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From Tunisia to Djibouti: ICT prospects in the Arab region

March 24, 2012  »  StatisticsOne Comment

How do Arab states in Africa stack up against one another in terms of Internet access?

In advance of the Connect Arab Summit which took place in early March 2012, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) released a report titled “ICT Adoption and Prospects in the Arab Region.” The basic goal of this regional overview is to provide context for future ICT policy formation.

Although much of the research is regional (ie. Arab States versus the continents), there is also a selection of country-level statistics. Of special interest to the ITU are broadband access, digital broadcasting, open-source software, Arabic digital content, and lastly, cyber security. Most data is current as of 2010 or 2011. (Page numbers are listed in parentheses.)

Telecoms situation (3,5,7)

  • Djibouti and Libya have the only ISP monopolies
  • Djibouti and Comoros are the only two Arab nations with one mobile operator
  • Mobile broadband is not available in Algeria, Comoros, or Djibouti
  • Mobile broadband monopoly in Tunisia; competitive in Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan
  • VoIP legal framework lacking in Mauritania, Sudan

Launch dates of 3G (8)

  • 2006: Egypt, Libya, Morocco
  • 2008: Sudan
  • 2010: Tunisia
  • 2009: Mauritania
  • 2012 (planned): Algeria, Comoros, Djibouti

ICT Price Basket (20)

  • In Comoros as of 2010, fixed-broadband costs 535% of Gross National Income
  • In Djibouti as of 2010, fixed-broadband costs 52% of Gross National Income
  • In comparison, Tunisia, Algeria, and Egypt were in the 5% range

Mobile broadband penetration rates (24)

  • Libya: 42.7%
  • Morocco: 10.0%
  • Egypt: 6.4%
  • Mauritania: 3.1%
  • Sudan: 3.1%
  • Tunisia: 1.1%

Algeria (27-33)

  • e-AlgĂ©rie 2013 project aims to encourage the use of ICTs to strengthen all aspects of the country

Comoros (40-41)

  • 3G service tentatively scheduled for 2012
  • No known regional initiatives to boost ICT

Djibouti (42-43)

  • 3G from Djibouti Telecom to be offered starting in 2012
  • Negligible fixed-broadband
  • No known regional initiatives to boost ICT

Egypt (44-49)

  • Goal of 10% mobile broadband penetration rate by end of 2016. 15% by 2022.
  • 40% of households with a 2+ Mbit/s fixed-broadband connection by the end of 2021

Morocco (83-88)

  • Maroc Numeric 2013 plan aims to provide citizens with high-speed Internet, connect government and citizens, encourage digital business, and create national digital content. This includes the translation of websites into Arabic.

Tunisia (117-123)

  • Fixed-broadband penetration rate increased from 4.6% to 4.8% from Q4 2010 to Q2 2011


  • Arabic domain initiatives exist in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia but not in Mauritania or Sudan. (140)
  • Libya, Mauritania, and Iraq are the only Arab States to lack a cyber security initiative as of 2011. (141)
  • The situation in Libya is rapidly changing as the telecoms industry opens up following the fall of Gaddafi.
  • Data from Somalia is often missing or from 2009 instead of 2010/11.