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Nigeria and other African Countries Lose $1.74 Billion to Internet shutdowns

By Oluchukwu Ikemefuna

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Government-caused Internet shutdowns cost Sub-Saharan African nations $1.74 billion in 2023, according to a recent analysis by the international VPN review website Top10vpn. After Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa ranked second.

Internet shutdowns

The loss occurred over 30,785 hours, impacting 84.8 million Internet users. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) area came in fourth place after Asia, with a $1.44 billion loss in revenue and 16,547 hours of disruption that affected 105.04 million users.

Internet Outages Around The World 

The global economic impact of significant planned Internet outages and social media shutdowns globally in 2023 was evaluated in the Global Cost of Internet Shutdowns report.

The report states that during 2023, these actions caused an economic loss of over $9 billion globally, affecting 747 million people.

The report claimed that in 2023, government internet outages in 25 countries that lasted more than 79,000 hours cost the world economy $9.01 billion.

Nigeria stood out as one of the few sub-Saharan African nations to escape internet outages in 2023, according to the report.

According to experts, the lack of a government-imposed internet shutdown shows that people in that nation have constant, unfettered access to the internet, enabling them to interact, obtain information, and engage in online activities.

Internet Shutdowns Statistics In Africa 

Notably, when the government banned Twitter (now X) in 2021, Nigeria led Africa in the number of internet shutdowns, but in 2023, there were none. The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) estimates that Nigeria lost N10.72 trillion as a result of the Twitter ban that was in place from June 5, 2021, to January 13, 2022.

Ethiopia, which lost a substantial $1.59 billion and accounted for 91% of the region’s overall financial losses in 2023, was identified by the report as the worst-hit nation. The Ethiopian government shut down the internet for 14,910 hours in total, citing the need to put an end to protests that had been sparked by tensions between different religions.

There were restrictions on popular platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Telegram, and TikTok, which impacted about 29.8 million internet users nationwide.

Fourth in the world, the Middle East and North Africa region suffered a $1.44 billion loss in revenue and 16,547 hours of disruption, impacting 105.04 million users.

Ethiopia came in second with a loss of $1.9 billion, above Iran’s $920.3 million, and Russia suffered a larger loss of $4.02 billion.

Effects Of Internet Shutdowns

Overall, there were 3,811 hours of social media shutdowns and 135 hours of Internet blackouts; the cost of the Internet restrictions came to $57.4 million.

The loss of communication, information, and service access are just a few of the negative effects of shutting down the Internet, which could drastically disturb people’s lives. 

Internet outages may also lead to a decline in economic expansion as well as a loss of investment and commercial opportunities.

It is critical to acknowledge that Internet shutdowns violate people’s freedom of speech and human rights. Internet shutdowns have been denounced by the UN, which claims they “cannot be justified under international human rights law” and are “inherently disproportionate and unjustified.”

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Abdullahi Kafayat
Abdullahi Kafayat

Abdullahi Kafayat is an enthusiastic writer interested in the tech world. She's a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University and has a BSc in Chemistry. You can reach her at Kafayatabdullahi17@gmail.com.

Articles: 391

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