Cost of Africa's internet shutdowns? $1m a day – quarter of a billion total | 10/3/2017 | Staff
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A new report estimates the cost to African countries routinely pulling the plug on their citizens' internet access is around $1m a day.

In the past two years, 12 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have imposed a range of internet shutdowns from full national blackouts of connectivity, to regional takedowns, to social media cutoffs, to curfews.

Days - Disruption - Time - Damage - Collaboration

In total, 236 days of disruption have occurred during that time, and have resulted in $237m of economic damage, according to the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA).

The figures for each nation vary widely, depending on how long internet access is cut off, the type of shutdown and the state of internet access and digital economy within a given country.

Ethiopia - Losses - Thanks - Days - Shutdown

Ethiopia suffered $132m in economic losses thanks to its 36 days of complete national and regional shutdown as well as seven days of social media restrictions, CIPESA estimated on Friday. Whereas Cameroon, which maintained a record-breaking 93 days of shutdown over a regional dispute, suffered less, comparatively, with economic damage of $39m.

The report also estimated the likely daily cost of an internet shutdown in one the region's most advanced economic, Kenya: $6.3m.

CIPESA - Model - Cost - People - Efforts

CIPESA built its own model to calculate the cost of cutting people off, following earlier efforts by the Brookings Institution and Boston Consulting Group that largely relied on calculating the percentage of a local economy reliant on internet access.

"Some of the parameters these previous studies were based on (e.g. average connection speed; percentage of businesses with internet access; e-commerce as a percentage of GDP) may be imprecise given the informal nature of many African economies, the centrality of mobile internet and mobile money in the Africa, or even the wide use of public access facilities," the CIPESA team argued.

Impact - Offline - Issue - CIPESA

The impact of being dumped offline is also not a binary issue, CIPESA noted:...
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