In recent times the African continent has made great progress regarding connection to the Internet. The mainland now has about 453.329.534 users active on the Internet, which translates into an Internet penetration of 32,5%. These statistics are constantly growing. However, an issue needs to be addressed; Where is the data from the African continent stored and processed?
Currently many African websites with domains such as .o, .ng, .tz, .za, etc are hosted in Europe and the Americas. This goes beyond a similar number of other .com and .net domains, which are owned by African but also hosted overseas.
This means that many of the sites owned and accessed by Africans are located in other continents.
It is notable that most of these sites are located outside of Africa. In December 2018, the US accounted for 40% of all data centers in the world, and our continent does not rank here, and it can be concluded that the number of data centers is much smaller compared to other continents. That is why many African sites will continue to be hosted on other continents.
Why do many still prefer hosting abroad?
O cost of hosting also plays an important role, with the placement in African data centers costing more than double the cost in the US and Europe. This is certainly one of the primary factors. Africans end up spending billions on hosting their data off the continent, money that could impact the economy if it were injected into the various countries.
It has been reported that Nigerians spend about 60 million USD to pay for Internet hosting, which is based out of Nigeria and Africa. Other African countries follow a similar trend, and the money that could be building data centers in Africa, improving terrestrial fiber networks or even building local businesses, is being pumped into developed countries.
Although connectivity in Africa has improved a lot with several submarine cables going through Africa and a vast network of terrestrial fiber, one of the main bottlenecks affecting the user experience is latency. When we talk about latency. we refer to the time it takes for the data to be transferred from the server to the user, and this time is quite high due to a physical distance between users in Africa and servers in other continents.