ITU Report: Kenya, Ghana and Rwanda bridging the digital divide

Kenya, Ghana and Rwanda are among the developing countries that are being seen as “dynamic ICT markets” and “catching up quickly in efforts to bridge the so-called ‘digital divide’” according to ITU’s Measuring the Information Society 2012, with other being Bahrain, Brazil and Saudi Arabia .

The report which was released today states that in the mobile sector, developing countries now account for the lion’s share of market growth adding that the price of ICT services dropped by 30 per cent between 2008 and 2011.

ICT Development Index (IDI) rankings for 2011 

(NB: Kenya is ranked at #116)

Globally, telecommunication and Internet services are becoming more affordable with the report’s ICT Price Basket (IPB) – which spans 161 economies and combines the average cost of fixed-telephone, mobile-cellular and fixed-broadband Internet services – noting that the biggest decrease has been seen in fixed- broadband internet services, where average prices have come down by 75 per cent.

“While prices in developed economies have stabilized, those in developing countries continue to fall at double-digit rates. Fixed-broadband services still remain too expensive in most developing countries: by end 2011, the price of a basic, monthly fixed-broadband package represented over 40 per cent of monthly gross national income (GNI) per capita. This compares to 1.7 per cent in developed economies,” states the report.

Affordability targets set in 2011 by the UN’s Broadband Commission for Digital Development, on which ITU serves as co-Vice Chair, set the targeted cost of an entry-level broadband subscription at less than 5 per cent of GNI.

“The past year has seen continued and almost universal growth in ICT uptake. The surge in numbers of mobile-broadband subscriptions in developing countries has brought the Internet to a multitude of new users. But despite the downward trend, prices remain relatively high in many low-income countries. For mobile broadband to replicate the mobile-cellular miracle and bring more people from developing countries online, 3G network coverage has to be extended and prices have to go down even further,” said Brahima Sanou, Director of TU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, which produces the annual report.