Saturday, September 30, 2023

Internet access in the Arab world reveals a deep digital fracture

Digital connectivity figures constitute a reliable picture of the level of development in many geographical areas of the planet. Since January 2023, the number of people with access to the internet has exceeded the symbolic number of 5 billion for the first time in history. In other words: 65% of the 7,930 million inhabitants are connected to the global network, the most decisive human revolution in recent centuries. In 2022 alone, more than 200 million people.

Digital penetration in the Arab world is uneven. The statistics show a significant technological divide between the Gulf countries and the rest of the Arab geography. the Arabian Peninsularegisters a level of global connectivity and use of mobile telephony comparable to the most advanced societies in the world, except Yemen. Saudi Arabia, Emirates and Kuwaitto cite only three examples, achieving a degree of almost perfect coverage, as shown in the Digital 2022 April Global Statschot report, published by Data Reportal.

on United Arab Emirates, there are now 9.3 million internet users, representing 99% of the population. The study showed that only 94,000 people did not have access to the global network last year. In general, your data about new technologies is very good. The number of users of the social network has reached 10 million, while the number of mobile connections has doubled the number of inhabitants of the country. The quality of the internet supply is also very high. Mobile phones have an average of 139 megabytes and computers go up to 186.

Saudi Arabia shows a similar panorama. 99% of its 36.3 million inhabitants are connected to the internet. In 2022 alone, the number increased to 539,000 new users. The Data Reportal report shows that 367,000 people they have no access on the internet last year. Social networks in Saudi Arabia have less popular penetration than in the Emirates. Its users stand at 29 million, the 79% of the population. In mobile connections it also registers lower data than the neighboring country. It is important to emphasize that in both cases the urban population represents almost 86% of the total, a basic indicator of the level of technology and social development.

Kuwait, for its part, has a digital x-ray similar to that of the other two Gulf countries reviewed above. Only 42,000 people are not connected to the internet in 2022, that is, a 1% of its 4.2 million inhabitants. The incidence of social networks (84%) and mobile connections (178%) also registered a very high level of activity. In this case, there is no significant coverage of the rural population.

Outside of the Gulf countries, the social penetration of the Internet is changing the Arab world dramatically. Just a few kilometers to the south, on the western tip of the Arabian Peninsula, digital reality describes a country, in many aspects, located in the pre-industrial era. We are talking about Yemen. Beyond the civil war that has devastated the country since 2014, the Data Reportal report confirms an extremely low level of internet connectivity. only 27% of its 34 million inhabitants have access to the global network. In other words: 25 million Yemenis cannot connect to the great planetary information highway. Mobile connections, however, are estimated at 19.6 million, 58% of the total population, where it can be determined that many of them are grouped in a limited social layer. Social networks, by the way, have a low incidence (9%).

Syria It has also experienced a decline in the level of digital activity, which is predictable due to the prolonged civil war. Only 8 of its 23 million inhabitants surf the Internet, representing the 36% of the population. And the 16 million mobile connections barely reach 69% of the country, considering that many thousands of these lines may belong to companies and institutions, or are concentrated in a few hands. Syria has a very young average population (22 years old), of which 43% live in rural areas.

Egypt It has already made a remarkable leap in terms of internet access. 72% of its 112 million inhabitants have a network, although 31 million are outside the digital community. Activity on social networks is low: 41% of the population. And it has almost as many mobile connections as inhabitants: 105 million. The quality of transmissions is not very good. Only 22 megabytes for mobile traffic and 46 for computers. she 57% of the population He lives in a rural world and the average age is very young: 24 years.

In the two most important countries of the Maghreb, the digital landscape is uneven. Morocco It has a high incidence among internet users. 84% of its 38 million citizens are connected. Of course: 6 million still do not have access to global space. In social networks, the activity is very high: 63% of its inhabitants. YouTube is the most used channel: 21 million people (57%). They are followed by Facebook (50%) and Instagram (25%), TikTok (23%) and Twitter (8%). And, for a total population of 38 million people, there are 49 million mobile connections. The average age in the country is young, but higher than its sister communities in the Middle East: 30 years.

Algeria, on the other hand, shows a weaker digital landscape than Morocco. With 44 million inhabitants, only 26 million have access to the internet, representing 60% of the population. Its dynamics in social networks is also lower (57%) and the number of mobile connections almost matches the number of inhabitants: 47 million. In fact, Algeria is a more urbanized country than its neighbor in the Maghreb: the 74% live in citiesnine points ahead of Morocco.

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Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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