Senegal Blocks Internet after Election Delay Results to Protests

Senegal blocks internet after election delay results to protests. The Senegalese government has reportedly cut off access to the internet all through the country following the postponement of the presidential election on February 3, 2024.

Senegal Blocks Internet after Election Delay

Senegal Blocks Internet after Election Delay

In response to the Internet shutdown in Senegal, Tidjane Deme, General Partner at Partech—a global investment platform for technology and digital companies—has highlighted the situation’s significant impact. Deme emphasized that the decision to restrict Internet access carries far-reaching implications beyond the immediate context, affecting various sectors and the broader digital economy. His comments reflect a deep concern for the shutdown’s effects on the technological landscape, underscoring the critical role of uninterrupted Internet access in fostering innovation, economic growth, and the advancement of digital services.

“People underestimate how many things in our daily lives are dependent on mobile Internet,” he stated.

The Effect of Shutting Down the Internet

In response to the Internet shutdown, Tidjane Deme pointed out the extensive reliance of various sectors on mobile Internet for their operations. He mentioned how crucial online services are for the economy and society, such as digital payments, medical professionals accessing information for diagnoses or prescriptions, and accountants utilizing Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms. Deme emphasized the necessity for the government to understand the profound implications of such shutdowns on these vital activities.

Amnesty International’s Senegal Chapter Has Criticized the Internet Shutdown

Furthermore, Amnesty International’s Senegal chapter has strongly criticized the Internet shutdown. The organization has called on the government to uphold the principles of freedom of the press and the fundamental rights of citizens to access information. This stance by Amnesty International highlights the broader concerns regarding the shutdown’s impact on civil liberties, including the right to information and free expression, underscoring the international attention and concern the situation has garnered.

Other Incidents of Internet Shut Down In the Region

In June 2023, Senegal experienced Internet restrictions as a measure taken by the government in response to violent protests ignited by the sentencing of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko to two years in prison for “corrupting youths.” This decision to limit Internet access, aimed at controlling the spread of unrest, had significant financial implications.

The Cost Impact of the Internet Shutdown in Senegal

NetBlocks, an organization monitoring cybersecurity and the governance of the Internet, estimated the cost impact of the Internet shutdown in Senegal to be approximately $332,502 per hour. This substantial economic impact highlights the broader consequences of such government actions on the national economy and businesses reliant on digital connectivity.

Further compounding the situation, the government again resorted to shutting down the Internet in the following month for similar reasons, exacerbating the economic toll. A report from Top10vpn in 2023 shed light on the extent of these disruptions, noting that government-induced Internet blackouts in Senegal resulted in 135 hours of complete blackouts and 3,811 hours of social media shutdowns. The total cost attributed to these Internet restrictions amounted to $57.4 million, underlining the severe financial repercussions of the blackouts.

Economic Losses Due To Internet Restrictions

The report also placed sub-Saharan Africa as the second most affected region after Europe in terms of economic losses due to Internet restrictions, with $1.74 billion lost over 30,785 hours, impacting 84.8 million Internet users. These figures underscore the significant impact of Internet shutdowns on economic activities, freedom of information, and the digital rights of citizens, prompting calls for governments to consider alternative measures that do not compromise essential services and economic stability.



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