January 20

Internet and Social Media Shutdowns Cost African Economies Over $2 Billion in 2019

By Yomi Kazeem

Shutting down internet and social media access—an increasingly popular choice for governments on the continent in response to protests and dissent—came at a cost of $2.1 billion last year.

Deliberate internet and social media blackouts lasted nearly 8,000 hours across Sub-Saharan Africa, according to analysis in The Global Cost of Internet Shutdowns in 2019 report. The report’s analysis excluded internet outages due to natural disasters or infrastructural failure. With losses of $8 billion attributed to internet and social media shutdowns around the world, Africa accounted for around 25% of global economic impact. It calculated the economic cost of blackouts using the Cost of Shutdown Tool (COST) developed by internet access advocacy groups, The Internet Society and Netblocks.

COST estimates economic impact of internet disruption and restrictions using indicators from the World Bank, International Telecommunication Union, Eurostat and U.S. Census with the estimated cost accounting for lost earnings across telecommunications networks as well as hobbled online payments for digital businesses.

Photo courtesy of CTA ACP-EU.

Source: Quartz Africa (link opens in a new window)

e-commerce, public policy, telecommunications