Introduction: 1991-2011: 20 years of Internet Development in Africa

Pierre Dandjinou


[doc file download]

Africa is currently the continent of 120 million Internet users out of its one billion inhabitants, and moreover it has

one of the highest rate for mobile telephony adoption, with its 500 million mobile telephony users; more than a dozen

submarine cables have been laid or are in the process, and are thus connecting it to the global world; also, from the

first day the first Internet message was exchanged with the continent, a lot has been achieved with Africa currently

being seen as the last frontier through a scramble that sees the likes of Google, Facebook, Nokia and soon the Android

OS which all put Internet in the hands of more millions of Africans with incommensurable services. Against this backdrop,

it may be fit to look back and measure progress and successes. One key factor in the development was capacity building

and a few global institutions and organizations were instrumental to forming the critical mass that could face the issues

surrounding Internet development in Africa. The Internet Society is one of these organizations, whose programs and

activities have been largely contributing to training Africa networking professionals as well as users. Internet Society's

chapters have been established in many African countries, and are at the forefront of Internet development in the dark continent.

In the last fifteen years, Africa has seen the growth of a few professional associations which sought to tackle one and other

issue related to the Internet. Thus, the early crafted Africa Internet Group (AIG) in 1998 was soon overtaken by much more

focused groups which embarked on building capacity of network operators, forming the continental Internet registry, managing

country code top level domains, interconnecting African campus networks, building research and education networks and

currently working on content development and services delivery. This changing environment needs to be well understood,

its rationale spotted and its further evolutions outlined. A collaborative book by all who contributed to the birth of the Africa

Internet and its potential development seems to be a good artifact to link generations of pioneers and developers to the today's

digital generation of Africa.

Year Table (Africa)


Population (Year)

826,717,091 (2000) 1,013,779,050 (2010) 1,037,524,058 (2011)

Internet Population (Year)

4,514,400 (2000) 110,931,700 (2010) 139,875,242 (2011)

Broadband Population (Year)

1,000,000 (2010)

IP Address Allocation (Year) :

Number of IPv4 addresses: 44,967,680 (2012)

Number of IPv6/48s: 21,627,220 (2012)


[Abba 1992] Laura Abba, Stefano Giordano, and Stefano Trumpy, “RINAF: A network interconnection project of academic and research institutions in Africa,” Proc. 1992 INET, Kobe, June 1992.

[AAF 2012] AAF(Africa Asia Forum on Network Research & Engineering), 2012.

[AfNOG 2012] AfNOG (The African Network Operators' Group) ,, 2012.

[AfriNIC 2012] AfriNIC (The Internet Numbers Registry for Africa),, 2012.

[AfTLD 2012] AfTLD (African Top Level Domains Organization),, 2012.

[AAU 2012] AAU (Association of African Universities),, 2012.

[Dandjinou 1998] Pierre Dandjinou (Editor), Proceedings of Regional African Internet Governance Conference, AIG/98. Cotonou, 1998.

[ISOC 200?] Internet Society, History of Internet in Africa: Some African Pioneers, 200?.

[ITU 2001] ITU, Arab Regional Internet & Telecomm Summit, Muscat, Oman, 2001,

[UbuntuNet 2012] UbuntuNet Alliance,, 2012.

Updated: 2016.11.10

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