Monday, August 31, 2020

Africans spend 62.8% monthly income on Smart phones


A survey conducted by Alliance for Affordable Internet has found that smartphone devices are the least affordable in Africa at 62. 8 per cent of average monthly income .

In a report titled ‘ From luxury to lifeline: Reducing the cost of mobile devices to reach universal Internet access ’ , A 4AI noted that the biggest barrier to Internet access today was cost .

Nearly 2. 5 billion people live in countries where the cost of the cheapest available smartphone is a quarter or more of the average monthly income , according to the report .

The report stated that Internet was still not affordable for many around the world , which applied to data and Internet - connected devices.

Covering 70 low and middle -income countries, the report provided a global survey of mobile handset costs , looking at the retail price and its affordability in relation to income .

The survey reported that in Africa , devices were least affordable at 62. 8 per cent of average monthly income compared with 11. 7 per cent in the Americas and 16. 2 per cent in Asia Pacific excluding India .

With India included , the Asia Pacific figure is 87. 4 per cent , owing to the country’ s role as an outlier with a very large population and high costs .

The report said in Sierra Leone , the average person needed to save six months ’ salary to buy the cheapest available smartphone .

While in India, where almost 18 per cent of the global population lives, the price of the cheapest smartphone was 206 per cent of the average monthly income .

Speaking on the findings , A 4AI noted that access to the Internet was critical , not only for individuals ’ wellbeing, but also for the health of a country’ s economy.

It said with the economic disruption of COVID -19, digital growth would be even more important for national economic performance .

A 4AI said , “ Now , being used for everything from remote learning and working to contact tracing and telehealth , internet connectivity has never been more important .

“ The COVID - 19 crisis has underlined that the internet and the devices that allow people to access it are not luxuries . These devices are lifelines. ”

The initiative said governments should be setting policy accordingly to ensure as many people as possible can buy them .

It recommended that governments and and multilateral bodies reduce taxes on low- cost devices, use Universal Service & Access Funds to subsidise devices and support projects to help people spread the cost of devices .

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