After months of intense public and private advocacy, Nigeria and Ghana have become the first nations to formally endorse a new internet affordability target proposed by the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), a Web Foundation initiative.
Dubbed “1 for 2”, this target recommends that governments aim to ensure 1GB of mobile data is available for no more than 2% of average monthly income.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) also endorsed the target late last year, and we hope to see a number of other countries throughout the continent follow the lead of ECOWAS, Nigeria, and Ghana in working to achieve affordable internet for their citizens.
Why does this matter?
A4AI research showed that the UN target for internet affordability (measured as 500MB of mobile data priced at 5% or less of average monthly income) did not account for poverty or income inequality — arguably two of the greatest challenges facing the world today. As a result, even where internet connectivity was measured as “affordable”, millions of people — primarily women, the poor, and rural populations — were locked out of the digital revolution. A4AI analysis found that achieving a more ambitious “1 for 2” target would enable all levels of income earners — including many at the base of the pyramid — to afford to connect. While “1 for 2” may not be a silver bullet to achieving universal, affordable access, achieving it will enable millions more to come online.
A4AI’s local coalitions in Ghana and Nigeria — made up of civil society organisations, companies, and public sector officials — will now support the implementation of the target, working to ensure the over 200 million citizens of these countries see the benefit. We’ll continue to press other countries to work towards the target — and we’re confident of getting results. We’ll also continue to drive progress in areas such as public access, which can help to make universal access a reality by providing a path to connectivity for those still unable to afford access.
How can I help?
If you’re a business, civil society organisation, or government/regulatory body, you can join the Alliance for Affordable Internet. Your voice and practical support can help us to deliver policy change that makes the internet more affordable for everyone.
If you’re an individual, please consider making a donation. Just $50 can help us get local activists to coalition meetings in A4AI countries — meaning policymakers can hear their voices directly.
For updates on the ‘1 for 2’ target, follow A4AI on twitter at @A4A_Internet