Swahili content explodes Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda mobile growth

20 Mar 2019

According to the Mobile Economy Report 2019, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have seen a significant growth in mobile content in Swahili. The number of mobile apps in the language increased from around 5,000 in 2014 to almost 30,000 by 2017. This translates to mean that more people are able to access useful services on mobile because it is in the language they can read and understand.
Kenya alone saw a 16% growth in mobile internet adoption from 2014 to 2017 with over 4 million new users. According to the report, apart from the Swahili content factor, the growth was also supported by good performance in two enablers: infrastructure and affordability.

Explore the issues

Multilingualism is an important aspect of the promotion and development of cultural diversity on the Internet.

Internet access is growing rapidly, yet large groups of people remain unconnected to the Internet. As of 2015, about 43% of people had access to the Internet (in developing countries only 34%). Access to ICTs is part of the Sustainable Development Agenda, which commits to ‘significantly increase access to ICTs and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020’ (Goal 9.c).

The digital divide can be defined as a rift between those who, for technical, political, social, or economic reasons, have access and capabilities to use ICT/Internet, and those who do not. Various views have been put forward about the size and relevance of the digital divide.

One of the main sociocultural issues is content policy, often addressed from the standpoints of human rights (freedom of expression and the right to communicate), government (content control), and technology (tools for content control). Discussions usually focus on three groups of content:

 

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