Lack of locally hosted content in African countries might be stifling growth of the Internet ecosystem on the continent. In the latest report from Internet Society (ISOC), it posited that in many developing countries and emerging regions, the vast majority of content accessed by local users is hosted abroad and this according to ISOC, “Have significant impact on the entire Internet ecosystem in a country”.

According to Micheal Kende, ISOC’s Chief Economist and co-author of the report, “Accessing any type of content abroad can be very costly for ISPs, and therefore, international links are often under-provisioned, resulting in slow access times that limit usage. Second, these increased costs for accessing international content are passed on to users, with high prices limiting usage. Finally, these limits on demand will, in turn, restrict the creation of further Internet content, keeping the entire ecosystem underdeveloped.”

Using Rwanda as a case study, the report which was co-authored by Mr. Kende and Karen Rose of the Strategy and Research office of the organization, recommends that policymakers, companies, and content entrepreneurs, should focus  on creating a positive enabling environment that will incentivise local hosting and service development. This according to the report will offer content providers a local choice, rather than imposing measures that artificially require local hosting.

Gbenga Onalaja Author

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