John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Mobile Phones, the Internet, and South Africa

by John Campbell
A worker walks past cell phone accessories at a Vodacom shop in Johannesburg February 4, 2015. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)

The Institute of Race Relations’ (IRR) Centre for Risk Analysis has published a study that shows the dramatic increase in mobile phone usage in South Africa and its importance as a portal to internet usage. During the 2000-2014 period, fixed line subscriptions per one hundred people dropped by 38 percent while mobile phone subscriptions increased by 702 percent. The increase affected all races, but the growth is especially striking among ‘Coloured’ and ‘Indian’ South Africans. For Black South Africans it was 405.3 percent; for ‘Coloureds’ it was 763.6 percent; for ‘Indians’ it was 708.3 percent; for Whites it was 470.6 percent. The lower rate of increase among Blacks may reflect the higher levels of poverty among that demographic. Among whites, the lower level may reflect that many of them have long had access to land lines and to cell phones, resulting in a lower rate of usage growth. Read more »

The African Internet Governance Forum: Continued Discomfort with Multistakeholderism

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 28, 2015. (Courtesy/Jonathan Ernst)

This post originally appeared on the Council on Foreign Relations Net Politics Blog and is written by Mailyn Fidler. Mailyn is a Marshall Scholar studying international relations at the University of Oxford. You can follow her on Twitter @mailynfidler. Read more »