Ethiopia is a country located in the Horn of Africa, with a population of over 100 million people. The country has a rich history and culture, but when it comes to internet development, it has been lagging behind other African countries. However, in recent years, Ethiopia has made significant progress in internet development, and this article will explore the history of internet development in Ethiopia.
The internet was first introduced in Ethiopia in 1997, but it was only available to a small group of people, mainly government officials and diplomats. At that time, the internet was expensive, and the connection was slow. The Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC) was the only internet service provider in the country, and it had a monopoly on the market.
In 2000, the Ethiopian government established the Ethiopian Information and Communication Technology Development Agency (EICTDA) to oversee the development of the ICT sector in the country. The EICTDA was tasked with promoting the use of ICT in all sectors of the economy, including education, health, and agriculture.
In 2002, the Ethiopian government launched the Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC) privatization program, which aimed to increase competition in the telecommunications sector and improve the quality of services. However, the program faced many challenges, and it was not until 2009 that the first private telecommunications company, Ethio Telecom, was established.
In 2005, the Ethiopian government launched the Universal Access Fund (UAF) to provide funding for the development of ICT infrastructure in rural areas. The UAF was established to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural areas and to provide access to information and communication technologies to all Ethiopians.
In 2009, the Ethiopian government launched the National ICT Policy and Strategy, which aimed to promote the development of the ICT sector in the country. The policy focused on four main areas: infrastructure development, human resource development, content development, and promotion of ICT usage.
In 2013, the Ethiopian government launched the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), which aimed to transform the country into a middle-income economy by 2025. The GTP included the development of the ICT sector as one of its key priorities, and it set ambitious targets for the sector, including increasing internet penetration to 50% by 2015 and 90% by 2020.
In recent years, Ethiopia has made significant progress in internet development. According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), internet penetration in Ethiopia increased from 15% in 2015 to 22% in 2019. The government has also launched several initiatives to promote the use of ICT in various sectors of the economy, including education, health, and agriculture.
However, there are still many challenges that need to be addressed. The cost of internet access is still high, and the quality of services is often poor. There is also a lack of skilled human resources in the ICT sector, and the infrastructure in rural areas is still underdeveloped.
In conclusion, Ethiopia has come a long way in internet development, but there is still a long way to go. The government needs to continue to invest in the ICT sector and address the challenges that are hindering its growth. With the right policies and investments, Ethiopia has the potential to become a leader in internet development in Africa.