June 13, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- Ethiopia has shut down the internet once again, this time to prevent exam papers from leaking out.
Internet has been largely inaccessible all over Ethiopia for the last three days now.
Access to the web was “totally cut off” on Tuesday morning, and there’s been only an intermittent restoration of services since then, according to NetBlocks, an advocacy group that monitors cybersecurity, and as reported by Bloomberg.
Internet is considered an extremely vital part of life and business in much of the world these days. However, in Ethiopia and in some parts of Africa, internet is something that can be dispensed for a variety of reasons, including to quell unrest and for exams as in this case.
Ethiopia has used internet shutdown as a means to fight exam leaks for several years now. It is unknown why the goverment has to resort to such extreme measures, instead of using simpler and effective solutions like the rest of the world, which is odd for a country dreaming of becoming a regional economic power.
It must be recalled that, even without the current shutdown, access to internet has been poor due to the power rationing in effect across the country.
According to a 2017 study by the Uganda-based Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa, Internet shutdowns in sub-Saharan Africa cost the region as much as $237 million since 2015.
In Ethiopia, internet and telecommunicatons is owned by the a state-owned monopoly, the Ethio Telecom, which charges one of the highest premiums for a very slow service.
The new government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has made plans to partially privatize Ethio Telecom. However, nothing has been done so far since the announcement almost a year ago.
Internet penetration in Ethiopia is one of the lowest in Africa and the world, currently at around15%, according to Internet World Stats.