- Study reveals that South Africans are the most internet-addicted people globally
- The data from South Africa is the highest in the world
- An average South African spends at least 9.5 hours on the internet daily
- The global average of daily internet usage stands at an average of 6 hours and 37 minutes
In December last year, African Exponent published an article titled ‘Africa Shocks the World, Launches First Humanoid Robot.’ The article revealed how the continent dwarfed international projections – not only in technological advancement but in its internet integration.
In another news which will no doubt have shocked many across the globe, an African country has been named the nation with the highest internet access globally.
According to a recent report released by renowned Delaware-based virtual private network (VPN) platform – Atlas VPN, South Africa had the highest internet access in the 2022/2023 review. The report revealed that South Africans spent at least 9.5 hours a day online within the period in review.
The data puts South Africa as the highest in the world, exceeding the global figure by around three hours. Atlas VPN reported that the average time a person spent browsing the internet globally in 2022 was 6 hours and 37 minutes.
Thus, despite the revelation that the average time spent online daily by people worldwide dropped by 20 minutes, the African nation remains miles ahead of the pack.
For the study, Atlas VPN revealed that it collated data from social media research firm – We Are Social, and social media intelligence platform Meltwater to arrive at its conclusions. The data was collected from millions of users between the ages of 16 and 64 and targeted 46 countries globally.
Why South Africa?
Many experts from different parts of the world agree with the submission that it is not a coincidence that Africa’s third-largest economy, with a Nominal GDP of 422 billion U.S. dollars, was named as the country with the highest internet access.
They claim that the report gives credit to a 2020 World Bank data which stated that up to 70% of South Africans had access to the web. However, current World Bank data also revealed that the figure could be higher now, given the increasing internet penetration in South Africa and across the African continent.
Like many other African countries, South Africa is deliberate in its goal to achieve internet access for all its citizens. By the first quarter of 2023, South Africa had 43.48 million internet users—its overall population is 60.14 million—showing a penetration of 72.3%.
The country’s government, led by Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, has vowed to ensure internet access to all South African homes by 2024. However, South Africa can easily achieve the goal of internet access for all if the government matches its words with actions and continues to involve stakeholders to achieve effective public-private partnerships.
In 2021, the country’s internet and digital quality were ranked 68th globally, but its mobile broadband affordability and internet stability remain one of the best in the world.
The Atlas VPN study indicates that getting information (57.8%), staying in touch with friends and family (53.7%), keeping up to date with news and events (50.9%), watching videos (49.7%), and getting to know how to do things (47.6%) were the five main reasons people spend time online.
Top Five Countries with Highest Internet Access in the World
Brazil (9 hours and 32 minutes), the Philippines (9 hours and 14 minutes), Argentina, and Colombia—tied at 9 hours and 1 minute—followed South Africa regarding internet access.
“People in the United States also spend an above-average amount of time online, dedicating 419 minutes (6 hours and 59 minutes) daily to internet browsing—same as people living in Singapore,” the report said.
On the other hand, several European countries, such as Denmark, Austria, and Germany, spent less time online than the global average.
East Asian countries were the farthest behind. China’s figure stood at five hours and 25 minutes, Japan’s at three hours and 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, the average time spent online has decreased as the world moves past the covid phase. In 2022, it was less by 20 minutes, or 4.8%, from 2021.
Credit: Atlas VPN, Quartz Africa, World Bank Data