Nigeria was listed as the eighth country among the top ten that saw the most economic damage from internet outages in 2022, according to a recent survey. The greatest economy in Africa suffered a $82.7 million loss over a period of 287 hours that impacted 104,400,000 internet users. The updated statistic shows that the $81.45 billion value in 2021 has decreased by 94%. The government of Nigeria’s seven-month Twitter ban, which ran from June 2021 to January 2022, was cited as a major factor in Nigeria’s internet blackout in 2022.
According to reports, Nigeria lost N104.02 million ($250,600) every hour as a result of the Twitter ban, for a total loss of N2.45 billion per day. After 222 days, the ban was purportedly lifted by the Nigerian government at a cost to the country’s economy of N546.5 billion. The prohibition cost neighborhood businesses both online sales and potential sales to large audiences. The decision to impose the restriction was made just one day after Twitter took down a message from Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in which he promised to punish separatists in the region who were allegedly responsible for attacks on government institutions.
The economic impact of internet outages is significant.
Nonetheless, Sub-Saharan Africa lost an estimated $244.2 million as a result of the internet outage between January and August 2022, with Ethiopia responsible for more than half with $130.2 million. This is a consequence of the Tigray war that took place in the nation. Since a war broke out between federal government troops and forces commanded by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which lasted from November 3, 2020, to November 3, 2022, Tigray, which is home to more than 5 million people, has largely been without internet, telecommunications, and banking.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed defended the internet blackout in Tigray by claiming that it encouraged the spread of misinformation while the country battled with an armed insurrection in the north. Internet outages seriously harm a country, investors king is aware of this. Governments, especially those in Africa, should refrain from enforcing shutdowns because to their indiscriminate and unequal impact. The impact of internet outages on a nation’s economy is significant. It interferes with business, industry, and even simple financial activities. As a result, the economic and social disparities in the nation continue to grow, and the digital gap widens.
Internet connectivity is still poor in Nigeria.
In a nation like Nigeria, an internet outage is problematic because it exacerbates the already costly issue of poor internet connectivity. In 2021, Nigeria was reported to have one of the most expensive internet services in the world. According to the Global Internet Value Index published by Surfshark, a cybersecurity company with offices in Amsterdam, Nigerians overpay for the internet they receive when compared to other nations across the world. Nigeria is ranked 109th globally with an index of 0.0017, 44 times lower than the average for all 117 nations evaluated. The nation is ranked 16th in the region, with an index that is 56% below the average for Africa.
Despite the high cost of internet in Nigeria, 38% of the country’s population is online, with a goal of reaching the predicted 70% by 2025. In Nigeria, there are 152.2 million service subscribers, and as of January, broadband penetration was 44.65%, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). Similar to the rest of Africa, occurrences of internet outages in Nigeria violate human rights, increase the digital gap, and cause a deluge of losses for companies that rely on the internet. To put things in perspective, the 222-day Twitter suspension cost the Nigerian economy about N546.5 billion.
Nigeria just can’t afford another internet shutdown.
Over time, Nigeria has witnessed a resurgence in technology and creativity across a variety of industries, including music and cinema, fashion and lifestyle, finance, gaming, and the automobile industry. These industries directly support Nigeria’s economy, and any normalization of internet outages would be disastrous for the expansion and advancement of the national economy. Due to internet outages during critical times, people have lost careers, possibilities for education and funding, access to important services, and in some cases, their lives.
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