Africa Accounts for Less Than 1% of the Digital Economy – UN Digital Economy Report 2019

The latest United Nations Digital Economy Report 2019 by UNCTAD has revealed that Africa and Latin America account for less than one percent of the global digital economy while the United States and China dominate taking over two thirds of the total global digital market value.

On almost all fronts, Africa seems to be lagging behind which reveals the continent may be losing when it comes to the value of the digital economy.


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Here are more stats from the report:

  • U.S. and China dominate 2/3 of the total digital market value
  • Google and Facebook collected 65% of Internet advertising in 2017
  • Google took 95% of ‘Search Advertising’ revenue in Australia alone
  • Facebook took 46% of ‘Display Advertising’ revenue in Australia alone

  • U.S. and China account for 50% of global spending on IoT
  • U.S. and China account for more than 75% of the world’s market for public cloud computing
  • U.S. and China account for 90% of the market capitalization value of the world’s 70 largest digital platforms with U.S. taking up 68%

  • Half of the world’s population remains offline
  • The fastest annual growth rate in cloud traffic is expected to occur in the Middle East and Africa from 2016 – 2021
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, Google, IBM, and Alibaba account for over 75% of the global cloud infrastructure services market. AWS account for 75%

  • China and U.S. expected to reap the largest economic gains from AI. Africa and Latin America expected to see the lowest gains
  • Asia and North America account for 70% of all data traffic. Latin America, Middle East, and Africa together account for 10% of global IP traffic

  • Video to account for 80-90 percent of global IP traffic in the next 5 years
  • U.S. accounts for more than half of the top 100 websites globally
  • Africa and Latin America represent less than 1% of the total digital platforms number and market valuation. Only 2 have a valuation of over $1B

The report goes on to show that almost no African digital enterprise is creating a digital infrastructure that is in wide use and becomes embedded. This means Africa risks further falling behind in the digital economy.

The AfCFTA however was seen as a positive approach to enabling local digital enterprises to scale internationally by enabling global reach and facilitating cross-border e-commerce in Africa.

Taxation of the Internet and mobile money services in African countries like Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Zambia was also shown to result in a decline in the digital economy and the number of active Internet users.


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