Despite the introduction of Starlink, 5G infrastructure, and other efforts to increase internet coverage, cable research found that Africa still has sluggish internet speeds. The Sub-Saharan area ranks 12th (second to last) in the global broadband speed league table. Surprisingly, Northern Africa is ranked lowest.
According to Cable, the data was collected over a 12-month period that ended on June 30, 2023. During that period, it performed 1.3 billion speed tests across 220 countries and territories.
Some nations aren’t included in the study because less than 100 samples were collected from each of them, according to Cable. Eritrea, North Korea, and the Central African Republic are among the countries in this category.
According to the chart, the top five countries with the fastest broadband are Jersey (264 Mbps), Liechtenstein (246 Mbps), Macau (231 Mbps), Iceland (229 Mbps), and Gibraltar (206 Mbps). It’s worth noting that Jersey is the world’s first jurisdiction to supply pure fibre to every broadband customer.
Furthermore, Jersey Telecom offers clients a download speed of at least 944 MBps. A 5-GB video would take a Jersey resident 2 minutes and 35 seconds to download.
The slowest network speeds are found in Equatorial Guinea (2.7 Mbps), East Timor (2.5 Mbps), Syria (2.3 Mbps), Yemen (1.79 Mbps), and Afghanistan (1.71 Mbps). In Afghanistan, downloading a 5-GB video would take 6 hours and 38 minutes.
The internet speed in Sub-Saharan Africa in detail
As previously stated, the SSA area ranks 12th, barely one position above the bottom of the chart. Cable claims to have polled 47 nations in the area. According to the data, the average download speed for SSA is 12.11 Mbps. More than 30 million speed tests were performed, with 3 million distinct IP addresses tested. A 5-GB movie would take an average of 1 hour and 29 minutes to download, according to Cable.
Meanwhile, Réunion (45.51 Mbps, 79th), Rwanda (39.89 Mbps, 99th), South Africa (36.46 Mbps, 104th), and Burkina Faso (35.64 Mbps, 108th) were in the top half of the ranking for network speeds. The other 43 countries made up the bottom (slowest) half of the list. Nigeria ranked 133rd in the world with a download speed of 20.83 Mbps and an average download time of 32 minutes for a 5GB video.
Equatorial Guinea (2.70 Mbps, 216th), Cameroon (3.16 Mbps, 213th), Ethiopia (3.54 Mbps, 212th), and Burundi (3.70 Mbps, 211th) were among the 43 nations with the poorest network speeds.
North Africa has the slowest internet speed
North Africa, long seen as a rising star in finance, has gained a new title: the region with the slowest network speed. Cable granted it the title since it averaged 9.81 Mbps.
Cable ran 14 million speed tests in North Africa, with 4.4 million distinct IP addresses included. According to the data, downloading a 5-GB movie in North Africa would take 1 hour and 15 minutes. Morocco (16.49 Mbps, 144th) has the fastest internet speed in the area out of the six nations studied. Egypt (9.75 Mbps, 172nd) and Tunisia (9.60 Mbps, 174th) come in second and third place, respectively.
Meanwhile, Libya has the region’s poorest network speed of 6.32 Mbps. It is ranked 195th. Algeria (7.3 Mbps, ranked 187th) and Mauritania (8.95 Mbps, ranked 182nd) have significantly faster speeds.
More work is required
The study’s findings led to one conclusion: Africa must spend extensively on ICT infrastructure. In addition to enhancing network speeds, ICT investments benefit the continent’s economies.
Rwanda can serve as a model for the rest of the continent. Despite being a landlocked country with few resources, it has shown significant economic potential. Following its outstanding score in the test, one might conclude that its efforts to increase the country’s internet penetration are paying off.
Following Starlink’s introduction into the Rwandan market earlier this year, the ICT ministry reported that 50 schools are now using satellite internet for educational purposes. This, along with the government’s intentions to provide teachers with laptop computers by 2025, are commendable initiatives. Studying Rwanda can benefit the rest of Africa, particularly those with the slowest internet connections.