Authoritarian governments in Africa utilize Internet shutdowns as a new way of repression. They force all Africa group telecommunication providers to hit the off switch. And many South Africa internet users among others are experiencing a hard time because of the situation.
Updated on 22 September 2023
6 Countries Flick the Internet’s Off Switch
In the beginning of the year, there are at least six countries in Africa which have shut down internet access partially or completely. Like so, each of these governments used their authorities to have mobile operators comply in the said move.
In line with this, the official orders which impose internet access blocking as well as various messaging services caught Africa internet group shareholders and operators. According to experts, the orders stuck internet operators in between their moral duty in order to protect the freedom of their customer to communicate and their obligations to regulators.
Both the African Union and UN passed resolutions expressing their disagreement to the internet shutdowns. The two powerful unions agree that the shutdown is a way of violating human rights. However, disruptions are continually increasing in frequency and many South Africa internet users among others are receiving all the hassle brought by it.
On the other hand, the Democratic Republic of Congo fazes when internet access shuts down for as long as 20 days. This is prior to a broadly discredited presidential election day which was staged last December. Given that this internet shutdown is not what we normally experience. In fact, it was mandated by the government which stands its regulator. Therefore, France’s Orange and Vodafone of the UK says that they were given no choice any other than to comply.
Orange in Africa
As the second largest mobile network provider in Congo, Orange still followed the internet shutdown. It is due to the fact that it is an order by empowered authorities. Moreover, they have to compy in the mandate because it is actually under the terms of the company’s license.
In line with this, a spokesperson says that they were not able to oppose requests for internet restriction. It is especially that local regulations actually impose the restriction. The consequence is, if they will not respond on the said order, it will appear that they break their license obligations. Their disobedience might possibly impose heavy penalties on their employees as well.
The Economic Cost of Internet Shutdown
It is so sad to know that the internet shutdowns not only affects South Africa internet uses and other African counties in terms of connectivity. But also with its corresponding economic costs. As a matter of fact, South Africa internet access statistics including others say Telecommunication companies in Congo lost revenue of almost $40 Million. This is when the country experiences the 20-day shutdown.
In addition to that, NetBlocks suggests that there are nearly $64 Million economies that are a loss. And it would cost severe effects on countries like Nigeria which is the largest economy of Africa. Besides, shutting down internet access in the country for only a day would cost $134 Million.