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Latest report released by Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), a social enterprise that connects under-served Nigerian youths with ICT-enabled opportunities has indicted African heads of states and governments in using policy summersaults to weaken the penetration of internet usage.
The report, titled: “Choking The Pipe: How Governments Hurt Internet Freedom On A Continent That Needs More Access,” argued that unless African governments change their approach to taxes and related policy directions in the internet penetration, Africa may continue to lag behind while Europe and Asia cover mileages.
The report was the white paper at the just concluded internet Governance Forum in Guadalajara, Mexico went ahead to profile the status of digital rights in Nigeria, and features information about the status of digital rights in 30 African countries.
Others featured in the report include five countries in Central Africa (Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo and Gabon); seven East African countries (Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda).
Four other countries in North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia); nine West African countries (Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Sierra Leone); and five countries in Southern Africa (Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe) were also profiled in the report.
According to PIN’s Programme Assistant, in charge of ICT Policy, Tomiwa Ilori, businesses in 2016 relied much on internet to achieve milestones and therefore needed to be allowed to grow seamlessly instead of several shutdowns
Internet shutdowns estimated to have cost countries about $2.4 billion last year is censorship and denial of access to the Internet, which is seen as a threat and violation of the right to information and communication.
According to Ilori, “a common trend for Internet shutdowns across the continent has been government orders to private telecommunications and Internet companies to cut off citizens from the Internet, and this shows that private businesses, including global businesses working in countries where they respect citizen rights – still act, in many cases, at the behest of governments across Africa.”
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