The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI)
assessed 136 low and middle-income countries for their annual Affordability Report.
Middle-income examples from the report include Malaysia, Colombia, India, Jamaica, South Africa, and Ghana, while low income examples were Nepal, Mali, Haiti, Liberia, Yemen, and Mozambique.
The A4AI is an initiative of The Web Foundation, founded by inventor of the Web Tim Berners-Lee, with partner organizations that include Google and Facebook.
The A4AI defines affordability as 1GB of mobile broadband data costing no more than 2% of average monthly income. But the average across the African continent is 7.12%, and in some cases 1GB costs more than a fifth of average earnings.
Such prices are “too expensive for all but the wealthiest few,” the report states, citing cost as the primary reason why an estimated 49% of the global population remains offline
The report authors argue that sluggish markets and monopolies are a primary cause of high prices and offer several policy prescriptions to address the issue.
‘Competition is core to success’
African countries are subject to the least affordable internet prices in the world, according to A4AI data
Citizens of Chad, DR Congo, and the Central African Republic must all pay more than 20% of average earnings for 1GB of mobile broadband data. By contrast, the most affordable rates in the continent are in Egypt at 0.5% and Mauritius at 0.59%.
Overall, the report found that costs are falling faster in low-income countries than middle-income counterparts, but in many cases prices remain prohibitive.