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South Africa

South Africa is a leader in the fintech sector in Africa. Innovations in mobile money, online banking, and financial services are prominent. According to a report published by Research and Markets, the country has been internationally recognised for having one of the most sophisticated financial sectors, generating approximately 40% of all fintech revenue in Africa. South Africa has invested significantly in improving its digital infrastructure. The rollout of fibre-optic cables and the expansion of 4G LTE networks across urban and semi-urban areas have been pivotal. The government, along with private companies, is pushing towards enhancing 5G technology, which promises to revolutionise various sectors through improved connectivity and speed.

Internet governance

Internet governance has increasingly become a focus in South Africa as the country grapples with the challenge of regulating the internet to accommodate the interests of diverse stakeholders. While not always a central concern for the general public, the South African government has demonstrated its commitment to this issue with the release of the National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper in 2016, which identifies internet governance as a key area of focus.

The key South African stakeholders, which included the Civil Societies, have played a pivotal role in the various governance forums at both Regional and Global levels. They participated actively in the South Africa Internet Governance Forum (SAIGF), the Southern Africa Internet Governance Forum, the Southern Africa Regional Youth School on Internet and the Africa Internet Governance Forum. South Africa is also a full member of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

ZA Domain Name Authority (ZADNA) is one of the key stakeholders involved in internet governance in South Africa. ZADNA is responsible for managing the .za country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) namespace and promoting the development of the .za domain name space. ZADNA’s mandate includes creating a South African multistakeholder platform for an inclusive dialogue on internet-related matters and policies and creating an inclusive information society

Digital strategies

South Africa is at the forefront of a digital transformation, characterized by the adoption and implementation of several strategic initiatives aimed at harnessing digital technologies to improve healthcare, education, government services, and overall national competitiveness. Here’s an overview of the key digital strategies shaping South Africa’s future:

Recognizing the transformative power of digital technologies in healthcare, South Africa has developed a National Digital Health Strategy. This strategy is designed to improve healthcare delivery across the nation by integrating advanced digital solutions into the healthcare system. Key components of this strategy include the development of digital health infrastructure, the use of data for health system improvement, and ensuring cybersecurity and privacy of health data. The strategy aims to facilitate better patient outcomes, improve medical records management, and enhance the efficiency of healthcare services through technology.

To address the evolving skills requirements in a digital economy, South Africa has laid out The National Digital and Future Skills Strategy for 2021-2025. This strategy emphasizes the need to equip the South African workforce with the necessary skills to thrive in the digital age. It focuses on broadening digital literacy, upskilling and reskilling initiatives, and fostering partnerships between educational institutions and the tech industry. This strategy is crucial for reducing unemployment, driving economic growth, and ensuring that all South Africans have the skills needed to participate fully in the digital world.

The South African National E-Government Strategy and Roadmap outlines the country’s plans to enhance government service delivery through digital transformation. This strategy seeks to make government services more accessible, transparent, and efficient by leveraging technologies such as cloud computing, mobile solutions, and online platforms. By doing so, it aims to foster greater civic engagement, streamline government operations, and facilitate easier access to public services for all citizens.

At the core of South Africa’s digital strategies lies the National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper. This comprehensive document sets the direction for the integration of various information and communication technologies into national development plans. It addresses issues such as broadband access, digital inclusion, spectrum management, and the regulatory framework necessary to support the growth of ICT in the country. The White Paper serves as a foundation for all other digital strategies, ensuring that technological advances contribute positively to South Africa’s socio-economic development.


In recent years, South Africa has significantly bolstered its cybersecurity infrastructure to tackle the rising challenges posed by digital threats. This commitment to strengthening cybersecurity has been evident through the implementation of several strategic legislative actions and the establishment of dedicated bodies to oversee and coordinate cybersecurity efforts. Here’s an in-depth look at these initiatives and their implications for the nation’s cyber resilience.

One of the cornerstone pieces of legislation in South Africa’s fight against cybercrime is The Cybercrimes Act 19. This act is comprehensive in its scope, covering the creation of offences related to cybercrime, criminalizing the disclosure of data messages that are harmful, and enhancing jurisdiction over cybercrimes. It also outlines investigative powers, mutual assistance, and the establishment of a designated Point of Contact, ensuring that there are clear protocols for responding to cyber incidents.

