The Internet first came to Africa in the 80s when the first Internet networking system was setup in South Africa. Then came the the first dial-up connection (to France) connected Africa to the Internet for the first time in 1993. By the late 90s, the first proposal for a Regional Internet Registry for Africa (which went on to become AFRINIC) was already being worked on.
In 2001, the first major subsea Internet cable connecting Africa was installed and by 2008 internet penetration had passed 5% for the first time ever, nearly a decade behind the world average. Today, Internet penetration in Africa stands at 35.2% (as at December, 2017).
Compared to the global average of 58.4%, Africa is quite a ways behind as far as Internet penetration is concerned. But how fast (or slow) is the Internet in African countries? The Worldwide Broadband Speed League Report 2018 has all the numbers and we went through it to distill an Africa-focused list. Here are the top 5:
The small island country takes top position in Africa with average download speeds of 24.87Mbps ranking 22nd in the world above countries like France, Germany and Portugal.
48 million-strong Kenya takes the second spot on the continent with broadband speeds of 10.11Mbps – less than half the broadband speeds found in Madagascar. Globally, Kenya ranks 64th above European countries like Israel and Belarus.
- South Africa
The rainbow nation takes third position in Africa with average speeds of 6.38Mbps and 76th in the global rankings, above Indonesia, Bahrain and India.
- Cabo Verde
The tiny nation of roughly 540,000 people comes in fourth with speeds of 3.24Mbps (nearly half of South Africa’s average broadband speeds). Globally, it’s ranked 115th climbing five places from 120th in 2017.
The Gold Coast rounds up the top five with the fifth highest broadband speeds in Africa (2.88Mbps) and a global ranking of 120th after falling 10 places since 2017.