Africa is undergoing a digital transformation fueled by urbanization, population growth, and increased digitization of services.
Investment in network infrastructure by governments, telecom companies, and startups is enhancing connectivity. Yet, the digital landscape varies across the continent, with leading countries and others facing challenges, influenced by factors such as government policies, investments, technology, and digital literacy.
The number of internet users worldwide is expected to reach 5.3 billion by 2023. The countries with the highest number of Internet users are China, India, and the United States.
Internet Penetration in Africa
- Between 2010 and 2021, the internet penetration rate across Sub-Saharan Africa grew from 9.6% to 33%
- By the end of 2021, 22% of the total population in Sub-Saharan Africa was using mobile internet
- Despite improvements, in 2022, only 36 percent of Africa’s population had broadband internet access
Facts On Ground
In terms of mobile internet speed, South Africa leads the way in Africa with an average download speed of 44.80 Mbps. Other countries in the top ten for mobile internet speeds include Mali, Morocco, Cameroon, Tunisia, Egypt, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, and Kenya.
On the other hand, when it comes to fixed broadband connections, Ghana takes the top spot with an average speed of 51.93 Mbps, while Guinea ranks as the poorest-performing African country in this category, with a speed of 6.66 Mbps.
It’s crucial to acknowledge that various sources may present slightly different rankings and criteria for measuring internet speed in Africa. For instance, a recent Surfshark study declared South Africa as having the best internet in the entire continent, despite its lower global ranking at 663. In contrast, a Statista study for 2021 placed Mauritius at the top for internet connectivity quality in Africa, with Egypt as a close second.
A recent report from rfbenchmark.eu delves into the mobile Internet quality and speed in Africa for the first half of 2023. They examined three key indicators: average data download speed, average data upload speed, and average ping value.
- Average data download speed: South Africa takes the lead with an impressive 45.04 Mbps, thanks to its well-developed infrastructure and strong regulatory environment. Morocco follows closely with 37.26 Mbps, benefiting from its strategic location and foreign investments, and Togo ranks third with 35.98 Mbps, making significant improvements despite being smaller.
- Average data upload speed: Tunisia leads with 14.34 Mbps, focusing on ICT development and the digital economy. Uganda follows with 13.48 Mbps, driven by mobile money and digital services, and Mauritius ranks third with 12.58 Mbps, known for robust ICT policies and infrastructure.
- Ping: Togo records the best average ping value at just 19 ms, despite its size, showcasing substantial improvements in mobile Internet quality. Mauritius and Senegal, with ICT central to their development strategies, follow closely with 20 ms and 21 ms, respectively.
Overall, South Africa appears to have the fastest mobile internet speed in Africa, while Ghana has the fastest fixed broadband connection.