Expensive internet data hindering the African iGaming industry
Africa keeps expanding its gaming industry, but internet is still quite difficult for the majority of users to acquire in all parts of the continent.
According to multiple reports, this could change in the near future, as African leaders in the Smart Africa Alliance group have taken on the responsibility to make sure there is a 50% decrease in the cost of the internet in their respective countries starting from this year. This kind of progress by the African leaders is a favourable initiative for the African population that have been affected by added internet charges. It will also activate the progress of the digital transformation in Africa.
Nonetheless, one of the issues faced by the iGaming industry has been internet broadband connection and the extreme high costs of data bundles. According to a study conducted by Ecobank Research in 2018, Africa possesses the most expensive mobile data.
The three most expensive countries for mobile data were reported as being Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea, and Swaziland where a gigabyte of data costs more than $20. Comparing this to the rest of the continent, the average price is roughly $7.04 in most other countries.
Additionally, a large fraction of countries reported prices higher than the UN Broadband Commission target of 2% of monthly income. Their definition states that internet is considered affordable when 1.5 gigabytes of mobile data is equal to about 2% of average income.
Accordingly, this could constitute a problem as the vast majority of people in Africa have limited or no access to internet connection. It is reported that 800 million people live in areas without any type of network connection; and 44% of the global population who does not have coverage is located in Sub-Sharan Africa.
A World Bank report states: “To achieve universal broadband access, African countries will need to bring about 1.1 billion more people online.”
Makhtar Diop, the World Bank’s Vice President for Infrastructure, also said: “The working-age population in Africa is expected to increase by some 450 million people between 2015 and 2035. If current trends continue, less than one quarter will find stable jobs.”
Although the 100 million people living in rural and remote areas have absolutely no internet connection, it is predicted that the number of internet users will increase by 11% and will capture 16% of the total global figure. This positive move by African leaders is forecasted to bring some much-needed beneficial growth to the iGaming industry in Africa.