South Africa has implemented the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 of 2002 (ECT Act), which addresses a variety of issues from e-commerce to specific cyber offences. The country has also drafted the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013, which, although partially implemented, represents a significant step towards aligning South Africa with international data protection standards.

On the international front, South Africa has shown a commitment to enhancing its cybersecurity framework by signing the AU Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection (Malabo Convention) and the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime (Budapest Convention). However, it is noteworthy that these conventions have not yet been ratified, indicating a potential area for further development in the country’s international cyberlaw engagements.

At the heart of South Africa’s cybersecurity strategy is the National Cybersecurity Policy Framework (NCPF). This framework is extensive and covers the protection of critical information infrastructure, combating cybercrime, and establishing cybersecurity standards and protocols. It delineates the roles and responsibilities of different government bodies, the private sector, and civil society. This collaborative approach ensures that all stakeholders are engaged in the process of safeguarding the nation’s cyber assets.

To facilitate coordination and response to cyber threats, the South African government established the Cybersecurity Hub under the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services. This hub acts as a central platform for consolidating efforts related to cybersecurity across various sectors. It plays a pivotal role in sharing information on cyber threats and enhancing incident response capabilities, serving as a model for public-private partnerships in cybersecurity.

AI strategies and policies

South Africa has been taking steps towards developing a clear national AI strategy. The country has established the Artificial Intelligence Institute of South Africa and is working on introducing a tailored national strategy and appropriate regulations to ensure the ethical use of AI.

Recognising the key role of AI in this transformation, President Cyril Ramaphosa established the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (PC4IR). This commission’s mandate is to forge a cohesive national response to the challenges and opportunities presented by the 4IR. In its comprehensive report issued in January 2020, the PC4IR outlined a series of recommendations aimed at propelling South Africa to the forefront of this global movement. The recommendations include the establishment of an artificial intelligence (AI) Institute.

The Emerging Technologies in South Africa, a landscape analysis report of June 2022, identified 20 emerging technologies being promoted, developed, deployed or used in South Africa. Of these, the top four can be divided between new emerging technologies (artificial intelligence and next-generation health) and waning emerging technologies (mobile applications and e-commerce). These waning technologies are not disappearing but are becoming accepted and assimilated into processes and becoming a form of general-purpose technology. South African government has a robust track record of involvement and prioritisation of digital agendas in Africa.

To ensure that the nation builds on its capabilities in AI, South Africa hosts a series of significant initiatives and events. Notably, the Deep Learning Indaba conference plays a vital role in bolstering local expertise in AI and related fields. Further strengthening this push, the Centre for AI Research (CAIR) provides a collaborative platform for AI research. Additionally, the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR South Africa), an initiative under the Department of Science and Innovation and linked with the World Economic Forum’s network of 4IR centres, focuses on transitioning South Africa into a data-driven digital economy. This move aims to enhance the nation’s global competitiveness and mark its stance as a significant player in the digital age.


General profile

Official name: Republic of South Africa

Source: Wikipedia

National internet domain: ZA

Source: Wikipedia

Area: 1,221,037 km2

Source: Wikipedia

Capital: Pretoria, Cape Town and Bloemfontein

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 59.89 million

Source: Wikipedia

Population growth: 0.87

Annual population growth rate for year t is the exponential rate of growth of midyear population from year t-1 to t, expressed as a percentage. Population is based on the de facto definition of population, which counts all residents regardless of legal status or citizenship.
Source: World Bank Open Data

Life expectancy at birth: 64.88

Total years (2020year) Source: databank.worldbank.org

Rule of law estimate: 0.13

Rule of Law captures perceptions of the extent to which agents have confidence in and abide by the rules of society, and in particular the quality of contract enforcement, property rights, the police, and the courts, as well as the likelihood of crime and violence. Estimate gives the country's score ranging from approximately -2.5 to 2.5 (Estimate 2021)
Source: databank.worldbank.org

Regulatory quality estimate: 0.2

Regulatory Quality captures perceptions of the ability of the government to formulate and implement sound policies and regulations that permit and promote private sector development. Estimate gives the country's score ranging from approximately -2.5 to 2.5 (Estimate 2021)
Source: databank.worldbank.org

