Nigeria’s digital quality of life falls as Internet affordability drops

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•Israel leads world index, S’Africa tops Africa

Though current statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) put Internet users in Nigeria at 152 million through the narrowband, while broadband users increased to 85.2 million with 44.6 per cent penetration, the statistics have not impacted the quality of the digital lifestyle of the citizens.

This was confirmed by a new report by Surfshark, a cyber-security firm, which showed that the Digital Quality of Life (DQL) of Nigerians has remained very low.

In fact, in the latest DQL survey obtained by The Guardian on Monday, Nigeria dropped by four steps between 2021 and 2022.

Now in its fourth year, Surfshark’s DQL study revealed the strengths and weaknesses of digital ecosystems around the world.

The 2022 iteration sampled the quality of digital wellbeing in 117 countries across the globe over five key pillars: Internet affordability, Internet quality, e-infrastructure, electronic government (e-government) and electronic security (e-security).

According to Surfshark, seven out of 10 countries with the highest DQL are in Europe with only 18 of the top 50 countries located outside.

The report revealed that Nigeria ranked 86th, dropping by four points compared to the 2021 survey. Surfshark said Nigeria’s e-government services come in 95th position, while Internet quality and e-security rank 99th and 66th, respectively.

Out of the 117 countries, Nigeria is 114th for Internet affordability and 86th for the availability of electronic infrastructure.

South Africa placed first in Africa out of 23 countries, according to the report. On the continent, Nigeria is seventh after South Africa. Mauritius is second in the region, followed by Morocco, then Tunisia, Kenya and Egypt respectively. Countries after Nigeria include Ghana, Algeria, Senegal, Uganda, Ivory Coast, among others respectively.

The report showed that Internet affordability and quality were the weakest points of Nigeria, ranking 113th and 99th respectively.

Further analysis of the report showed that Internet affordability, which ranked 107th in 2021 fell by seven basis points to 114th a year after. Under the affordability index, the report claimed that in terms of time to work to afford the cheapest mobile Internet, in 2021, the country ranked 27th, in 2022, it fell by 69 basis points to 96th.

In terms of Internet Quality, which was 56 in 2021, fell by 43 basis points to 99th in 2022. Nigeria, however, improved in terms of electronic infrastructure at 86th, with security architecture down by 20 points from 46th in 2021 to 66th by 2022.

Generally, Surfshark’s report revealed that overall, seven out of the 10 highest-scoring countries are in Europe, which has been the case for the past three years,  

Leading the DQL ranks is Israel, which pushed Denmark to second place after its two-year lead. Meanwhile, Germany ranked third, and France and Sweden round up the top five of the 117 evaluated nations.

In terms of countries with the lowest DQL indices, the study lists Congo DRC, Yemen, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Cameroon as the bottom five countries.

Among African countries, Surfshark said people in SA enjoy the highest digital life quality. According to the report, looking at countries included in last year’s index, people have to work six minutes more to afford broadband Internet in 2022.

“In some countries, such as Ivory Coast and Uganda, people work an average of two weeks to earn the cheapest fixed broadband Internet package.
  
“With the current inflation, the pressure on low-income households that need the Internet has become even heavier. The study also found that countries with the poorest Internet connection have to work for it the longest,” it noted.

Head of PR at Surfshark, Gabriele Racaityte-Krasauske, noted: “While countries with a strong digital quality of life tend to be those of advanced economies, our global study found money doesn’t always buy digital happiness.”

“That is why, for the fourth year in a row, we continue analysing the digital quality of life to see how different nations keep up with providing the basic digital necessities for their citizens. Most importantly, our research seeks to show the full picture of the global digital divide that millions of people are suffering from.”

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