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Africa brings up the rear in web index

African countries lag significantly in the new World Wide Web Foundation Global Web Index.

Designed and produced by the World Wide Web Foundation, the Web Index is the world’s first multi-dimensional measure of the Web’s growth, utility and impact on people and nations.

It covers 61 developed and developing countries, incorporating indicators that assess the political, economic and social impact of the Web, as well as indicators of Web connectivity and infrastructure.

Sweden was ranked best in the world at putting the Web to work, beating the US and UK for the top spot. However, the Web remains a largely untapped resource in much of the world, the study shows, with only 1 in 3 people using it globally and fewer than 1 in 6 in Africa.

Of the countries that appear at the bottom of the ranking, seven are in Africa and two are in the Asia-Pacific region. These include Nepal, Cameroon, Mali, Bangladesh, Namibia, Ethiopia, Benin, Burkina Faso and Zimbabwe.

The report said these low-ranking countries  suffer from ‘a vicious cycle of poor infrastructure and high costs of access’.  On average, the cost of broadband per region as a % of GDP per capita is 125.5% in Africa and only 1.7% in Europe and  4.9% in the Americas. In Africa, the percentage of population using the web is around 11.8%, while in the Americas it is 43.5% and in Europe, 67%.

In Africa, Tunisia was ranked the highest, and came in 30th place on the global list.  South Africa ranks second regionally, followed by Egypt and Mauritius. Kenya ranked 5th in the region overall, but first in terms of the economic impact of the Web in the region.

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