Life without the Internet, the pain of Chadians

For starters, if there were no internet you wouldn’t be reading this today. Most online organisations would probably be out of business and life may be a bit difficult for some as many cannot do without the internet for one minute. Unfortunately, the choice of having the internet has been taking from Chadians who have spent a year without it.

With regards to respect of digital rights, Chad, one of the poorest Africa nations, is among the world’s worst nation as it has been cut off from the internet for almost one year. Since March 2018, the government ordered local telecom operators to restrict the internet in the country to repress freedom of speech and association.

This has also been ongoing in several other African countries apart from Chad. Many African governments have shut down the internet, especially during times of crisis. It is believed that protests and uprising are amplified on social media and the best way to avoid such is by restricting the use of the internet on certain sites or totally it down, as is the case with Chad.

According to a Collaboration of International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) report, internet shutdowns in 10 sub-Saharan African countries led to a deficit of more than $235 million from 2015 to 2017.

Chad, which began its social media blackout in March 2018, to allow President Idriss Déby, who has been in power for 29 years to stay in power until 2033 when he will be 81, has lost at least $20 million in the past year. This is not the first time the country is having an internet blackout that has cost the economy as a similar censorship operation in 2016 cost Chad up to $20.2 million, according to estimates by Internet Sans Frontières.

According to a research titled ‘Despots and Disruptions: Five Dimensions of Internet Shutdowns in Africa,’ 11 out of the 14 African presidents who have been in power for over 10 years have all ordered shutdowns. In 2018 alone, there were 21 instances of partial or total internet shutdowns, compared with 13 in 2017 and four in 2016. Countries like Algeria, DR Congo, Chad, Gabon, Zimbabwe and Sudan restricted access to the internet last year.