internet using 3G via prepaid SIM cards. Data is priced per MB. Because the user is unsure exactly how much data is being consumed by a website, he/she is loathe to wantonly surf the Web. This “fear of consumption” does not apply to voice calls. When making a call the user knows the exact number of minutes being used, and the effect on his/her prepaid airtime.
  4. Access to the Internet via 3G is too expensive for most Africans. There is 3G coverage for almost every densely population area on the continent. The problem is not access. The problem is affordability.