For the first time, more than half of the world’s population is using the Internet and it is sub-Saharan Africa that is making the greatest progress.
The ITU, a United Nations agency devoted to information and communication technologies, released a report Friday that estimates that 3.9 billion people, or 51.2 percent of the planet, are using the Internet as of the end of this year.
“Of all ITU regions, the strongest growth was reported in Africa, where the percentage of people using the Internet increased from 2.1 per cent in 2005 to 24.4 per cent in 2018,” the ITU said. Their regional boundaries do not include North Africa, which is grouped with the Arab states in the report – a region where 54.7 percent of people are using Internet services.
In Africa, the proportion of households with access to a computer increased from 3.6 per cent in 2005 to 9.2 per cent in 2018.
“This represents an important step towards a more inclusive global information society,” said Houlin Zhao, the ITU Secretary General. “However, far too many people around the world are still waiting to reap the benefits of the digital economy.”
That’s especially true for women and girls, older people and those with physical challenges.
Mobile access to basic telecommunication services is becoming “ever more predominant,” with growth in the last five years driven by countries in the Africa and Asia-Pacific regions. The strongest growth in mobile broadband subscriptions has been observed across the Asia-Pacific, the Arab States and Africa. Now at 96 percent, almost the entire world has mobile network coverage.
The complete report will be available here.