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Monday, 12 August 2013

Zambia's Internet Surge

Zambians are getting on the Internet in droves thanks to mobile Internet. As I recently said the march of free expression and information in our country is unstoppable.

Question :  is this momentum likely to be sustained or will it fall away? What impact is it likely to have have if it continues in the next five years?  Share in the comments below.

Chola Mukanga | Economist | Writer
Copyright © Zambian Economist 2013


  1. Do you have any data for things like AS numbers, interconnection, data centres within Zambia? I'm currently interested in the quality of Internet development, for want of a better word.

  2. I have no doubt that the trend will continue.
    There are several factors that are driving this wave of internet adoption in not only Zambia but the rest of the world, and i believe the biggest to be
    -internet-enabled mobile phones and
    -social media
    You see, finally the ordinary young Zambian has something that is of real value to him - relevant content a.k.a social media. It is such a powerful and yet belittled force in today's information age that it is causing many changes without credit.
    Let's fast forward to 2018, five years from now and assume that we have a much bigger penetration rate because there will be faster and cheaper internet for a number of reasons - I see the following:
    -A more informed population since there will be an access to information law, our government will be under a lot more scrutiny from the masses.
    -More central government services will be delivered electronically and mind you the government cannot stop this from happening (think Company Rego office PACRA, ZRA tax online and vehicle registration, electronic medical records, police databases etc)
    -Businesses will adopt eCommerce, properly this time around as many more people WILL have access to payment systems like VISA or mobile payments

    What do we need to do as a nation to get there?:
    -The time for more local content is here, so I personally would like our ".zm" domain names run by a proper domain registry (perhaps Computer Society of Zambia) and have them encourage ownership of these. Currently Zamnet and Coppernet are the only ones profiting from these and it is a serious conflict of interest on their part.
    -How about Zambia gets a communication satellite into orbit and blast the internet through the optic cables we already own back outward to our neighbors (hows that for the poor landlocked country, huh?). The numbers add up...i have worked it the math. In practice there are other details to consider but it is not impossible.

    What effect it will have:
    Overall i believe the cogwheels of Zambia's economy will turn faster resulting in a more efficient population that leaks less resources and therefore becoming wealthier.
    It benefits us all to make Zambia the internet technology powerhouse of SADC, our landlocked position is not a disadvantage but an advantage to be harnessed.


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