Internet penetration in Africa : A growing trend

Internet penetration in Africa : A growing trend

Internet Penetration in Africa: A Growing Trend with Significant Barriers

Internet penetration in Africa has made significant strides in recent years, with the number of internet users growing to approximately 646 million in January 2024. This represents about 38% of the continent’s population, with projections suggesting that the number will surpass 1.1 billion by 2029.

Mobile Devices Drive Internet Adoption

Mobile phones have been instrumental in driving internet adoption in Africa, with around 74% of web traffic in Africa coming from mobile devices as of early January 2024. Mobile connections are cheaper and more accessible, especially in rural areas where fixed-line internet connections are scarce.

Country-wise Internet Penetration

Internet penetration varies significantly across different countries in Africa. Morocco has the highest internet penetration, with around 91% of its population using the internet, followed by Libya and Seychelles with 88% and 87% penetration, respectively. On the other hand, South Sudan, Burundi, and the Central African Republic have the lowest internet penetration, with less than 10% of their population using the internet.

Barriers to Internet Penetration

Despite the growth in internet penetration, there are significant barriers that hinder the spread of internet usage in Africa. Some of the significant challenges include:

  • Insufficient infrastructure: Many African countries lack the necessary infrastructure to support internet connectivity, especially in rural areas.
  • Affordability: Internet-enabled mobile handsets and data plans are often expensive, making it difficult for people in low-income countries to access the internet.
  • Lack of literacy and digital skills: Many Africans lack the necessary skills to effectively use the internet, making it a significant barrier to adoption. Political and social issues: Political instability, censorship, and social issues like poverty and inequality also hinder internet adoption in some African countries.


Internet penetration in Africa is growing at a rapid pace, driven primarily by mobile devices. However, there are significant challenges that need to be addressed to ensure that the internet is accessible to all Africans. Governments, private sector companies, and international organizations need to work together to develop the necessary infrastructure, make internet-enabled devices and data plans more affordable, and provide training and education to enhance digital literacy and skills. With the internet playing an increasingly important role in modern life, it is essential that Africa is not left behind in the digital revolution.


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