American social media giant Facebook says its investments in internet connectivity in Africa will see the continent’s economy grow by nearly $60bn by 2024.
A report released by the company shows that an increase in access would significantly lower the cost of internet on the continent.
Facebook says it is investing in data centres, submarine cables and wi-fi infrastructure to enable more people in sub-Saharan Africa to access the internet, and spur uptake of e-commerce and online job applications.
So far, the social media company has launched wi-fi services in seven countries, and extended 3G coverage to four million people in Uganda and Nigeria.
More than half of the population in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to the internet, and the services are more expensive compared to other parts of the world.
Research by the Alliance for Affordable Internet shows that on average across the African continent, 1GB of data accounted for 8% of average income at the end of 2018 – compared to 2.7% in the Americas and 1.5% in Asia.
Facebook apps such as Instagram and WhatsApp are estimated to account for 20% of total internet traffic in the region.
The social media network announced that 139 million people in Africa used the platform per month in 2018.