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Ethiopia losing US$4.5 million daily due to internet shut down

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Ethiopia , 26 Jun 2019

Ethiopia losing US$4.5 million daily due to internet shut down

Authorities in Ethiopia have shut down the internet following a failed coup attempt, with digital rights organisation NetBlocks estimating that the country is losing US$4.5 million daily as a result.

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced on national television and that the government had thwarted an attempted coup in the Amhara regional State of the country.

Following the announcement, the internet was cut nationwide with no further details provided.

According to a statement by NetBlocks, the disruption of internet has caused significant restrictions on the flow of information in and out of Ethiopia, making it difficult to access the current situation on the ground.

The organisation said based on its information, the outages have progressed to nationwide impact, after regions in the north, including Amhara State and Easter regions first went offline.

NetBlocks executive director Alp Toker has told ITWeb Africa that his organisation is extremely concerned about the use of disproportionate measure that sends the entire country offline.

He said there is little evidence showing that shutting down a nation's connectivity can help restore order.

Toker said research and evidence from 80 shutdowns tracked by NetBlocks shows that short-term gains in stability are purely superficial and will be offset by public frustration and dissatisfaction as soon as the population gains connectivity.

"We estimate a daily loss to economy in excess of US$4.5 million as costs mount for businesses and individual traders. ICT research organisation CIPESA finds that loses are divided between direct and indirect economic factors, incurring immediate financial harm to workers as well as long term loss of contracts and a fall in investor confidence," he added.

State-owned operator Ethio Telecom, the country's only ISP, has not responded to a media inquiry regarding the shutdown and when it expects connectivity to be restored.

Last week, the operator cut internet access and disabled text messaging without giving an explanation.

According to new statistics from Internet World Stats, Ethiopia has a total of 16.4 million internet users, representing 14.9% of the country's 110 million people.

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