Political stability: -0.71

Political Stability and Absence of Violence / Terrorism: measures perceptions of the likelihood that the government will be destabilized or overthrown by unconstitutional or violent means, including politically-motivated violence and terrorism. Estimate gives the country's score ranging from approximately -2.5 to 2.5 (Estimate 2021)
Source: databank.worldbank.org

Economic info

Currency: Rand

Source: Wikipedia

Unemployment: 31,9

Unemployment, total (% of total labor force) Source: databank.worldbank.org

GDP (current US$): 401.47 billion

Source: databank.worldbank.org

GDP growth (annual %): 1.9

Source: databank.worldbank.org

GDP per capita (current US$): 6,766.48

Source: databank.worldbank.org

Inflation, consumer prices (annual %): 6,0

Source: databank.worldbank.org

GNI (current US$): 411.93 billion

The Gross National Income, GNI, formerly referred to as gross national product (GNP), measures the total domestic and foreign value added claimed by residents, at a given period in time, usually a year, expressed in current US dollars using the World Bank Atlas method. GNI comprises GDP plus net receipts of primary income (compensation of employees and property income) from non-resident sources. Source: databank.worldbank.org

Ease of doing business score: 67.02

The ease of doing business score benchmarked economies concerning their proximity to the best performance in each area measured by Doing Business for the year 2019. Estimate gives the country's score ranging from0 = lowest performance to 100 = best performance Source: databank.worldbank.org

Digital profile

Internet and social media penetration:

Individuals using the internet: 74.7

Source: Individuals using the internet, total (%) www.itu.int

Social media statistics: 26.00 million

Estimate for 2024
Source: datareportal.com

Male internet users: No data

Male internet users as a % of total male population
Source: www.itu.int

Facebook users: 26.00 million

Estimate for 2024
Source: datareportal.com

Female internet users: No data

Female Internet users as a % of total female population
Source: www.itu.int

Instagram users: 6.95 million

Estimate for 2024
Source: datareportal.com

Households with internet access at home (%): 75,3 (2022)

Source: www.itu.int

Linkedin users: 12.00 million

Estimate for 2024
Source: datareportal.com

Fixed broadband subscriptions: 3.25 (2022)

Total fixed broadband subscriptions (per 100 people) refers to fixed subscriptions to high-speed access to the public internet (a TCP/IP connection), at downstream speeds equal to, or greater than, 256 kbit/s.
Source: www.itu.int

Twitter users: 4.10 million

Estimate for 2024
Source: datareportal.com

Mobile infrastructure and access:

Mobile ownership: 73

Mobile phone ownership as a % of total population (Estimate for 2022)
Source: https://www.mobileconnectivityindex.com/

Mobile Infrastructure: 68.75

Mobile Infrastructure index: High-performance mobile internet coverage availability. It includes parameters such as network coverage, performance, quality of supporting infrastructure and amount of spectrum assigned to mobile network operators (Estimate for 2022)
Source: https://www.mobileconnectivityindex.com/

Male mobile ownership: 76.5 (2019)

Male mobile phone ownership as a % of total male population
Source: www.itu.int

Mobile Affordability: 54.42

Mobile Affordability index : The availability of mobile services and devices at price points that reflect the level of income across a national population. It includes parameters such as mobile tariffs, headset prices, taxation and inequality (Estimate for 2022)
Source: https://www.mobileconnectivityindex.com/

Female mobile ownership: 79,7(2019)

Female mobile phone ownership as a % of total female population
Source: www.itu.int

Cybersecurity Index: 78.46

Cybersecurity Index (Estimate for 2021): ITU cybersecurity value
Source: www.itu.int

Network performance: 47.84

Network performance index: Quality of mobile services measured by download speed, upload speed and latencies (Estimate for 2022)
Source: https://www.mobileconnectivityindex.com/

Mobile download speeds: 25.51

Mobile download speeds: Average download speed for mobile users (originally in Mbit/s) (Estimate for 2022)
Source: Ookla's Speedtest Intelligence

Mobile uploads speeds: 33.26

Mobile uploads speeds: average uploads speed for mobile users (originally in Mbit/s) (Estimate for 2022)
Source: Ookla's Speedtest Intelligence

Mobile Latencies: 84.76

Mobile Latencies: Average latency for mobile users (originally in milliseconds) (Estimate for 2022)
Source: Ookla's Speedtest Intelligence

