In Africa, fewer than one in six use the Web globally

A new global index evaluating the state of the Net in 61 countries across the globe found that only three people are using the Web globally and fewer than one in six in Africa.

The index, compiled by Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web Foundation, showed Sweden topped the 61 countries with US ranked at position two and the UK coming at third. Seven African countries including Cameroon, Mali, Namibia, Ethiopia, Benin, Burkino Faso and Zimbabwe came among the last ten along with Yemen, Bangladesh and Nepal.

The survey that ranked social and political impact of the Web also highlighted high broadband prices and censorship as the threats to “Web for all.”

The index showed 30 percent of countries across the globe face relentless government restrictions on access to the websites with nearly half of them showing rising threats to press freedom.

Commenting on the new trend, Sir Tim said the increasing suppression of free speech, offline and online could be the biggest challenge to the future of the Web.

According to the survey, despite the falling costs, Internet access is still a luxury to most countries.

Broadband connection also still costs half of monthly income per capita across the 61 countries surveyed.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee said the high price of connectivity hinders billions of people across the globe from achieving their rights to knowledge and participation.

“The costs have got to come down dramatically,” he said.

Iceland became the greatest Web user with 95 percent of its population online.

Ireland, ranked at position 10 overall attained the highest score for economic impact with 14 percent of its GDP originating from ICT service exports from 2007 to 2010.

Yemen came last in three categories including social and economic impact of the Internet.

By highlighting the barriers to the “Web for everyone, the index, according to Sir Tim, is a an influential tool potent to empower individuals, organizations and governments to improve their societies.

Using data for past five years, the index scored nations in seven different categories including communications infrastructure – the state and availability of web-enabling infrastructure; institutional infrastructure – education, laws, regulation and censorship; web content – what relevant and useful content is available; web use – the extent to which the web is used in a country; political impact; economic impact and social impact.

Web Index Top 10

  1. Sweden
  2. United States
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Canada
  5. Finland
  6. Switzerland
  7. New Zealand
  8. Australia
  9. Norway
  10. Ireland

Web Index Bottom 10

  1. Nepal
  2. Cameroon
  3. Mali
  4. Bangladesh
  5. Namibia
  6. Ethiopia
  7. Benin
  8. Burkino Faso
  9. Zimbabwe
  10. Yemen
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