Ethiopia ranks last in Digital Quality of Life Index

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The third annual edition of the Digital Quality of Life Index (DQL) ranks Ethiopia 110th among 110 countries. Covering 90% of the global population, the DQL study is conducted by the cybersecurity company Surfshark and evaluates countries based on a set of five fundamental digital wellbeing pillars. Joining the study for the first time, Ethiopia displays low results in internet affordability (104th), internet quality (110th), e-infrastructure (110th), e-security (107th), and e-government (107th).
Ethiopia has room for improvement in all digital wellbeing areas, as its DQL is 60% worse than the global average and last among all indexed countries. Ethiopia has a similar GDP per capita to Zambia, but both countries’ digital quality of life differs substantially. Zambia ranks 94th, while Ethiopia comes in last place overall.
All Ethiopia’s DQL pillars rank in the last 10%. Its highest ranking is 104th in internet affordability. Ethiopians have to work almost 1.5 hours for 1GB of cheapest mobile data, nine times the global average. To purchase the cheapest broadband internet package, people have to spend as much as 13.5 hours working, 7.5 hours more than the worldwide average.
“Digital opportunities have proved to be more important than ever during the COVID-19 crisis, stressing the importance for every country to ensure fully remote operational capacities for their economies,” explains Vytautas Kaziukonis, CEO of Surfshark. “That is why, for the third year in a row, we continue the Digital Quality of Life research, which provides a robust global outlook into how countries excel digitally. The index sets the basis for meaningful discussions about how digital advancement impacts a country’s prosperity and where improvements can be made.”
In an all-around picture, 6 out of 10 countries holding the highest scores are located in Europe, following last year’s trend. Denmark ranks 1st in DQL for the second year in a row and is closely followed by South Korea. Finland ranks 3rd, while Israel and the U.S. round out the top five of 110 nations that were evaluated. The bottom 5 countries are Ethiopia, Cambodia, Cameroon, Guatemala, and Angola.
Regionally, the U.S. stands out as a country with the highest digital quality of life in the Americas, while South Korea takes the leading position in Asia. Among countries in Africa, people in South Africa enjoy the highest quality of their digital lives whereas Australia leads in Oceania, outperforming New Zealand in various digital areas.
Other significant findings of the report include, broadband is globally less affordable this year. Comparing countries included in both DQL20 and DQL21, people have to work 11% more (25 min more) to afford broadband internet in 2021. However, people have to work 29% less (28 min less) to afford mobile internet this year.
Moreover the report states that the world’s worst internet is the least affordable. People in some countries, such as Nigeria, Côte D’Ivoire and Mali require approximately a week’s worth of work to afford the internet.
The 2021 DQL research examined a total population of more than 6.9 billion people in terms of five core pillars and 14 underpinning indicators that provide a comprehensive measure. The study is based on open-source information provided by the United Nations, the World Bank, Freedom House, the International Communications Union, and other sources.

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