Speedtest-Broadband: 50.03

Speedtest-Broadband: The value is expressed in Mbps (Estimate for 2024)
Source: https://www.speedtest.net/global-index

Network coverage: 92.18

Network coverage (% of total population) (Estimate for 2022)
Source: https://www.mobileconnectivityindex.com/

2G Coverage: 99.99

Coverage % of population
Source: www.itu.int

3G Coverage: 100

Coverage % of population
Source: https://www.mobileconnectivityindex.com/

4G Coverage: 97.9

Coverage % of population
Source: https://www.mobileconnectivityindex.com/

5G Coverage: 30.29

Coverage % of population
Source: https://www.mobileconnectivityindex.com/

Operating system and browser market share estimate:

Operating system market share (%):

Desktop, Tablet & Console Operating System Market Share: Estimate for 2024
Source: https://gs.statcounter.com/

Browser market share (%):

Browser Market Share Worldwide: Estimate for 2024
Source: https://gs.statcounter.com/

Android: 66.24

Chrome: 72.55

Windows: 11.97

Safari: 10.97

iOS: 12.95

Edge: 2.56

OS X: 1.76

Opera: 3.99

Unknown: 6.05

Samsung Internet: 8.09

The UN E-Government Survey 2022:

The UN E-Government Survey is the assessment of the digital government landscape across all UN member states. The E-Government Survey is informed by over two decades of longitudinal research, with a ranking of countries based on the UN E-Government Development Index (EGDI), a combination of primary data (collected and owned by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs) and secondary data from other UN agencies.

E-Government Rank: 65

Nations E-Government Development Index (EGDI), a combination of primary data (collected and owned by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs) and secondary data from other UN agencies. Estimate gives the country's rank.
Source: https://publicadministration.un.org/egovkb/en-us/data-center

E-Government Index: 0.74

The EGDI is a composite measure of three important dimensions of e-government, namely: provision of online services, telecommunication connectivity and human capacity. Estimate gives the country's score ranging from approximately 0 to 1.
Source: https://publicadministration.un.org/egovkb/en-us/data-center

E-Participation Index: 0.59

The E-Participation Index (EPI) is derived as a supplementary index to the United Nations E-Government Survey. Estimate gives the country's score ranging from approximately 0 to 1.
Source: https://publicadministration.un.org/egovkb/en-us/data-center

Online Service Index: 0.75

The online services index was developed by the UN to evaluate the scope and quality of government online services. Estimate gives the country's score ranging from approximately 0 to 1.
Source: https://publicadministration.un.org/egovkb/en-us/data-cente

Human Capital Index: 0.77

The Human Capital Index (HCI) quantiï¬_x0081_es the contribution of health and education to the productivity of the next generation of workers. Estimate gives the country's score ranging from approximately 0 to 1.
Source: https://publicadministration.un.org/egovkb/en-us/data-center

Telecommunication Infrastructure Index: 0.69

Telecommunication Infrastructure Index- Telecommunication Infrastructure Index (TII) Composite Indicator that measures the countries' Telecommunication infrastructure readiness to adopt the opportunities offered by Information and Communication Technology as to enhance their competitiveness. Estimate gives the country's score ranging from approximately 0 to 1.
Source: https://publicadministration.un.org/egovkb/en-us/data-center

ICT information:

ICT skills

Information economy indicators

Individuals with basic ICT skills (%): 15 (2019)

Source: www.itu.int

Share of ICT goods, % of total exports (value) 0.92 (2020)

Source: https://unctadstat.unctad.org/

Individuals with standard ICT skills (%): 9.5 (2019)

Source: www.itu.int

Share of ICT goods, % of total import (value): 8.18 (2020)

Source: https://unctadstat.unctad.org/

Individuals with advanced ICT skills (%): 5 (2019)

Source: www.itu.int

Most visited website: twitter.com

The survey conducted in 2022 excluded global dominant sites (e.g., YouTube, Facebook, and Google) and search engines (e.g., Yahoo, Baidu, DuckDuckGo, Naver, and Yandex) to level the playing field and discount middle-man visits. Likewise, it did not include adult, betting, illegal streaming/downloading services, and malicious websites.
Source: https://www.hostinger.com/tutorials/the-most-visited-website-in-every-country