A new internet divide study released by Surfshark, based on the annual digital well-being index (DQL 20220), has revealed that African countries have to work three times more than higher-income countries for three times slower internet.
According to Surfshark, the lowest-income countries in the DQL index, Ethiopia (115th in DQL) and Mali (102nd in DQL), are also the income group that experiences the sharpest internet divide.
The report reads, in part, that “People from these countries work 51 minutes (which is 14 times more than the highest-income countries) for mobile internet that is 68 Mbps slower. Broadband internet in these lowest-income countries is just 19 Mbps on average but is 8 times less affordable. In addition, the difficult political climates in these countries make internet access especially important – without it, the world is left in the dark about the issues in these countries.”
Surfshark indicated that people from lower-income countries (including most of Africa) must work approximately 11 minutes more than higher-income countries to afford 1GB of mobile internet, which is 49 Mbps slower. While lower-income countries work 17 minutes for 1 GB of mobile internet with 26 Mbps, while higher-income countries work 6 minutes for 1 GB of mobile internet with 75 Mbps.
26 Mbps – the average mobile internet speed in lower-income countries – is three times slower than in higher-income countries, creating limitations in what people can do online.
The research company highlights that Africa experiences the sharpest internet divide of all continents, with just 55 per cent of the population accessing the internet.
The company added that as of 2022, the internet in Africa is 83 per cent less affordable than in Oceania (the region with the most affordable internet), and the gap between these two regions keeps expanding yearly.
Agneska Sablovskaja, Surfshark’s Lead Researcher, said, “People who can’t access the internet are cut off from the digital opportunities that people from higher-income countries have. The internet is also very slow in many African countries. So even if people can afford the internet, they still face limitations in what they can do.”